Sustainable Wall Design and Construction for Eco-Friendly Properties
Demand for green design is increasing every day as people become more conscious of climate change, the damage of fossil fuels, and our economic and environmental footprints.
It’s great to see that the findings of the surveys match the views of a significant majority of Americans. According to one poll, nearly seven-to-ten Americans (69%) believe that the U.S. should stop expanding the production of oil, coal, and natural gas and focus more on developing renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. Another survey shows that just above average, 61% of U.S. consumers have included sustainability as an important purchase parameter when buying a home.
It’s no surprise that, in recent times, sustainable homes have become more common. These homes possess components that enhance energy efficiency, decrease utility expenses, and minimize long-term energy costs, thereby establishing them as superb investments in the long run.
What is Green Home?
A green home is a type of building that is designed to be environmentally sustainable. They are made of non-toxic materials, are energy-efficient, and offer a small carbon-footprint. The goal of a green design is to reduce the environmental impact by turning to innovative building solutions that will help save energy and protect the earth.
There’s an established system for rating green homes called LEED, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. If a homeowner wants his house to be LEED-certified, it needs to be evaluated by a Green Rater. And not just that, the home has to meet some seriously high-efficiency standards for water, energy, indoor air quality, materials, and even the building site itself. All this is organized to make sure those homes are meeting the requirements when it comes to being eco-friendly.
Let’s discover which natural materials are most suitable for eco-friendly construction.
Green Construction Materials
Builders and designers nowadays are facing unique challenges to meet the demands of new and renovated homes that are healthy, sustainable, and accessible while, at the same time, minimizing any negative impact on the environment and society. That’s why green construction materials are becoming more popular in the construction industry.
These eco-friendly materials are designed, from their production to disposal, to minimize the negative impact on the environment. They are designed to be reusable across their entire life cycle.
- Cob/Mud Houses
Cob houses are amazing and highly sustainable. They are constructed using a mix of clay, sand, straw, and water. Straw fibers, or straw bales, are added to the cob mixture to ensure strength and minimize cracking as the cob dries. Such material is a great insulator, as tick walls help regulate temperature.
Besides providing great insulation, cob is also a very durable material. With its strength and fire resistance, cob can withstand natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes. Natural materials used in cob mixtures are typically locally sourced, requiring minimal processing and transportation.
Cob has been the main material used for millennia, and it can last hundreds of years. Similar ancient materials still used today are adobe bricks, or simply mudbricks. They are made from clay and straw and are highly durable, with great natural noise protection.
Adobe homes are very easy to insure because they are incombustible. They are categorized as masonry constructions by insurance companies.
Renewal of the surface coating of an adobe wall in Chamisal, New Mexico
If you want to build your own eco-friendly house, cob is a material that is easy to work with, even for beginners. Another interesting feature is that it can be molded into almost any shape, which allows great design flexibility. architects can get creative with shapes and angles when designing adobe homes. Homes that were built using cob tend to look charming, like the Hobbit homes from The Lord of the Rings.
Living in a stone structure is eco-friendly and requires minimal maintenance. A house built from stone doesn’t release harmful toxins or chemicals into the interior of your home. Stone, as the original green building material, doesn’t require any other materials for its creation. As it occurs naturally as it is, the stone is really stunning on its own; it showcases its inherent beauty, so you won’t need any paint or finish.
Easily available, a stone could be considered as one of the most durable green materials and has a wide range of texture options. Stone homeowners can really be proud of the classy looks of their homes and their timeless design.
Stone is known for its exceptional durability, it withstands the test of time. In green house construction, durability is essentially important so that resources aren’t used as often to create materials. Stone may be expensive initially, but its durability will pay for itself and reduce future costs, compared to other materials that require repairing or replacing frequently.
Stone homes are very practical during the winter, providing a defense from water, and storms. They are common in the New England area, so this makes stone homes an excellent choice in that region.
- Green Concrete
The usual mix for concrete is cement, aggregates, and water, but green concrete has gone above and beyond in mix design. It uses waste and recycled materials in its mixture. Green concrete is made with the goal of replacing and thus decreasing the damaging environmental effects of concrete, which is the most used material in construction in the world. Manufacturing cement accounts for approximately 8 to 10 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions.
Green concrete, in its design, has substituted cement in a great percentage (up to 100%). Fly ash is a waste product of coal-fired power plants, and it’s used in a green concrete mixture as an incredible, strong recycled material. Fly ash in concrete is widely popular and used across the U.S
When building a green house, it’s important to maintain everything eco-friendly, from utensils, floors, roofs, retaining walls, and indoor and outdoor construction materials. Green concrete is a popular choice for Unilock retaining wall construction because of its strength and enhanced durability.
Many modern homes are built from green concrete, which is a great substitute for traditional concrete and significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions.
What are the Goals of Green Building Design?
The alarm bell of climate change is constantly ringing, and environmental pollution is a big concern. With this in mind, going green in every aspect we can is of the utmost importance. Green building is the process of creating an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient structure.
The main goals of green building designs are to reduce the impact on the environment by efficiently using energy, water, and materials. Regarding indoor buildings, green homes have the goal of providing comfort, well-being, and productivity for residents through air, thermal, and lighting quality. Thermal quality is ensured by green materials; air quality depends on the proper design of the ventilation system; and lighting quality often means using daylight to its full potential. Water-efficient utensils are also an important part of green homes.
Another crucial goal of green building is the conservation of natural resources. With minimal waste, recycled materials, and efficient water usage, eco-friendly properties can also contribute to protecting the ecosystem and benefiting the earth.