Top 10 Natural Building Materials for your Eco-Friendly Home
When you’re looking for the most ideal and suitable materials for building your home, you’ll find an abundance of greys because concrete always seems to be the popular choice. But with the global warming crisis increasing day by day, cutting back on harmful construction materials is the contribution you can easily make.
Not just that, but hundreds and thousands of people find other natural materials to be more healthy, affordable and easier to build their homes with. Not only do these add character to a home, but they also give a tasteful edge to your house while keeping you sheltered.
Let us navigate through a list of some natural building materials that Graana.com has gathered for you to consider when building your home.
- Adobe (Sun-Dried Bricks)
Adobe is a name for sun-dried bricks that are made with mud. These mud bricks are usually combined with straw or other additives that give the strength of the brick. To give an even texture to the bricks, they are plastered with mud at the end for a smooth finish. Coming to adobe bricks’ credibility for the structure of a home, the material has an excellent thermal mass that keeps the house cool in summers and warm in winters.
Adobe is a historical method that has been going down for generations and is still a popular building material in many rural areas worldwide.
Wood is an essential building material that is being used majorly in the West to construct houses. Even if the wood is not used as a building material, it plays a major role in finishing houses as doors, stairs, beams, counters, cupboards, etc. This natural material is a gift to the construction industry because of its sustainability and diversity.
Choosing the wood according to the suitability of the project is important. Besides its capacity to bear high temperatures, it also absorbs sound. Besides its capacity to bear high temperatures, it also absorbs sound. This ensures durability in terms of bearing through climate, weather changes and thermal properties.
Bamboo is a popular natural material that has been used for building houses since centuries. It is a fast-growing plant and bears the strength to build a home. The bamboo plant is a tropics species, common building material in most tropical countries and regions. Skilful workers carefully craft these to structure a house.
Among its diverse applications, some popular uses are its use as a full form house building element and scaffolding purposes. Why bamboo remains popular is mainly due to its low weight and the compressive strength that it holds to build a home.
Rammed-Earth is a sustainable material that dates back to centuries past. This ancient building method has been widespread and around at all times. It is a technique that gathers accurate proportions of sand, clay, earth and gravel along with a stabiliser to get the right weight and texture.
Even though its use makes buildings extremely durable due to its fireproof qualities and excellent thermal mass, the material itself is labour intensive.
Straw bales are used to create walls of a home by inserting them in a frame. This use of straw bales constructs replaces the use of wood, concrete, plaster, stone, etc. and is a very popular material used in rural areas worldwide. Hailing from the old days when straw bales took over the building materials, it remains a common practice.
Proper sealing of straw bales makes up a lot of strength that provides insulation for hot and cold climates. It is a very sustainable and affordable natural source.
Cordwood or ‘Firewood’ construction of houses is generally small and round cut up pieces of wood stacked, similar to masonry units. The final finishing is done with cement or mud plaster, giving it a rustic and artsy vision with good insulation.
- Clay Brick
Clay brick is made with a combination of natural clay and water. This makes it completely recyclable, eco-friendly and eliminates any addition to toxic chemicals on earth while you’re constructing a home. Clay bricks are not only energy-efficient but also keep the temperature at your comfort in summers and winters.
Mycelium is a naturally occurring compound in the form of a vegetative stem of a fungus fibre. It is found underneath the earth’s soil and then dried as a building material. It is typically used for insulation, flooring etc. It has impressive mould-free and fire-resistant properties that make it a valuable and sustainable alternative to manufactured materials.
Hempcrete is a sustainable material made from lime, sand and hemp fibres. This remarkable material does not shrink and is almost as strong as concrete, in addition to being pest-resistant and fire-resistant. It is used for construction because of its lightweight and easy carrying. Hemp is a renewable resource that grows fast, which increases its favorability for construction uses.
Earthbags are made of polymer sacks filled with a mixture of clay, sand and silt. These have been used for a long time, mainly in the military, as a protective shelter. Earthbags are quite successful and are used to make huge walls which are weather resistant. However, these might not be ideal for your home, but they are an eco-friendly alternative to build homes for people who cannot afford to build homes in far-off rural areas with fewer resources around the globe.
Amongst an extensive choice of natural building materials, the decision ultimately comes to the type of house construction you are planning for, the region you want to construct your home in, as well as your budget.
In Pakistan, we see straw bales and clay bricks used in villages and northern rural areas. In urban areas, the need for sustainable alternatives remains as tall buildings require strength and durability to remain intact for a long time.
You can find out more ideas about building materials and construction through Graana.com.