Eco construction is a structure built without any damage to the environment using renewable resources and local materials, and energy-efficient. Durable construction materials are of the greatest importance but design techniques can reduce energy loss and make the maintenance more efficient in the long run. Every part and detail of the house can increase sustainability starting from foundation and wall up to eco-insulation and roofs generating energy.
Whether you are building a new house or moving sustainability step by step with the existing one, we suggest looking into the components and see the opportunities of making them green. The basic indicators are making sure the construction materials are natural and renewable, but other than that there are many more details and innovations in eco-construction worth paying attention to.
The basic rules for green construction and sustainable materials for the main categories.
Foundation. Being an integral part of the building foundation is supposed to be strong, transfer the gravity loads under different weather conditions, resist lateral soil compression, and prevent water leakages. The primary function of the foundation is to set the pattern of the construction. In eco-construction, it appears important to consider the following factors for the foundation as the depth of excavation, site demolition, changes in the topography and to minimize the interference in nature. Just like for the rest of the building, foundation construction materials are advisable to be durable, recyclable, non-toxic, and locally available. Unfortunately, concrete remains the most frequently used foundation material, even though it contains fossil fuel energy and contributes to global warming. The concrete can be replaced or mixed with stone, subsoil, bamboo, rammed earth.
Walls. The function of the walls is a separation between outside and inside and moisture distribution. In green construction, a lot of effort has recently been given to creating wall systems with better ventilation and insulation. The initial quality of the construction and materials help reduce the amount of energy consumed for heating and cooling. Among the most eco-friendly materials for the wall, it is worth naming wood frame constructions with engineered wood, recycled-content drywall, FSC wood framing, salvaged structural members.
Floors. While selecting the type of sustainable flooring it is important to consider the following factors:
the existing surface,
the habits of the people who will be using it,
which areas are active and have more foot traffic,
time and effort you are ready to spend on cleaning.
The variety of materials and finishings in sustainable flooring is constantly growing. Among the most popular are bamboo, cork, FSC wood plant, salvaged wood planks, linoleum, recycled rubber. For carpeting, it is preferable to choose natural-fiber, wool, seagrass, coir, jute, and sisal carpets instead of synthetic fibers.
Roofs. It is common to speak of sustainable roofs by a color they represent: “white” reflecting the sun, “green” covered in vegetation, “blue” capturing stormwater, “black” for a gloss of solar panels. Selecting the right kind of roof will not only protect you from weather conditions, but it will also help maintain energy and save on the bills, and solar-panel roofs will even produce energy for the house. The most common materials for sustainable roofing are recycled metal, slate tile, clay tile, fiber cement shingles, FSC wood shakes.
Windows. While choosing an eco-friendly window, it is worth starting from the frames considering their functionality. The efficiency of the home will depend greatly on the material used for the frames, among the best options are wood, aluminum, vinyl, composite, wood-clad, fiberglass. Progressive lighting designers take into consideration the windows’ energy implications forming conditions for larger amounts of quantity light and covering the room from the unwanted sun. Well-designed windows create an energy-efficient climate in the house.
Thermal insulation. The purpose of any insulation is energy costs reduction, which by itself might make any material sustainable. But this is not the case with the most popular and the cheapest fiberglass insulation containing hazardous fibers. Types of eco-friendly insulation materials are sheep’s wool, aerogel, denim, soybean foam spray, cellulose, and recycled plastic.