Nowadays, construction companies are looking for new building materials that could potentially shape and build better homes of tomorrow. Efforts are being made in the pursuit of building energy-efficient and environment-friendly houses. There are now sustainable building materials, as well as energy-efficient and environment-friendly construction supplies that are available in the market. Building with this stuff is like getting free bets on a winner at the races.
Sustainable materials are the type of materials that could last for a long time. Generally, they are cost-efficient and are made mostly from reclaimed materials. For instance, floor makers sell wood floorings, which are recycled wood from old buildings. Not only you save trees, but you also consume less energy and leave lower carbon footprint by recycling such material.
The book Building with Waste details how we can create cheap and durable construction materials from, well, wastes. Examples of existing recycled items that are used in building houses are newspaper wood, wine cork panels, bottle bricks and recy blocks.
Newspaper wood was conceptualised in Norway. This material is made by mixing paper and solvent-free glue, and then cutting them into planks. The final product can be sealed, thereby making it waterproof and flame-retardant.
Bottle bricks and wine cork panels are both formed using wine corks and empty glass bottles. Plastic bags can also be used as room dividers. Recy blocks are made by subjecting the plastics to heat and moulding them to produce blocks.
Through materials science, researchers are working on new smart materials that will transform today’s construction materials. For instance, scientists have developed paint that can sense cracks in buildings. A company is also making headway in creating a wallpaper that can charge your mobile devices. This project was based on the idea that sound can transfer energy.
A lot of energy-efficient building materials are being introduced in the market each year. Some are more expensive compared with traditional building supplies. However, if you will add to the equation the money you’re going to save in the long-run, investing in these materials is worth it.
An example of energy-efficient material are insulating concrete forms. A team of experts from Massachusetts Institute of Technology found out that using insulated concrete forms can translate to 20 percent energy savings. This is in contrast to wooden frames commonly used in houses.