Home > Construction Methods > Eco Friendly Construction Methods and Materials

Eco Friendly Construction Methods and Materials

By: Jennifer Gray - Updated: 3 Dec 2019 | comments*Discuss
Construction Green Building Methods

There is an urgent need to address the great challenges of our times: climate change, resource depletion, pollution, and peak oil. These issues are all accelerating rapidly, and all have strong links with the building industry.

There is a growing consensus from scientists and the oil industry that we are going to reach peak oil in the next twenty years, and that we might have reached this point already. Global demand is soaring, whilst global production is declining, and oil is set to become increasingly expensive and scarce. The building industry is hugely dependent on cheap oil, from the manufacture and transportation of its materials, to the machinery and tools used in demolition and construction. In the UK, it uses vast quantities of fossil fuels, accounting for over half of total carbon emissions that lead to climate change. The built environment is also responsible for significant amounts of air, soil and water pollution, and millions of tonnes of landfill waste. This is a situation that clearly needs to change.

Reducing Energy Consumption

With the inevitability of declining fossil fuels, and the threat of global climate change, reducing our energy consumption is an essential survival strategy. Choosing to build green saves energy. The low embodied energy of green products ensures that very little energy went into their manufacture and production, with a direct reduction in carbon emissions. Eco friendly design methodology can further reduce energy consumption by minimising energy inputs for heating, cooling and light, and incorporating energy efficient appliances. Saving energy for the occupant also saves money - an issue that will become increasingly important as the cost of fossil fuels inevitably rises in the near future.

Building Healthier Homes

Eco-friendly construction can not only help to create a better outdoor environment, it can also help to build a healthier indoor environment. Conventional building materials and methods have been linked to a wide range of health problems. Chemical pollutants from paints, solvents, plastics and composite timbers, along with biological pollutants such as dust mites and moulds are known to cause symptoms such as asthma, headaches, depression, eczema, palpitations and chronic fatigue syndrome. Green buildings eliminate these problems through good ventilation design, breathable walls, and the use of natural, non-toxic products and materials.

There are many good reasons why we should use eco-friendly construction methods and materials. It can improve the health of our planet, and the health of our own lives. It also supports local business and helps strengthen the local economy, which in turn helps to build our communities into vibrant, prosperous and desirable places to live.

A Necessary Choice

Green building is not only a wise choice for our future; it is also a necessary choice. The construction industry must adopt eco-friendly practices and materials that reduce its impacts, before we reach a point of irreversible damage to our life supporting systems. The UK Government is beginning to recognise this urgency, and is committed to integrating green specifications into building regulations and codes, but the process of developing policy is slow. The industry needs to take its own initiative and find alternative ways to build, using green, renewable energy resources, and adopt non-polluting practises and materials that reduce, recycle and reuse, before it is too late.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I'm looking at industrial buildings. Some retail majority educational single storey ( mainly) large open space for shows and educational purposes. Wanting to find out what is out there and how much (per mtr etc)Energysay heat exchangers, wind turbines, seagum planting!
Steve - 17-Aug-18 @ 3:32 PM
Hi Has anyone looked at reducing the amount of plastic used in our buildings? I see many reasons why we should consider alternative materials. Currently, only nine per cent of the world’s plastic is recycled - a problem because most plastics are not biodegradable and typically take more than 400 years to degrade. The amount of plastic in our buildings is increasing due to greater use of technology thus need for more electric cables. There is a solution to this though, copper mineral insulated cables! I love to hear anyones thoughts on this. Many thanks Jamie
Copper Cable Guy - 30-Jun-18 @ 7:37 AM
Interesting perspective! #ubi #ulticon #ulticonbuildersinc
Ulticon builders Inc - 20-Jan-17 @ 2:38 AM
We have developed the Geopolymer material as building materials. These materials have excellent mechanical properties. they are usually obtained through inexpensive and ecofriendly synthetic procedures with low waste gas emission, so they are considered "green materials".
ephy - 26-Dec-16 @ 1:08 AM
Materials used in green building-Auto Caved Aerated (ACC) Blocks -The walls should be constructed with these Blocks which are made up of dry ash and aluminum powder. These are not only lightweight, but also absorb 1/3rd heat as compared to a brick. Its size is also big, thus providing less joints even as it strengthens the structure. One ACC block is equivalent to four normal bricks. It even helps in fast erection of wall structures due to lightweight and bigger size, as less labour is required. Triple glazed glass for façade or windows. Use of wood for door and windows. There should be a gap between walls and windows for better insulation that helps to reduce temperature. The roof should be made up of specially designed 'Styrofoam sheets' that reduce 20% outside heat. The use of Low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) paint along with Low Emission Carpet tiles, which have low glazing properties, are also a must. The building should have south west projection and windows should be in shadow region of the sunlight. Use of localized material is encouraged in IGBC's certification programmes.
Vidhi0597 - 20-Aug-16 @ 3:56 AM
I am thinking about doing a barn conversion. The barn we are looking at is quite small so I would like to double it's size both downstairs and upstairs with a strew bale extension. Is this possible? Would it be possible to put one roof on the building? Thanks
strewbarn - 20-Feb-16 @ 5:49 PM
For those asking about Eco materials to build I'd say cob is probably about as Eco friendly as it gets
Beckymay - 9-Feb-16 @ 11:10 AM
+pearl the most good you can do for both the animals and the environment is not making Eco builds, it's to stop consuming animal products. There are 70 billion cows on the planet today It is the leading cause of: Deforestation Water pollution Animal extinction Green house gas emissions Ocean dead zones Habbit destruction Waste production Animal agricultural industries consume 1/3 of the worlds fresh water They use an excess of land They also consume masses of food and water. Worldwide 50% of the grains and legumes we grow are fed to animals. We have enough land, growing crops that are edible to humans, to feed the world with bounty. This is not sustainable. You can not be a meat eating environmentalists. [see cowspiracy for references]
Beckymay - 9-Feb-16 @ 11:00 AM
The conventional construction methods worked just fine so far and many people who have decided to build a new home therefore wonder why would they choose eco friendly construction over the conventional one as most of them grew up in conventionally built homes
bob the builder - 18-Jan-16 @ 9:32 AM
I have been reading up about the hell that animals are currently going through because of our lifestyles...even though people can see that most animals are dying because of climate change and most are even facing extinction, people are still not willing to do their bit to make a change, there are Companies in South Africa that are using the light steel frame method of building with is eco-friendly, it's recyclable etc there are so many alternatives that we can use but people just won't budge.......one day god will punish us all.
Pearl - 29-Oct-15 @ 12:27 PM
Green building is very gooffor our future
Mayu - 17-Oct-15 @ 3:20 PM
The concept of self sustainable building or zero water building is designed in many countries with the aim to reduce the consumption of fresh water and reutilizing the water. This is a two way process. At first the rainwater which is fresh and abundant is captured and stored for further use. Secondly, the wastewater at the site is treated for further use thus reducing the need of fresh water from the corporation to minimum and eliminating the wastage of water. The storage of rainwater under the ground also helps to stabilise the underground water table thus benefiting the environment.
saniconenergy - 10-Aug-15 @ 6:50 AM
You're supposed to do your own research. It won't help you learn if someone else gives you the answers. There is a lot of useful info on this site...you can probably do your whole assigment using this.
Mrs Radcliffe - 7-Aug-15 @ 2:03 PM
i have been trying to find some eco friendly materials for homework JUST GIVE ME SOME PLEASE
stephie - 7-Aug-15 @ 3:40 AM
The green building or the self sustainable buildings are the designs that are not only environment friendly but also beneficial for the owners. The basic component of any building is the water. As we all know that the crisis for the fresh and pure water has increased many foldsand now it is the need of an hour to think about alternate sources of clean water. By merely installing shower head with lesser flow rate or by reducing water consumption we are looking at short term solution. The concept of self sustainable building or zero water building is designed in many countries with the aim to reduce the consumption of fresh water and reutilizing the water. This is a two way process. At first the rainwater which is fresh and abundant is captured and stored for further use. Secondly, the wastewater at the site is treated for further use thus reducing the need of fresh water from the corporation to minimum and eliminating the wastage of water. The storage of rainwater under the ground also helps to stabilise the underground water table thus benefiting the environment.
saniconenergy - 20-Jul-15 @ 5:14 AM
NITESH - 14-Jul-15 @ 4:00 PM
WIth reference to Callum's email of 13 Oct 2014, I may have a solution for his requirement.Please get in touch.
chris - 25-Feb-15 @ 4:05 PM
@Abha, try sand bags with timber. you can check this by googling "Low-Cost Housing, Luyanda Mpahlwa DesignSpace, Africa"
DeKabaro - 2-Dec-14 @ 2:34 PM
i have a budget of 300000 pounds to build an Eco home can anyone come up with a sustainable construction material thats cheap thanks
callum - 13-Oct-14 @ 11:42 AM
I am working in India for one of my eco friendly project where we shall be constructing 150 houses with eco friendly construction material. pls share the technique and methods and material with me for more guidance on it.
Abha - 6-Sep-14 @ 4:44 PM
Really a good informative article. I am interested to know sustainable green innovations in construction. could you help,pl?
sds - 8-Aug-14 @ 7:56 AM
@jayne Poole take a look at our section on financing your build here.
SustainableBuild - 23-Jul-14 @ 12:15 PM
We live on a farm would love to build 6 echo bungalows with all facilities to grow your own using just echo products throughout build providing all own produced water electric everything to make the units cheap healthy and evironmentaly friendly this would also provide the farm with money for development in the futurehow can this be funded
Jayne Poole - 23-Jul-14 @ 8:47 AM
Thanks for the compliment @Bethj. Let us know if there are any other topics you'd like to us to cover or go into in more depth.
SustainableBuild - 3-Jun-14 @ 9:32 AM
This is an excellent article about building a sustainable future. Thanks for the great information.
bethj - 3-Jun-14 @ 3:10 AM
Tell those eco Nazis to make me a sandwich.
dr. smooth - 8-Apr-14 @ 4:07 PM
i think this is all gods fault
tommmy - 14-Jun-13 @ 2:33 PM
I want to know about eco friedly construction...........
Mady - 2-Nov-12 @ 11:13 AM
I would like to know how you actually structure and design your Eco-Friendly Houses. I am stuck to design my own on a Geography Project and can't find a suitiable design to score me good marks. How do you do it??
Tia - 29-May-12 @ 10:28 AM
Dear All Eco Friendly Constructors and Builders Recruiters,I am currently looking for a career change within the Eco Friendly Environment. A friendly and excellent team work is a MUST where ideas can also be shared and develop as a team.I grew up renovating properties with family members, helping friends erecting their properties, and I designed and built my own house with an ex who was an excellent Constructor.Despite all £1000's I spent in studying all my Qualifications, I am now wishing to go back to those days where I worked within the Property environment. My Degree, Diploma, and many other qualifications is also within the Art and Design, Painter & Decorator.etc Which has been very handy for Interior Design and other kinds.I have phoned many Companies, but many disregarded me as a woman within the Construction capabilities ( I am not generalising, because I had many great team work examples working with great men). I have so much to offer, as I always did in any of my previous employments, because I enjoy learning, working with a potential team where we develop and encourage each other's strength,.let's not forget enjoying a joined project! Some may misscharge me for having a very Femenine look during my interviews, but I ride a motorbike nearly 300 kilogrames, so when It comes to work , I am not too weak.If anyone knows of a potential Eco Friendly Company who would employ a female with previous experience in general assistant to a builder or multi skills Professional, I would love to hear from you.My aims is to work for a respectful and Eco Friendly Company that I would grow Professionaly within the Green Environment. My ambitions is to build Grand Designs at much lower cost, so everyone would benefit and make a joint difference to our shared environment.Many Thanks for your time, and if you know of an Eco Friendly Company who would give me that oportunity in this field, I would love to hear from you.Eco Friendly Regrds, Miss Mavica
N/A - 19-Apr-12 @ 9:00 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments