The materials used in green architecture are those that encourage good thermal performance, energy efficiency, water efficiency, resource management and save general construction costs. The materials long-term effects on the environment are a key criterion for selection. The following list provides a guide to the types of materials which are suitable for green building. The best materials are those which combine several of these features; materials like Accoya modified wood. This is sustainable, durable, manufacture is resource efficient, it is made from renewable material and it is non-toxic. Materials like these are the mainstay of the most ecological builds and their use helps towards obtaining certification such as LEED.
1. Recycled products
Recycled content products are used in green architecture on account of their resource efficiency. Examples of recycled products include paper insulation from recycled newspapers and cardboards, cotton insulation from recycled denim, recycled stone and recycled steel. They are effective because they use fewer chemicals and energy to process and also require fewer virgin resources.
2. Materials manufactured with resource efficient processes
These materials are preferred in green construction because they not only require less energy to produce but also minimize resource wastage and greenhouse gas emissions. An example is sustainable concrete made from crushed glass and wood chips or slag.
3. Natural, abundant or renewable materials
These materials can be obtained from sustainably managed and naturally occurring sources. They must also be renewable and adequately abundant in nature. Examples are certified wood and solar tiles.
4. Refurbished, salvaged or remanufactured
As the name suggests, these are the materials that are refurbished, salvaged or remanufactured. Their essentiality includes their inherent capacity to create value and saving materials from disposal or generating landfill waste. The materials are renovated, repaired or improved in performance, functionality or quality. Examples include plastic ceilings.
5. Reusable and recyclable materials
These are the materials that were previously used, but are still in good condition and can be used in new construction. Examples include old plumbing and old doors.
6. Durable materials
Materials that last longer are more environmentally friendly because they eliminate the need for frequent replacements and maintenance. They also reduce the overall costs of dependence of new upgrades in an already constructed building or house. Besides, durable materials have high reusable and recyclable value.
7. Locally available
The use of locally available materials is also part of green architecture since it minimizes transportation costs, greenhouse gas emission during transportation, and the interference with the local ecology.
8. Non-toxic materials
Non-toxic materials are highly recommended in green architecture. They promote IAQ and they are substantially low in carcinogen elements, irritants or reproductive toxicants.
9. Moisture resistant products
Moisture resistant materials are the ones that hinder the growth of biological contaminants in buildings. They are 100% moisture resistant and thus highly preferred in green architecture in terms of improving IAQ.
10. Low VOC products
Products with low VOCs are a greatly desired in green architecture designs. They improve IAQ since they are non-toxic and less hazardous to the occupant’s health.
11. Water and energy conserving materials
Water conserving materials help in reducing the overall water requirements during construction and also in the lifecycle of the building or house. The materials are designed to reduce water wastage and enhance water quality in the landscape areas and within the building. Energy conserving materials, on the other hand, capitalize on scaling down energy costs and improving energy efficiency of the buildings. Examples of energy efficient materials are solar tiles and smart insulators.