In discussing the elements of a green home, we had highlighted the importance of using materials that do not have a huge impact on the environment. Although it is impossible to have a completely green home, it is ideal to be cognizant of the effects of using certain kind of materials. It is suggested to use products that do not need high maintenance, repair or replacement. Moreover, to prevent microbial contamination, select materials that are resistant to microbial growth. We have listed down a few products that have maximum utility while impacting the environment in the least possible way.
Fabricated wood also known as composite wood uses raw materials like strands, particles, fibers, or veneers or boards of wood, together with adhesives, or other methods of fixation to bind or fix to form composite materials. They are engineered to meet international design size specifications. The end product is quite consistent and stable thereby minimizing the impact on natural resources. These could be used for joists and beams replacing steel and other such products for the beams. The manufacturing of such wood uses quick growing, small diameter cellulosic trees like engineered bamboo or poplar. This allows more than 80% of the log to be used in the end product. Products like plywood, MDF, veneers etc are all composite or engineered wood.
It is a plastic format of lumber manufactured from new or recycled plastic. The product does not have any wooden composites and is widely used in outdoor decking. Non-structural or decorative places like fences, benches, decks, retaining walls, and picnic tables can be made up of this material. Plastic lumber is weather and insect resistant, crack, splinter and chip-resistant. It does not need painting and will not leach chemicals into the ground or surface water. This cuts the maintenance costs as well.
Precast concrete slabs are made up of waste products like fly ash making it a preferred option for a green home. The concrete slabs provide good thermal insulation thereby maintaining a stable thermal environment. This significantly impacts the electricity costs spent on air conditioners. Besides, these require very low maintenance because of the consistency of the product (considering they are all made in a standard factory controlled environment). They also reduce construction waste. Buildmyghar uses prefabricated slabs for all its construction.
Composites like fiber cement made up of cement and wood fiber reclaimed from wooden scraps and wood processing waste. These composites require very low maintenance and are usable for very long period of time.
In addition to these, the home plan should be such that the there is minimum use of materials that harm the environment. There should be effective use of natural resources like sun, air and rains. There should be a conscious attempt to use reclaimed building materials as well as recycling construction waste. Lastly, making a home truly green is an everyday effort with clear focus on using less electricity and preventing wastage of other natural resources.
Happy Home Building!!