3 Green-Building Materials That Will Change Construction

Reader Contribution by James White
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by Unsplash/ Jeremy Hynes

New environmental construction materials in the world of home and residential construction are poised to save the world from dangerous greenhouse gas emissions, and smart consumers are scrambling for them.

These three major developments in the green building materials are bound to change lives and climates all over the world.

Carbon NEGATIVE Cement Alternative

Meet Ferrock™, a new, environmentally-friendly cement alternative that’s green from its manufacturing process to its implementation in construction projects. It actually soaks up greenhouse gasses from the environment like a sponge!

Commercial and residential housing accounts for nearly 8 percent of Carbon Dioxide emissions in the U.S. according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and a large portion of that is due to the manufacture and use of cement. Cement is the primary ingredient in concrete and concrete is the second most consumed substance on Earth after water, according to the Earth Institute.

Cement and concrete aggregates are used in the foundations and footings of nearly every commercial and residential building erected in the last century and account for nearly 5 percent of CO2 emissions worldwide.  Cement leaves a huge carbon footprint due to its manufacturing process requiring the heating of limestone to over 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit.  Ferrock™ is made without heat and uses recycled materials from other industries, such as silica from ground glass and steel dust.  Everything about it is green and it has been found to be about five times stronger than conventional Portland cement concrete.

Ecologically Friendly Insulation

Wood foam insulation material is much greener than standard insulation foams now in use. Fraunhofer Wood Foam, developed by German scientists, is made from ground, recycled wood, pumped with gas.

Insulation is critical to the building of a home and accounts for nearly 50 percent of a home’s energy consumptionInsulation can prevent air leaks around windows and doors that lead to heat loss. Proper insulation will save you money and reduce your energy consumption substantially!

Standard home insulation materials generally are made from petroleum products, which contribute to a home’s carbon footprint. Wood foam insulation is not made using petroleuem. Wood foam is made from 100 percent eco-friendly ingredients and have scored high in thermos-insulating and mechanical properties according to researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research in Germany.

Recycled Floor Covering

Intended to be used in place of hard surfaces like vinyl tile, recycled flooring is developed using post-consumer recycled materials, mostly water and soda bottles.  The material itself is recyclable making it almost 100% green and perfect for use in modern home construction.

Kinetix® textile composite flooring from J+J Flooring group was named one of the Top Ten green building products for 2014 by BuildingGreen Inc., publisher of GreenSpec and Environmental Building News.

The specter of environmental change and global disaster looms large in the 21st century. Increased ecological concern has spurred much needed research and development in affordable, quality products that reduce our individual carbon footprint.  No longer costly and inconvenient, green products are the wave of the future and the key to reducing the carbon emissions caused by home construction. The least we can do is use them.

A Good Place to Start

1. Ask your builder or contractor about using green materials and techniques before beginning renovations.

2. Investigate a product’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating at the S. Green Building Council‘s website before using in construction. If a product is rated poorly, use an alternative material.

3. Remember that each small step towards reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emission counts!In the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Small steps lead to big changes!

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