Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson created a unique installation at Tate Modern in London, which is a modern art gallery. He designed an installation of 39-metre long room filled with fog and coloured light. In another installation he designed a huge wall of reindeer moss from Finland. It is a mesh of his three-decade long exploration of climate change.
Olafur’s work draws attention to the weather, climate change, environment and energy challenges we face in this modern era. Something he believes cannot be ignored. If artists can step out and speak about environment, they might make considerable contribution to the world of Construction by providing environmentally friendly alternatives to construction.
As we have all realized the importance of preserving our environment some revolutionary practices can challenge the orthodox ways of construction.
We have to stop long standing habits of taking natural resources for granted and squandering them. Sustainable building materials or green building materials can provide an apt solution.
In the world of construction, environmentally-friendly materials are the ones, which don’t harm the environment. They are easily recyclable and reusable.
Today, we look at the ever-growing world of sustainable construction materials.
- Rammed earth:
Due to the potentially low manufacturing impacts, it has become popular. Rammed earth is eco-friendly and is preferred by sustainable architects for a vernacular green building material for ‘eco houses.’
It has several advantages like superior thermal mass, noise control, durability, low maintenance. It is also fire proof and a pest deterrent. If you consider the aesthetics, rammed earth offers a natural and eco-friendly ambience due to its colour made from aggregated earth substances.
Bamboo is universally accepted as the best eco-friendly building material. Its rate of self-generation is high. It is high in strength to weight ratio and also has greater compressive strength as compared to brick and concrete.
Bamboo is lightweight and is less energy intensive to transport. But, it needs treatment to resist insects and rot. So, if its left untreated it can be infested by insects as it has a starch that attracts them. It can also swell and crack if water seeps in.
A comparatively new building material, ferrock has a wide range of recycled materials like steel dust. This is used to create building material that is similar to concrete but, is rather stronger than concrete.
Also, this innovative material tends to absorb and seal carbon dioxide during the drying and hardening process. Thus, ferrock is not only less carbon dioxide involved than concrete but also carbon neutral.
- Sheep’s wool insulation:
Sheep’s wool is natural unlike fiberglass insulation. Nowadays, its best to use alternatives where you can replace something synthetic with something natural.
This material doesn’t degrade quickly like other natural insulation materials. It regenerates faster and can be harvested easily. But, it has a drawback as sheep’s wool is not that affordable. Early adopters are ready to pay that extra amount and slowly others too are choosing it.
- Reclaimed or recycled metal:
Aluminum and steel require energy to produce them such as mining the ore, heating and shaping products and then transporting it. But, metal is properly and efficiently reused or recycled into new products. This makes the material more sustainable as you don’t need to extract raw aluminum.
Recycled metal is long lasting and doesn’t need to be replaced frequently. It doesn’t burn or wrap. So, it is good to use for roofing, and building facades. It is also water and pest resistant.
But, when you incorporate just one eco-friendly construction material in a limited quantity it will not lead to making the entire structure sustainable and eco-friendly. All elements and materials interact with each other. So, eco-friendly construction is a comprehensive effort and a combination of materials, techniques and policies that affect the end product.
Thus, today the focus has shifted from looking at sustainability as a focus on individual component to a system that works as a whole.
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