There has been a greater push recently in the direction of being more environmentally conscious. Those trends have extended to the home construction industry. Environmentally-sensitive homeowners want their homes to be built using greener production methods and materials. Fortunately, there are multiple options available when it comes to green materials you can use when building a home.
Reclaimed wood is wood that has already been used for various purposes and has since been removed and discarded. This can be wood from structures like factories, barns, warehouses, winecasts, and more. It is often highly desirable thanks to its unique appearance and the history it contains. Using reclaimed wood when building a home is a quintessential form of recycling, repurposing and upcycling old, discarded wood material for use in a home. Reclaimed wood is durable, strong, and stable, making it ideal for home construction. It is especially useful for flooring and furniture, thanks to the time it’s already spent weathering and aging.
Wood isn’t the only material that is often recycled for use in home construction. Steel is 98% recyclable, and can retain its properties throughout repeated use. Because steel in home construction is produced with a specific purpose in mind, the amount of waste generated is minimal, and there is little to no on-site steel waste generated. It’s incredibly strong and resists decay and deterioration. It can be used in steel beams and other internal supports. The recyclability doesn’t end with its use in your home either. If the home is demolished and the steel removed, it can once again be recycled and repurposed for further use.
Sustainable Insulation Options
There are a variety of sustainable insulation options that you can use to maintain ideal temperatures within your home. Wool is one example of a highly sustainable insulation option. Sourced from sheep, this option has a sustainable source, is safe to handle, and is relatively easy to install. There are plenty of pros and cons of using wool as a source of insulation, but it’s hard to deny that it’s an excellent option for the environmentally-conscientious homeowner. Wool insulation can be installed using staples or cut to be friction fit, relying on the force of friction to remain in place. It is biodegradable, yet has the potential to be incredibly long lasting. It’s also highly effective, thanks to its natural structure that forms pockets. These pockets allow it to capture air, moisture, and other harmful particles, removing them from the air and maintaining temperate conditions.
The color green is irrevocably attached to the concept of going green. Going green in terms of building a home doesn’t have to mean literally mean having a green home though, unless you want it to. Green paint, as in environmentally friendly paint, is the expected standard now. Residential home building materials must meet IBC standards, including paint, which must have low VOC levels or none at all. These paints are safer for you and your household in addition to being more friendly to the environment. You can use such paints on surfaces both inside and outside of your home. There are even green-colored paint options if you really want to hammer it home.
When choosing a home builder, ask them to see if they use sustainable lumber. Sustainable lumber comes from forests that meet certain criteria. These forests are meant to be kept healthy, with clean water and a protected wildlife habitat. They are monitored so that there are trees being continuously planted to ensure that what is harvested is replaced. This makes sure that the forests are protected and preserved, protecting the source of lumber for years to come. When you consider the threats forests face, it becomes clear how important it is to preserve them and to support businesses who source their lumber from sustainable forests.
You could easily mistake bamboo for a tree and think that you’re using a sustainable form of lumber, but you wouldn’t be entirely correct. Bamboo is technically a grass, and an incredibly fast growing one at that. Because of its rapid growth and tenacious nature, bamboo is a highly sustainable material that can be used when building a home. In Asia, it isn’t uncommon to see houses built from bamboo. It can be found in the floors, walls, and roofs. It’s used to make furniture, scaffolding, bridges, and a variety of other things.
Going green doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your individuality. If you want something that is truly unique to your home, look into installing recycled glass countertops in your kitchen. The crushed pieces of glass are embedded in either acrylic or concrete. The positions of the glass pieces in conjunction with the colors ensure that your countertop will be a true one of a kind. Repurposing the glass makes this countertop option an environmentally friendly one. Make sure you take good care of it to keep it looking beautiful throughout its life.
Bamboo and reclaimed wood aren’t the only green flooring options. Despite being often thought of as an outdated flooring option, linoleum is a great material to use if you want to build a green home.True linoleum is made from entirely natural materials. It can be recycled to create new pieces of linoleum. With proper maintenance, it will last for decades. Relatively inexpensive and easy to install, linoleum can be a great, green flooring option that is readily available to virtually any homeowner who wants to use it.
Green materials can be great options to use when building a home. There are a variety to choose from, so it’s possible to have a greener home on a variety of budgets and for a variety of tastes. When choosing your materials, remember to think of both the sustainability of the material and the manner in which it is produced. That will help you choose the most environmentally friendly options that best fit your needs.
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