5 Sustainable Building Materials – Brick, Tiles, Concrete…


Earth’s population is growing on a steady pace adding more fuel to the housing crisis in the UK. The growing need of homes sets multiple challenges for the construction industry.

At this point, the current building methods are not really sustainable, polluting the environment with huge amounts but not limited only to of CO2.

On the other hand, sustainable materials and eco-green thinking are becoming a main priority throughout the agenda of many industries. Only resourceful innovation and steady practice may solve the hefty task of working toward environment sustainability and business success.

The industry has to deal with the accommodation crisis one way or another. Having all this in mind, we will take a closer look at 5 materials that might help.

Wool Bricks

Established by Scottish and Spanish researchers who had the ambition to create a compound that is more sustainable, less harmful, and low on price, the scientists used a sufficient amount of local materials that would improve the brick’s strength and wool proved to be quite a match.

The wool bricks are exactly what the name suggests. By adding wool and polymer found in seaweed to the brick’s clay.

According to Morningside Masonry (Edinburgh), it becomes 37% stronger than other bricks, while being water-resistant to the cold and wet British weather.

The fact that they dry hard on their own reduces the overall amount of energy required for production, compared to traditional fired bricks.

Solar Tiles

Clay and concrete are the main materials that traditional bricks are made from and traditional roof tiles could be mined from the ground. In both cases, the methods are energy intensive. The classic roof tiles do only consume energy from the sun while protecting the building.

Till now that energy used to be lost until the market introduced the use of solar tiles. SOE of the other solar-powered units are usually installed on top of existing roofing, while solar tiles are fully integrated into the building, protecting its inhabitants and generating power.

Sustainable Concrete

According to data released by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, concrete is the second most used substance in the entire world after water.

More than two and a half billion tons of concrete are manufactured per year.
95% of CO2 emissions related to construction are due to the energy consumption of modern buildings.

However, about 5% of those could be reduced during construction process. Concrete is an essential part of almost every modern building, which makes the perfect candidate for improvement toward a greener and more sustainable development.

A mind-blowing fact is that about 5% of global CO2 emissions in 2012 were due the use of concrete. On the bright side, with the recent advancement of technology, new and sustainable products and alternative solutions constantly arise.

This has led to sustainable concrete being made with recycled materials such as recycled plastic, crushed glass, wood chips, slag can be added.

Although, this is a change that is not making a big contribution for transforming the characteristics and performance of concrete itself, the amount of CO2 emissions associated with concrete are reduced.

Recycled Paper Insulation

Recycled newspapers and cardboard make the paper-based insulation an exceptional alternative to chemical foams. Borax, boric acid, and calcium carbonate included in the paper insulation makes it fire-retardant, and it is also insect and fungi resistant.

This type on insulation causes no health problems, and can be blown into cavity walls, fillings cracks and creating a draft-free space. Also known as cellulose or newsprint insulation, this material is a green and sustainable solution for both new construction sites and property renovations.

Here are a few factors to bear in mind:

  • This building and construction solution could consist of more than 80% of recycled materials.
  • It takes far less energy to manufacture it than any other type of insulation, such as the most commonly used – fiberglass and foam.
  • The Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Associations, also known as CIMA, reports that recycling produces less emissions than actually leaving paper rubbish to rot in dumpsters and landfills.

Triple-Glazed & UPVC Windows

Triple-glazed and UPVC windows could be described as the “king of sustainable building materials”. The three layers of glass along with well-insulated window frames are doing an incredible work and manage to stop heat leaving the abode.
Double-glazed windows have the gas argon injected between the layers to help the insulation.

For this type of windows krypton is often used. It’s a better choice but slightly pricier insulator. The low-emissivity coatings that are additionally used are applied to the glass, further preventing the heat from escaping.

According to Sout Coast Windows, uPVC windows are one of the top-rated products on the market due their durability and the energy efficiency added to your home. Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride is known for the little maintenance it requires.

Final Remarks

As mentioned above, a house that combines the above-listed sustainable materials and products will be one that will actually contribute for a better environment. Although, the construction industry progresses at a slow pace, the importance of sustainability is likely to increase.

Now, the customers have to actively demand their buildings to be constructed with these fully developed building materials. And, building developers have to acknowledge this need for a “greener” industry and act accordingly. The more we know about sustainability and its effect on our planet the more we can achieve when constructing and maintaining our houses.

About the Author Staff Writer

Our writers come from all over the world, but one thing unites them - their passion for sustainability.

Leave a Comment:

Neil D'Costa says May 29, 2019

There are many more sustainable materials are available in the construction industry. like expanded clay aggregate. structural lightweight concrete, expanded clay balls etc.

    SBToolkit says May 29, 2019

    Great point!

Glorya says June 24, 2019

nice article!
Kappaphycus Alvarezii can be used as material to make Lightweight Brick
thanks for sharing!

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