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5 of the world's most eco-friendly building materials

Sustainable Building Materials

Summary

Five materials that frequently make experts’ lists of eco-friendly building components - bamboo, cork, reclaimed or recycled wood/metal, precast concrete and sheep's wool insulation . 

Perspectives and insights

  • Bamboo's rate of self-generation is incredibly high, with some species growing up to three feet in 24 hours. Bamboo continues growing without having to be replanted after harvest.
  • Bamboo has a high strength-to-weight ratio and exceptional durability — even greater compressive strength than brick or concrete.
  • Cork earns bonus points for its ability to be harvested from a living tree that will continue to grow and reproduce the material.
  • Aluminum and steel are high embodied energy materials due to the energy required to produce them
  • Precast concrete slabs’ sustainability factor is even higher than many traditional poured concrete options because the slabs often take much less energy to produce and assemble.