Building materials are becoming scarcer. Over the coming years, the Construction Leadership Council has suggested that essential building materials will rise significantly in price. As more people need housing, the materials used will become more difficult to acquire. But, there is something we can do about that. By using eco-friendly building materials, we can help to reduce the demand. We’ll also be cutting back on our carbon footprint!
In this article, we’ll be looking at 4 eco-friendly building materials that we can turn to. This list covers everything from structure to insulation! By using natural materials, we can shift into a more sustainable form of construction.
A historic option – cob
Cob is a mixture of several different naturally occurring materials. These are mainly water, long straw, and subsoil. These three components are easy to come by, making this a fantastic eco-friendly material.
Cob is also flexible once mixed, allowing you to shape it as you build. This helps when making rounded corners of walls or rooms. Another benefit to this material is that it’s a natural insulator. This works well in hotter regions. Cob keeps the cool air inside and reduces the need for air conditioning.
When you build with cob, you’ll also be making something that can last. The material is weather-resistant, which is great for walls. Some sources suggest that the oldest standing cob-made house is over 10,000 years old.
The etymology of ‘Cob’ stems from roughly the 1600s in England. However, there is evidence of cob being used across Afghanistan as early as the 11th century. For a building material with a long history, give cob a go!
Eco-friendly building materials for insulation – sheep’s wool
Sheep’s wool is, of course, naturally occurring on sheep! As sheep constantly regrow their wool, you can sheer their coats and collect up the wool. After that, you can leave the sheep for a while as it regrows its thick woolly coat. Although not all wool falls into this category, it is possible to find wool that is sourced keeping animal welfare and sustainability in mind.
The density of the wool makes it a perfect option for loft, floor, and ceiling insulation. So, instead of buying conventional insulation, try to opt for sheep’s wool.
Another benefit of this material is that it won’t degrade as quickly as other insulation. Sheep’s wool provides an all-natural material that can beat out traditional insulation if it comes from sustainable, ethical sources.
A structural alternative to timber – bamboo
Just like cob, bamboo has been used in construction for centuries. You can harvest bamboo without killing the plant. That means you can harvest time and time again.
Bamboo is incredibly fast-growing, making it a prime candidate for continual production. Some bamboo plants can grow up to 1 meter in a single day! Check out some local sellers of bamboo for an eco-friendly timber replacement.
Bamboo also made our list of the most environmentally-friendly textiles!
If you’re looking for an easy way to cut down on your plastic wastage, making an EcoBrick might be a great option for you. An EcoBrick is a 2-litre bottle that you pack tightly with plastic waste. You stuff any bits of plastic you accrue throughout the week down into the bottle.
Over time, you’ll fill the bottle up. Once you fill it to the brim of tightly packed plastic, the bottle actually becomes dense. You can then use these bricks as a primary material for building. In fact, the EcoBricks website has compiled a list of construction projects that EcoBricks are perfect for.
Final thoughts on eco-friendly building materials
These four materials only scratch the surface of the eco-friendly building materials out there. There are plenty more fantastic materials out there, all you have to do is look! Want to look at some other ways to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle? Then check out these ways to reduce your water consumption at home!
What other sustainable building materials are you aware of? Let us know in the comments down below.