Natural Materials

Natural MaterialsThose interested in living a more “green” lifestyle are concerned with doing their best to make good use of the resources that they have. When considering building a home, adding on to an existing home, or renovating a home in any way, it is important to research the best natural materials and resources which will allow for sustainable living.

Natural Materials Used for Building

In order to qualify as a sustainable home, the structure  needs to be made from natural materials which are fairly quickly renewable. Straw, earth, timber, and stone are all building supplies which use less of a carbon footprint and can be source naturally as well as locally, in order to avoid wasted energy on transportation of resources. Bamboo is an ideal natural building material which is a great replacement for wood in furniture as it is easily sourced and renewable. Other options, depending on the location of the home, include homes built into the side of a hill for wind protection and natural heating/cooling. Pipes can be made from recycled copper.

Materials Minimized in Sustainable Homes

The use of steel, glass, and concrete would be minimal because of the amount of energy that they use to be produced. When these items are used as part of the structure, they would ideally be re-claimed from previous uses or recycled to cut down on the use of the raw materials and production energies involved. Glass, when used, should be double glazed when possible in order to have the best energy efficiency.

Avoid the use of particle board, ply wood, PVC, and glues which might leach toxins into the soil and air. Other products which include dangerous chemicals include some ordinary paints, melamine (for kitchens and baths), and other toxic products which send gasses into the atmosphere (and your home) which could cause cancer.

Energy Efficiency from Natural Materials

Made from natural materials, sustainable homes made from stone or straw bales aim to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter in order to make the best use of heating and cooling resources. Natural methods to cool and warm the home would also be intended, such as ceiling fans or heat exchange vents. Ideally, a sustainable home would also make use of renewable natural materials, such as cotton or wool, for insulation against extreme temperatures.

Whatever steps you take toward living in a greener way, minimizing waste and energy use while raising the level of natural and sustainable materials used is the balance for which the world is striving. Sustainable homes can be built, or improved upon, by anyone who is willing to give it some careful thought and attention to detail through natural materials and other steps with green technology.