6 Sustainable and environmentally friendly construction materials

1. Recycled steel

As one of the most commonly recycled materials, steel has proven that it can still be used without losing its original properties. Still strong and durable, it is just as useful as new steel for construction. By recycling recovered steel, we can save natural resources, while also reducing large amounts of energy and pollutants from the mining and manufacturing process. Besides, the energy used in the recycling process is also much less than in the conventional production process because the raw materials have been pre-processed.


2. Recycled wood or reclaimed wood

When properly cared for, wood is not only easy to work with, but can also create attractive architectural elements. But how to use wood sustainably? With proper management, wood can be a renewable resource. However, we must make sure not to rely too much on new wood, as using too much wood can exceed the growth rate of the tree. A simple solution is to recycle reclaimed wood. We have seen this through furniture remade from old wood. By recycling wood, we can reduce deforestation, indirectly promoting biodiversity and carbon sequestration.


3. Hempcrete

Hempcrete is typically produced in block form from a mixture of hemp fibers and lime. Hempcrete or hemp lime is considered a carbon negative material, because it absorbs more carbon dioxide than emissions (which often occur during the production process). Hemp behaves similarly to wood, but grows faster and is easily renewable. Hempcrete blocks are light and flexible in design, while also providing good thermal insulation. As a result, it helps reduce the need to use energy to heat or cool the environment indirectly.


4. Clay

Rammed earth structures dating back centuries can be found in many regions of the world. Today, it is considered an abundant and sustainable resource for construction materials. With such soil suitable for construction, rammed earth buildings can have a low carbon footprint because soil excavated from the area can be used, requiring little or no transportation. Using low carbon materials such as rammed earth can reduce the carbonization of the environment. A similar material that many modern architects have experimented with is mud.


5. Biocomposite cement

Technological advances allow the production of bricks using materials grown from seaweed! Some types of algae can naturally create cement-like materials. The result is a low carbon material with properties similar to cement used in construction. Currently, this is still experimental and not yet commonly used in industry, but could soon become one of the leading materials to help achieve zero-carbon construction goals.


6. Terrazzo

Terrazzo is a recycled material commonly used as floor tiles. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing with colorful scraps, but it is also sustainable because it is made from scraps of marble and glass pellets combined with cement. This material is not new, it has been used since ancient Roman times but became popular in the 18th century. Terrazzo has now been upgraded from the old version with better scratch and crack resistance. . Eco-recycling is what makes terrazzo a sustainable material – even plastic pieces can be recycled to become terrazzo.


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