One of the most important aspects of green design is using sustainable materials during construction. Any house that aims to be eco-friendly should focus on using natural, recycled, or durable resources. Here’s what you need to know when choosing green building materials:
What Makes it Green
Often categorized as either reclaimed building materials or recycled content, sustainable construction resources can come from vacated structures or from recycling programs. Whether they’re salvaged from old buildings or repurposed former objects, reusable elements all help cut carbon emissions and environmental degradation. Rather than waste valuable natural resources by producing new materials, you can build a more energy efficient home with reprocessed matter.
While utilizing recycled goods is important, it’s also necessary to consider the durability, safety, and energy producing capabilities of a building substance. Materials that are long lasting, or able to create energy, are also essential in building sustainable homes. These include polycarbonate sheets and windows, solar panels, and rain harvesting systems. In addition to using resources that use less energy or make their own, you’ll also want to avoid substances that are potentially harmful to your health. Invest in non-toxic materials that don’t emit carcinogens or chemicals and try to avoid products with high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC).
Examples of Green Building Materials
Working with organic and salvaged content is the safest way to go when constructing or remodeling your home. There are many natural and sustainable materials available for building an eco-friendly house, including demolition debris, reclaimed lumber, reused brick, rubber mulch, plentiful and rapidly growing plants like bamboo and straw, foundry sand, recycled metals and stones, and recycled plastic furniture.
Many salvaged building elements become valuable and highly sought-after over time. Homeowners with vintage aesthetics can look for rare or unique refurbished pieces, like marble mantles, stained glass, old growth or aged hardwoods, and antique fixtures, for decorating their houses.
From interior design embellishments to durable structural foundations, green building materials can help cut down on construction waste and the depletion of natural resources.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers a list of environmentally friendly products recommended for new buildings or remodeling projects. Green building certification programs or standards like LEED or Passive House are also helpful resources for learning more about eco-friendly materials.
At TreeLine Homes, we’ve been committed to building sustainable homes throughout Boulder County for years. We can answer your design questions and work with you to model a house with many locally sourced green building materials. Please contact us for more information.