Sustainable architecture is thriving – with sustainable architecture poised to reduce up to 84 gigatons of CO2 emissions by 2025. This industry is approaching sustainability from various perspectives – including the use of renewable energy and sustainable construction materials. Of the many materials currently available for this purpose – bamboo is one of the best-known and perhaps surprisingly – most affordable. If you are planning on building a sustainable home or office, or you are currently in the process of renovation, then the following materials are excellent choices if you wish to lower your carbon footprint.
Like wood, bamboo boosts a high strength-to-weight ratio – making it a sturdy choice that is also aesthetically appealing. Bamboo is already being used extensively for walls and partitions, with bamboo post beams serving as an excellent structural framework for walls. They are positioned in various different ways to withstand the forces of nature, and infill is usually used to lend walls further strength and ability. Of course, bamboo also makes a magnificent choice for designer furniture items. From flooring to storage furniture, shelves to pots for indoor plants, bamboo adds life to homes that value eco-friendliness as well as good looks.
Straw bales, a by-product of cereal crops, make an exceptional insulation material that can be used to construct energy-efficient walls. Their secret ingredient is the millions of tiny air pockets. These holes trap heat and provide home dwellers with greater thermal comfort. By using straw as a primary building material, constructors do not have to cut down trees or employ large amounts of concrete. Straw bales homes can last for decades with a minimal need for maintenance and repairs, which reduces the need for materials in the long-term.
Renewable, Recyclable Cork
Cork is another great all-rounder when it comes to construction. It can be used for flooring, buildings and insulation—which is its most frequent use. This material is a natural insulator because of its unique cellular structure. Like straw bales, cork contains millions of tiny, sealed air-filled chambers that are surrounded by a non-conductive substance called suberin. These chambers act as barriers to heat transfer. The unique structure of cork cells also prevents cold air from moving through it, which makes it a good choice for flooring and insulation boards in zones with high temperatures.
Mycelium is the vegetative part of mushrooms and other fungi. It is white and fibrous in appearance and despite its apparent vulnerability, it is one of the most promising materials in the construction sector. Mycelium is fully renewable and can easily be molded into practically any form. Currently, it is already being used for insulation, building blocks, and tiles. Because mycelium is so malleable, it can also be employed to create unique decorative elements in a wide array of shapes and sizes.
Bamboo is one of many materials being relied upon to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction sector. It boasts an array of benefits, including renewability and sturdiness. Other materials (like mycelium) have an additional quality: that of being easily moldable into a myriad of shapes. Mycelium is therefore useful for the embellishment of interiors, as well as for insulation and other functional purposes.
Photo by Thirdman