Sustainable Building Materials for a Greener Home

By Nick Matteo | August 28, 2016

Want to go green? The right building materials can make all the difference.

Sustainable Building MaterialsWhat’s the most important thing to consider when you start a home construction project? You might say it’s the design, or even the location. But when it comes to daily life in your home, there’s no question that the most important element is the construction materials themselves–from the foundation to the roof over your head.

A home construction project is one place where sustainable materials and practices can make a huge difference–keeping your family safe and reducing your home’s carbon footprint for years to come.

Today, it’s easy to go green with sustainable building materials that are not only eco-friendly, but safe and energy-efficient. Have you considered these options for your home construction project?

The Top 4 Types of Sustainable Building Materials

  1. Recycled or renewable materials. One of the best ways to make your home more sustainable is to use recycled or sustainable construction materials. Almost every construction material imaginable can be found in a recycled or renewable form today. Even concrete from demolished buildings is commonly recycled, which greatly reduces demolition waste (and, in some cases, even makes the recycled concrete stronger). 

    On the renewable side, look for woods and other products that are sustainably harvested. Sustainably harvested lumber for building can be certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or the SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative), both of which monitor for ecologically safe logging practices. When it comes to flooring and interior paneling, you can try fast-growing renewable options like bamboo and cork instead of non-renewable rainforest hardwoods.

  2. Non-toxic materials. One of the benefits of a green home is that it can reduce your family’s exposure to toxic chemicals that are commonly used in the construction. Ask about paints, finishes, siding, roofing, and flooring that are labeled “low-VOC,” or low in volatile organic compounds. You can also ask about recycled alternatives to fiberglass insulation, which is hazardous to touch or inhale, and which actually loses more heat than recycled materials.
  3. Locally sourced materials. The best sustainable building materials for homes are the ones closest to you. When you use locally sourced materials in your construction project, you’re cutting down on the cost and energy it takes to ship those materials to your building site–which, in the case of lumber or concrete, could be quite a lot! You’ll also be giving back to your home area by supporting the industries in your community or state.
  4. Energy-efficient utilities and appliances. It’s no surprise that up-to-date heating, lighting, and plumbing systems can dramatically reduce the amount of energy your home uses. But today, smart home technology can reduce that energy output even further by monitoring occupancy and shutting down systems when no one is at home, and making water heaters and heating systems more precise. Other basic principles of building design, such as maximizing natural light and preventing heat loss, can also make your home more sustainable for years to come.

Interested in building your own green home? Have more questions about construction with sustainable building materials? Contact How Building Services today at 484-841 -8391 or for a free consultation!