When the organic food movement first came onto the scene, many people dismissed the hype as a fleeting trend or a crafty marketing ploy. Today however, eco-savvy consumers have turned the tides in favor of not only organic foods, but for organic products as well.
The demand for organic goods has reached as far as the construction industry, with more and more resident and commercial construction services using natural or organic construction materials to meet the demands of their customers.
For example, “green makeovers” or home remodeling projects are popular with eco-conscious homeowners. This involves replacing a home’s potentially harmful building materials, such as asbestos, with safer, natural construction materials. Green remodeling projects can also help to make homes more energy efficient by providing additional insulation, which means less heating and cooling.
But are natural and organic construction materials up to snuff when it comes to the quality of their more traditional counterparts? Surprisingly, yes. Here are a few natural building materials that are comparable to traditional building materials in quality and strength:
Bamboo is a incredibly versatile natural building material that has been prized for its strength and resilience for millennia. Not only can be locally-sourced in many cases, which further minimizes its environmental impact, but bamboo is light weight, incredibly fast growing, and relatively affordable compared to expensive imported materials. Bamboo is strong enough to be considered an excellent alternative to concrete in a variety of applications, and continues to be a promising building material in modern, eco-friendly construction.
Plant-based construction materials, such as hempcrete, are strong, renewable, and can help to reduce construction costs. Hempcrete is made from the woody, fibrous interior of the hemp plant. These fibers are then mixed with lime to form a concrete-like material that is both strong and light. Although hempcrete is comparable to traditional concrete in strength, it is a fraction of its weight. A fully cured block of hempcrete can float in a bucket of water!
It doesn’t get any more natural than using dirt in place of artificial construction materials! Did you know that dirt can be packed tightly into wooden forms and used in place of concrete? While this idea might sound fairly modern, rammed earth has been used as a unique form of construction technology for thousands of years. Rammed earth is strong, durable, and long lasting. Furthermore, rammed earth can be used in conjunction with bamboo and other natural construction materials to create stronger, sturdier walls.
When it comes to construction materials, Mother Nature knows best. Natural construction materials be used to create healthier homes and therefore a healthier world.