There are many considerations to make when choosing building products for your next project, like price, durability, and color/textures. But one consideration that is often overlooked is the sustainability of those products. When a building is demolished, what happens to those materials?
Take steel, for example. Steel is known for its durability, but creating it, as well as materials like concrete and glass, “requires temperatures of up to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit, which is achieved with large amounts of fossil fuel-based energy”(UMass Amherst). While steel can be recycled, the amount of energy needed to melt and reuse the material has similar negative effects on the environment. Thankfully, there are many sustainable building products that can help to reduce the negative environmental effects when building.
According to ArchDaily.com, “the harvesting of cork is a completely renewable process that causes no harm to the tree and naturally regrows after ten years”. Cork can be used for indoor or outdoor projects and can provide them with water, sound, and fire proofing.
Bamboo has become a popular building material within the last few years. It regrows quickly and is “two to three times stronger than steel”(ArchDaily), plus it looks cool while doing it!
According to GreenBuildingSupply, Marmoleum is actually a type of linoleum made of all natural products like “linseed oil, natural resin, ground cork dust, wood flour, and powdered limestone”(ArchDaily). Those natural materials make Marmoleum biodegradable and able to be incinerated.
While this one may seem obvious, it’s important to know why materials like wood are great options. According to WagnerMeters.com, wood has a longer life cycle than steel or concrete and that life cycle has a significantly smaller environmental effect. It’s also biodegradable, cheaper to produce, and more energy efficient, meaning less energy to heat and cool a building. The list goes on!
As environmentally responsible consumers and producers, we need to be aware of the potential effects that our decisions today will have in the future. Consider your options when you are buying your next home or building your next project. You can do your part in keeping our Earth clean.