23 Different Green Building Materials

23 Different Green Building Materials
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The aim of using green building materials is to construct energy-efficient structures. To achieve this one should know about different green building materials and their properties regarding energy saving. So, Here are different types of green building materials and their properties.

Green Building Materials used in Construction

Following are the list of Green building materials used in construction.

  1. Earthen Materials
  2. Wood
  3. Bamboo
  4. SIPs
  5. Insulated Concrete Forms
  6. Cordwood
  7. Straw Bale
  8. Earth Bags
  9. Slate/ Stone Roofing
  10. Steel
  11. Thatch
  12. Composites
  13. Natural Fiber
  14. Polyurethane
  15. Fiber Glass
  16. Cellulose
  17. Cork
  18. Polystyrene and isocyanurate
  19. Natural Clay
  20. Non- VOC paints
  21. Natural Fiber Floor
  22. Fiber Cement
  23. Stone

1. Earthen Materials

  • Earthen materials like adobe, cob, and rammed earth are used for construction purposes since olden days.
  • For good strength and durability chopped straw, grass, other fibers etc. are added to earth.
  • Now a days also, some structures built with adobe or cob can be seen in some remote areas.
Adobe made Structure

Fig 1: Adobe made Structure

2. Engineered Wood

  • Wood is one of the most famous building materials used around the world.
  • But in the process of conversion from raw timber to wood boards and planks, most percentage of wood may got wasted.
  • This wastage can also be used to make structural parts like walls, boards, doors etc. in the form engineered wood.
  • Unlike solid wood, engineered wood contains different layers of wood, usually the middle layers are made of wood scraps, soft woods, wood fibers etc.
Engineered Wood Board

Fig 2: Engineered Wood Board over Solid Wood Board

3. Bamboo

  • Bamboo is one of the most used multipurpose and durable materials used in construction.
  • These trees grows faster irrespective of climatic conditions. So, it is economical also.
  • They can be used to construct frames or supports, walls, floors etc.
  • They also give good appearance to the structures.
Bamboo Structure

Fig 3: Bamboo Structure

4. SIPs

  • Structural insulated panels (SIPs) consists two sheets of oriented strand boards or flake board in between them foam layer is provided.
  • They generally available in larger sizes and are used as walls of structure.
  • Because of their large size, they need heavy equipment to install however, they provide good insulation.
Structural Insulated Panel (SIP)

Fig 4: Structural Insulated Panel (SIP)

5. Insulated Concrete Forms

  • Insulated concrete forms contains two insulation layers with some space in between them. This space contains some arrangement for holding reinforcement bars, after placing reinforcement, concrete is poured into this space.
  • They are light in weight, fire resistant, low dense and have good thermal and sound insulation properties.
Insulated Concrete Forms

Fig 5: Insulated Concrete Forms

6. Cordwood

  • If wood is widely available, then cordwood construction is recommended.
  • It require short and round pieces of wood which are laid one above the other along width wise and are bonded together my special mortar mix.
  • They are strong, environmental friendly and also give good appearance to the structure.
Cordwood Wall

Fig 6: Cordwood Wall

7. Straw Bale

  • Straw bale is another green building material which can be used as framing material for building because of good insulating properties. They can also acts as sound proof materials.
  • Non-load bearing walls of straw bale as fill material in between column and beam framework is recommended.
  • Since air cannot pass through them, straw bales also has some resistance to fire.
Straw Bale Wall

Fig 7: Straw Bale Wall

8. Earth Bags

  • Earth bags or sand bags are also used to construct walls of a structure.
  • These type of structures can be seen in military bases, near banks of water resources etc.
  • Generally bags made of burlap are recommended but they may rotten very easily and hence, polypropylene bags are using now a days.
Earth Bag Walls

Fig 8: Earth Bag Walls

9. Slate Roofing

  • Slate is naturally formed rock which is used to make tiles.
  • Slate tiles are having high durability and they are used as roofing materials.
  • Slate roofing is preferred when it is locally or cheaply available.
Slate Roofing

Fig 9: Slate Roofing

10. Steel

  • Steel roof panels and shingles are highly durable and they can be recycled for again and again. So, these are best choice for green roofing materials.
Steel Roofing

Fig 10: Steel Roofing

11. Thatch

  • Thatch is nothing but dry straw, dry water reed, dried rushes etc. These are oldest roofing materials which are still using in some remote locations of world and even in cities for aesthetic attractions.
  • It is cheaply available material for roofing and a good insulator too.
Thatch Roofing

Fig 11: Thatch Roofing

12. Composites

  • Roof panels made of composite materials such as foam or cellulose layer sandwiched between two metal sheets or two plastic sheets are also come under green building materials.
  • They are light in weight and inexpensive and provide good insulation for the structure and saves energy.
Composite Roof Panels

Fig 12: Composite Roof Panels

13. Natural Fiber

  • Natural fibers like cotton, wool can also be used as insulation materials.
  • Recycled cotton fibers or wool fibers are converted into a batt and installed in preformed wooden frame sections.
Cotton Insulation

Fig 13: Cotton Insulation

14. Polyurethane

  • Polyurethane foam is available in the form of spray bottles. They are directly sprayed onto the surface or wall or to which part insulation is required.
  • After spraying it expands and forms a thick layer which hardens later on.
  • They offer excellent insulation and prevents leakage of air.
Polyurethane Foam Spray

Fig 14: Polyurethane Foam Spray

15. Fiberglass

  • Fiberglass is also used for insulation purposes in the form of fiberglass batts.
  • Even though it contains some toxic binding agents, because of its super insulation property at low cost it can be considered as green building material.
Fibergalss batt

Fig 15: Fibergalss batt

16. Cellulose

  • Cellulose is a recycled product of paper waste and it is widely used around the world for insulation purposes in structure.
  • It acts as good sound insulator and available for cheap prices in market.
Cellulose Insulation

Fig 16: Installing Cellulose Insulation

17. Cork

  • Cork also a good insulator. Boards or panels made of cork are available in markets.
  • So much electrical energy can be saved by cork board insulation in winter.
  • These cork boards are also good for sound insulation.
Installing Cork Boards

Fig 17: Installing Cork Boards

18. Polystyrene and isocyanurate

  • Polystyrene and isocyanurate foam sheets are another type insulation materials which are available in in the form of boards or sheets.
  • These are generally provided as insulators on exterior sides of structure, below the grade etc.
Polystyrene Foam Sheets

Fig 18: Installation of Polystyrene Foam Sheets

19. Natural Clay

  • Plastering of walls can be done using natural clay rather than other gypsum-based plasters.
  • Natural clay plaster with proper workmanship gives beautiful appearance to the interior.
Natural Clay Plastered Walls

Fig 19: Natural Clay Plastered Wall

20. Non- VOC paints

  • Non-VOC paint or green paint is recommended over VOC containing paints.
  • Presence of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in paint reacts with sunlight and nitrogen oxide resulting formation ozone which causes severe problems for the occupant health.
  • If non-VOC paint is not available then try the paint with very low-VOC content in it.
Non-VOC Paint

Fig 20: Non-VOC Paint

21. Natural Fiber Floor

  • Naturally occurring materials like bamboo, wool and cotton fiber carpets, cork etc. can be used for flooring purposes.
Natural Fiber Flooring Rugs

Fig 21: Natural Fiber Flooring Rugs

22. Fiber Cement

  • Fiber cement boards are made of cement, sand and wood fibers.
  • For exterior siding, fiber cement boards are good choice because of their cheap price, good durability and good resistance against fire.
Fiber Cement Boards

Fig 22: Exterior Siding with Fiber Cement Boards

23. Stone

  • Stone is naturally occurred longest lasting building material on the earth. Some Stone structures built hundreds of years ago are still exists in nature.
  • Stones are good against weathering hence they can be used to construct exterior walls, steps, exterior flooring etc.
Natural Stone Wall

Fig 23: Natural Stone Wall



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