🕑 Reading time: 1 minuteToday many people that are building or remodeling their houses choose to use eco-friendly building materials. An eco-friendly building material is one that increases the efficiency of energy used and reduces impact on human well-being and the environment. There are many different materials that can be used that are eco-friendly; from foundation, to insulation, to interior and exterior wall finishes, flooring, and countertop materials.
Categorization of Building MaterialsCategorized based on Activity and Vendor Specific
- Civil materials
- Waterproofing and Chemical additives
- Paving, flooring, dado and similar finishes
- Paints, colors, white washing, distempering and wood finishes
- Wood work
- Roofing and ceiling
- Doors and windows
- Water supply and sanitary fittings
- Electrical works
- Fire fighting system
- Excavation work
- Road works
Evaluating Eco-friendly Materials
Why eco-friendly materials?
- Phenomenal growth in the construction industry that depends upon depletable resources.
- Production of building materials leads to irreversible environmental impacts.
- Using eco-friendly materials is the best way to build a eco-friendly building.
Stone quarrying leads to eroded hills, like this picture showing the site of makarana marble quarry, brick kilns in the fringes of the city lead to denudation of topsoil, dredging for sand damage the river biodiversity etc.
What is Eco-friendly material ?Dictionary: describes a product that has been designed to do the least possible damage to the environment. US EPA – EPP program defines as: "products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose" Thus we talk of two issues – one that it does the least possible environmental damage and two that it is a comparative scale as there are very few materials that are completely eco-friendly.
One more point to note when we talk of eco-friendly construction is that it consist of two parts – Material and Technique. A material by itself can be eco-friendly, e.g. Bamboo. Or Even conventional materials can become eco-friendly based on the construction technique that is used. e.g. rat trap bond developed by Lauri Baker, which require less number of bricks and are more heat insulating than normal walls and therefore eco-friendly.
Properties of Eco-Friendly Building Materials
The various properties of the Eco-friendly materials and techniques are – Materials can be eco-friendly also if they can assist in reduction of the energy used in the building during operation and maintenance. it is difficult to get a material that has all these properties, and it thus becomes a comparative assessment to identify eco-friendly materials. Source of Material a. Renewable source Rapidly renewable sources e.g. wood from certified forests
b. Reuse of Waste Salvaged products –e.g. old plumbing, door frames Recycled contents – agriculture/ industrial waste e.g. Bagasse Board Embodied Energy Scalar total of energy input required to produce the product including transporting them to the building site
Aluminium and steel has the most embodied energy because to the high energy required to produce them. Compared to timber that requires very less energy for production. Reduce Pollution Air Pollution- Use of materials with low VOC emissions e.g. Cement Paints
Water Pollution – Materials that prevent leaching.
Land Pollution- Materials that reuse waste that would otherwise have resulted in landfill. e.g. Flyash Bricks. Performance
Reduce material use These are energy efficient and also help reduce the dead load of a building. e.g. Ferrocement Durability & Life Span Material that are exceptionally durable, or require low maintenance e.g PVC pipes. Materials can be eco-friendly based on how they perform. Use of certain material or techniques can reduce the amount of material required. Durability – The longer the life of a material the lesser it is required to replace and thus reduces the quantity required to produce. Energy Conservation Materials that require less energy during construction e.g. precast slabs.
Materials that help reduce the cooling loads- e.g – aerated concrete blocks. Products that conserve energy – e. g. CFL lamps.
Fixtures & equipments that help conserve water e.g. Dual flush cisterns Recyclable Reuse or Recycle as different product e.g. steel, aluminum.
Biodegradable – that decompose easily e.g wood or earthen materials.
Types of Eco-friendly Building Materials
Conventional Eco-friendly materials
- Bamboo, Bamboo Based Particle Board & Ply Board, Bamboo Matting
- Bricks sun dried
- Precast cement concrete blocks, lintels, slab. Structural and non-structural modular elements
- Calcined Phosphogypsum Wall Panels
- Calcium silicate boards and Tiles
- Cellular Lightweight Concrete Blocks
- Cement Paint
- Clay roofing tiles
- Water, polyurethane and acrylic based chemical admixtures for corrosion removal, rust prevention, water proofing
- Epoxy Resin System, Flooring, sealants, adhesives and admixtures
- Ferro-cement boards for door and window shutters
- Ferro-cement Roofing Channels
- Fly-ash Sand Lime Bricks and Paver Blocks
- Gypsum Board, Tiles, Plaster, Blocks, gypsum plaster fibre jute/sisal and glass fibre composites
- Laminated Wood Plastic Components
- Marble Mosaic Tiles
- MDF Boards and Mouldings
- Micro Concrete Roofing Tiles
- Particle Boards
- Polymerised waterproof compound
- Portland Pozzolana Cement Fly-ash / Calcined Clay Based
- Portland Slag Cement
- RCC Door Frames
- Ready Mix Cement Concrete
- Rubber Wood Finger Joint Board
- Stone dust
- Waterproof compound, adhesive, Polymer, Powder
Potential Eco-friendly materials & techniques
- Bagasse Board - BMTPC
- Bricks from Coal Washery Rejects -CBRI, Roorkee
- Building Blocks From Mine Waste - SERC
- Burnt Clay FlyAsh Bricks - CBRI, Roorkee
- Coir Cement Board - CBRI, Roorkee
- Compressed Earth Blocks - BMTPC
- EPS Composites and Door Shutters -CBRI, Roorkee
- Fibre Fly Ash Cement Boards -BMTPC
- Fibre Reinforced Concrete Precast Elements, Wall panels, Blocks, Manhole Covers - SERC
- Fibrous Gypsum Plaster Boards - CBRI, Roorkee
- Fly Ash Cellular Concrete, Fly Ash Cement Brick, Blocks - BMTPC
- Fly Ash Lime Cellular Concrete - CBRI, Roorkee
- Flyash Lime Gypsum Brick - BMTPC
- Insulating Bricks from Rice Husk Ash- Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute, Kolkata
- Jute Fibre Polyester -BMTPC
- Non Erodible Mud Plaster - CBRI, Roorkee
- Polytiles - CBRI, Roorkee
- Timber from trees such as Poplar, Rubber, Eucalyptus - BMTPC
- Precast walling roofing components - CBRI, Roorkee
- Prefab Brick Panel System - CBRI, Roorkee