Green Building Materials
Green buildings are the future of the housing and construction industry. When we say green building, it means to reduce the building impact on the environment and the health of occupants and increase the efficiency of natural and consumable resources such as water, energy, and materials. It is achieved through a better design scheme, planning, construction, operation, and proper maintenance.
The most important factor in the development of green buildings is the selection of materials. Following is the list of most common green building materials.
List of Most Common Green Building Materials:
- Green Concrete
- Rammed Earth
Green Concrete is a new generation of concrete that utilizes fewer resources during the production of concrete. It replaces the basic ingredients of normal concrete such as cement and sand without affecting the quality and strength.
Traditional Concrete vs Green Concrete Properties
- Traditional Concrete
Traditional concrete is a mixture of Portland cement with sand and coarse aggregates. Mining of these natural resources, transporting them from the query, and the processing of these resources into usable cement, sand, and gravel consumes a lot of energy and resources. This process releases harmful gases such as CO2. in fact, for every 2200 lb. of cement produced 2044 lbs. of carbon is released into the air.
- Green Concrete
Green Concrete replaces the sand and cement with more sustainable and eco-friendly materials with the same cementitious properties. These elements are the by-products of industrial manufacturing, that usually end up in the waste. Some popular products are:
- Fly ash is one of the green building materials, it is the byproduct of pulverized coal produced during the production of electricity in Coal Power Plants.
- Slag cement is also known as ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS). It is collected from steel mills during the process of steel manufacturing.
- Silica fume is produced during the production of ferrosilicon alloys. Silica fume is an active pozzolan material. Pozzolan is itself, not a cementitious material but with the presence of moisture, it will react with Calcium hydroxide and form a highly durable and strengthened concrete.
- Fiber-reinforced concrete contains randomly distributed small fibers. Which includes steel, fiberglass, synthetic fibers, and natural fibers.
- Rice husk can be converted to ash. It can be used as an alternative to ordinary Portland cement in the concrete.
- Foundry sand is the waste product of steel mills produced during iron casting. It can replace the natural sand in the green concrete and increase the workability of green concrete.
Green Concrete is environmentally friendly. It can reduce carbon emissions and natural energy to an amazing extent. Just imagine, the use of natural resources to produce the cement and sand for the traditional concrete and then replace it with industrial by-products to save energy and control the carbon emissions and make our environment more sustainable.
Bamboo is one of the sustainable materials that can be used in multiple ways during the construction of the sustainable green building. Bamboo has many properties that make it an ideal product for use in construction.
- Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing natural grasses, which can be harvested every 2 years.
- Bamboo has higher tensile strength and flexibility than steel.
- It can be used in the areas where earthquakes more often happen.
- Engineered Bamboo can be used in flooring, wall panels, wall sheets. It is a durable product to use where more building efficiency is required.
3. Rammed Earth
Rammed earth walls are constructed by ramming the sustainable material such as clay, sand, and silt, it can be reinforced with rice or wheat husk to make it more durable. Recently, there were experiments carried out to add 5-10 % cement to make it more durable. The results show that it added more strength and durability.
This sustainable product has been in use for thousands of years and there are still many buildings there to prove the durability of rammed earth. It’s a low-cost product that reduces energy consumption by adding more insulation to the structure. Structures built with rammed earth can be warm in winter and cold in summer.
Wood is one of the important products in green buildings. Wood is a renewable and durable product that can be sourced from nature with less energy consumption. It can be used in new building construction as well in maintenance of the old ones. Wood is easy to maintain and durable. It provides effective insulation as compared to concrete and other products.
Wood also has a great impact on air quality by absorbing and releasing humidity. The presence of wood in the room lowers the sympathetic nervous system problem commonly known as SNS in the occupants.
Cork is made of the outer skin of the cork oak tree. Cork oak tree is planted on a sustainable basis while peeling the cork skin, it doesn’t harm the tree. The skin can be peeled off not more than 20 times. cork is bio degradable and recycle able product, during the process of biodegradation it doesn’t require any toxic residues. the thick bark of oak tree is fire & heat resistant, making it a more suitable product for sustainable buildings construction.
As we discussed in the beginning, that green building materials are the future of construction industry, we need to research more and produce more sustainable materials at low cost, to protect our environment and bring a green revolution in the world, this will preserve our environment and society.