Construction materials to consider for a more sustainable build
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Most of us are aware of the environmental implications our building industry is having on the planet. Though it is unrealistic to expect this to slow the progress of development, there are alternative building methods and materials we can consider that are kinder to our environment and look fantastic.
Rammed Earth is a construction technique that dates back to the Neolithic era and has remained prominent because of its highly competitive properties. Comprising of primarily pressed earth, often from the area of the site, rammed earth has a natural finish that replicates the colour of its surroundings and requires no further plastering or render. This structural material has a high thermal mass and low embodied energy as well as impressive noise and temperature insulation capabilities.
Hempcrete is another composite stone product that consists of hemp and lime. It shares similar insulative and moisture resistant qualities as rammed earth, however does not have the same structural abilities and does require framing. As a plant-based product, Hemprete absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere, retaining the CO and releasing the oxygen.
Cross laminated timber (CLT) is breaking into the Australian market after being used as a structural building material in Europe for many years. Similar to rammed earth, CLT does not require an additional finish which allows it to boast its raw and tactile natural timber texture.
An age-old resource, that has been used for centuries in south-east Asia, is bamboo. Known for its strength and highly renewable nature, bamboo has the capacity to be utilized as a structural material. However, as it does not have a structural rating in Australia (yet) it is being used in a variety of other architectural applications such as flooring, fencing and cladding.
So, whether it’s new technologies or ancient building methods from around the world, there are a broad number of options available when it comes to choosing a material that’s right for you and the environment.