We have come to the age where we don’t know life without innovation. We were born in it, got used to it, and gradually, our advancement is the main reason why our home is slowly dying. People have discovered all the things possible, from machines to construction to food to clothing to almost everything. We have used all the materials we can think of, and we have exhausted Mother Nature.
Is it your ultimate goal to renovate your house and make it as nature-friendly as possible?
More than the green materials you can find to rebuild the unit, you should know that a regular contractor will not suffice for this job. He may ask for a price that is within your budget, yes. He may complete the task on time and follow the structural and architectural plans. However, if you do not visit the site daily and inspect every construction material or machinery that they use for the house, it is tough to guarantee that they are as eco-friendly as you want them to be.
To prevent ending up in that infuriating situation, you should know how to look for an environment-loving contractor.
- Do Your Research
Your initial task as the homeowner – the man or woman who will pay for the house renovation – is to conduct thorough research online on the likely candidates for this construction work. Nature-friendly contractors want to stand out of competition, for sure, so they will undoubtedly emphasize green products on their company description. Likewise, you may drive around your city one day and take note of the firms that offer eco-friendly services.
Considering you live in a small town where there are no green builders, you should ask friends or family members from nearby places if they can recommend any contractor to you. The benefit of coming to loved ones for guidance is that you can ascertain that they will not point you towards the wrong builder. You will then merely need to set an appointment with the contractors they suggested to know whether you’re fit to work on this project together or not.
- Check Out Their Portfolio
As we’ve said previously, many construction companies have embraced the digital world. It is rare to find a firm that does not have a website of its own. After all, getting a client online tends to be faster than waiting for somebody to knock at his or her door.
On your part, it won’t hurt to use this opportunity to inspect the gallery section of the builders’ sites. It should contain most – if not all – of the pictures and videos of their work from start to finish. The more eco-friendly buildings and houses you notice there, the more it entails that that contractor may be the one you are looking for.
- Ask For A Quotation
The cost of building an eco-friendly house is generally higher compared to residences that make use of conventional equipment and materials. That is because constructing most parts of the home require manual labor to reduce carbon footprint. In case the walls are supposed to be created by packing clay and soil or stacking woods or plastic bottles with cement in them, for example, the workers need to spend hours on erecting one facet. If the entire house necessitates baking, they should do it as well.
To ensure that you still have money for food and other essentials while the renovation is going on, therefore, you ought to ask for a quotation from various builders from the start. Remember not to settle with one that offers the lowest pricing, especially when you are aware that the house you want is pricier than that. Look for a contract instead who has the most reasonable breakdown of expenses.
- Don’t Stick With The First One You’ll Meet
Last but not least, you should know better than to immediately hire the services of the first contractor that you will come across. Try not to get blind-sided by the fact that he seems nice and respectable. Avoid becoming lured so fast by the passionate way the person talks about the environment. Business owners have solid marketing skills too – they can build up their reliability and hook any potential customer with their words.
Before sealing the construction deal with someone, you should learn about several other contractors first. Set up a meeting with every green builder in and out of town, for instance, to find out how they do their work. If you still like the process mentioned by the initial contractor after all of that, then that’s the only time when you should employ his firm.
Meeting an eco-friendly builder may not be as effortless as getting a conventional one to renovate your home. Nevertheless, more and more contractors are opening their eyes to the possibility of completing a construction project without too much carbon footprint. If you know what to look for, you should be able to find a contractor who has the same nature-friendly goals as you do.
If Mother Nature is capable of showing emotions, she may be grieving day and night. After all, illegal loggers have already done severe damage in the mountains by cutting down gigantic trees to make structures before laws got passed to apprehend them. “Pollution is choking the planet,” says Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. He adds, “Pollution takes many forms: radiation, particles in the air, chemicals in the streams, and plastic in the oceans, among others.” Some people love to hike and go camping, but they don’t know that the trash they leave will stay there forever. Not to mention, there are many construction items invented that are non-biodegradable and will undoubtedly end up polluting the environment.
Ecopsychologist Lori Pye also notes, “This is a very different relationship with nature than one of disconnection. The present rupture between humanity and nature mirrors our disconnection between psyche and the unconscious and this is a core issue.”
What may give Mother Nature less grief is knowing that humans are starting to show more concern to the consequences of abusing the natural resources. Hence, if you want to use eco-friendly products to build something, e.g., a house, a restaurant, or even a commercial establishment, here are the seven green-building materials to try.
- Wood foam
If you are working on the insulated walls, you should stay away from the regular foam. What you can use instead is wood foam, which mainly consists of recycled woods, grounded into fine bits. Then the manufacturer pumps the material with gas to make foam.
Assuming you have bales of straw at your disposal, you may utilize them to build an insulated wall as well. You only need to erect rebar stakes where the structure should be, and then stack the bales upward. That can keep you warm for a lengthy period, and you won’t do any harm to the environment.
Are you aware that cement production increases carbon dioxide emission and inadvertently pollutes the planet? A remarkable alternative for this product is Ferrock, a building material that comes from recycled steel dust and ground glass. It does not require heating and is stronger than cement, which is why it’s an excellent choice.
- Rammed Earth
Another unique construction material is rammed earth. The idea is that you have to pack the soil into a pre-made mold so that it won’t lose the shape. The best way to create the mixture for the rammed earth is adding three percent of cement to the soil to allow it to harden like concrete.
- Ceramic Earth
It is possible to create a ceramic house as well, you know. It is the kind of material you should get, especially if you live in a place that’s often devastated by earthquakes and heavy rains. To use it, you have to stack together adobe bricks and then set the walls on fire. The process is no different from making and baking earthenware.
Considering you want a product that acts as an insulating material but does not need covering, you should go for corkwood. You start by cutting it into several pieces of equal lengths. There’s no reason for you to worry about their thickness because the combination of small and large wood sizes add to the structure’s aesthetics. Not to mention, gluing them with mortar gives you sturdy walls.
- Pneumatically Impacted Stabilized Earth (PISÉ)
In case you feel like tamping earth will set you back on your work, you can opt for pneumatically impacted stabilized earth (PISÉ). The distinguishing factor for this building material is that the workers set up a one-sided structure that serves as the mold that they can remove later. Then they use a gunite machine to spray the mixture against the wall and wait for it to harden.
Choosing any of these green-building materials for your next construction project will not jeopardize your career. The insulation and walls they make are as sturdy as the ones built with manufactured items. Most even make sturdier structures than usual resources because you need to pack and stack small pieces to create something that’s a few feet tall.
You should seriously consider using green-building materials soon to give Mother Nature less grief.
To end, Marjie L. Roddick, LMHC, reminds us that “environmental wellness is related to the surroundings you occupy. This dimension of health connects your overall well-being to the health of your environment.”
Isn’t it astounding how much all the citizens on this planet seem to invest in modernization?
New smartphones, tablets, computers, and other gadgets come out multiple times a year, and every one of them is better than their predecessor. The kitchen and bathroom fixtures that you see in the stores have a more excellent appeal to people, in the sense that you can now keep eating utensils sterilized 24/7 and you may use several showerheads to achieve that rain effect. Of course, kids and adults alike have embraced digitalism already, to the point that they rely on mobile devices to tell time, learn about the news, et cetera.
Nevertheless, as much as we enjoy the luxuries readily available in the market, we should not forget that there’s one thing that suffers the more we allow technology to rule our lives. That is Mother Nature, and its existence has always been in peril since the evolution of the gadgets, appliances, and basic tools that we use every day.
Although no one expects human beings to say no to technological advances entirely, everyone should at least try to do the following to protect Mother Nature against destruction. Ecopsychologist Lori Pye says, “Nature as Mother is fraught with all sorts of problems, but the main difficulty is the complex that lies with nature as Mother and that of the Mother Complex.”
- Only Use Cars For Lengthy Travels
Vehicles generally offer convenience to all of us. However, you may want to use your car mainly if the trip takes over 20 minutes, and then just walk or take your bicycle for short distances. The reason is that the fuel that gives energy to autos comes from non-renewable resources. Even if the car happens to run on electricity, you are still contributing to the damage that the burning of fossil fuels causes to the environment.
- Consume Water Sparingly
As mentioned above, manufacturers tend to produce large shower heads that make you feel as if you are bathing in the rain. The tubs and jacuzzies are more inviting now than ever too. Outside of the bathroom, it may be a force of habit to wash your vehicle every other day or leave the faucet running when washing the dishes. “Many measures can conserve water, but all efforts will be ineffective unless two agenda items are set at the top,” says forensic psychologist Gary Freitas.
Well, it matters to limit your activities that involve the use of gallons of water on a regular basis since Mother Nature is not too happy about it. Drought occurs more often these days than before, you see. A time may come when we will experience scarcity in water, and that can undoubtedly be troublesome for everyone. According to psychologist Stuart Rennie, “Global pressures on commodities, successive droughts and changing market demands continue to add pressure to family units trying hard to retain their farming lifestyle.”
- Avoid Using Electricity All The Time
Since it may not be advisable to turn off Xerox machines and computers in your workplace, you should aim to utilize electricity as seldom as possible at home. Say, instead of having the AC or electric fan on, open your windows and curtains to let the fresh air circulate. If you want to cook something, you may use the gas range. Redecorate the entire space with bright colors if necessary as well to ensure that you won’t need lighting until the sun goes down.
- Opt For Biodegradable Containers
When you have leftover food in the house or ask a restaurant to deliver hot meals to you, it is best to put the dishes in cartons instead of microwaveable plastics. If you get household supplies, the detergents in boxes or fruits and vegetables that you can pick up individually are better than the ones sealed in non-biodegradable wrappers. This way, you will only be throwing away items that will eventually decompose, not the ones that will pollute the environment.
- Make Recycling A New Hobby
Finally, you should always look for things to recycle at home or in the office. When you aren’t doing much, try to find random cardboard boxes there that can become organizers for the objects you rarely use. You can also create a unique artwork or wall decoration out of wooden blocks, plywood, or metals that have been in the basement forever. As for the aluminum cans or glass bottles that some ingredients or beverages come in, you may sell them or utilizes the pieces for your kids’ school project; or even projects you work on like building toys.
Don’t wait for more scary phenomena to take place before you think of protecting Mother Nature. You have the means to do it now. You should do it while saving the planet is still possible.
The real beauty of a house does not merely rely on the expensive drapes or paintings that adorn it inside. You cannot bank on the unique structure that people see outside either. Those can get dusty or break over time, and so they can no longer make your home interesting after a few years.
To allow the real beauty of your house to come out, to be honest, it should have fixtures that hardly go against the laws of nature. Taking advantage of nature also helps us with our mental health. As Dr. Miles Richardson wrote, “Just by being outdoors and using all our senses to appreciate nature, we can be more mindful of the present, gain emotional resilience, and combat stress with more vitality.”
They do not consume too much fossil fuels, for instance, or water does not get wasted because of them. Try any or all of the tips right below on how to make your residential space eco-friendly.
- Get Solar Panels
The first thing you may consider getting is solar panels. These items can power up essential appliances at home, such as light bulbs, electric fans, or even the TV. You may also be able to recharge your gadgets using the energy that comes from the sun. That is a renewable source of energy, so you don’t have to worry about its supply ever depleting. “If you own your office and have control over your energy selections, choose to get your energy from one of a growing number of renewable energy sources from solar power or windmills, for example-and install the most energy-efficient appliances,” says industrial-organizational and conservation psychologist Elise Amel, Ph.D.
- Insulate The Place
Most houses that do not have insulated walls require the use of an electric heater. When you turn the air conditioner on during the summer, the coolness may dissipate at once as well when it goes off, thus enabling you to keep it on for hours.
The only solution to this issue is insulating the entire place. Not only will heat or coldness linger in the rooms better, but you won’t have to consume an excessive amount of electrical energy too.
- Stay Smart In The Kitchen
It always seems incredible to imagine entering your kitchen and seeing the same hi-tech coffee maker that baristas use. They may even be a heatless stove there, a microwave, and an innovative refrigerator that has a voice-command system. For these appliances to work, though, you’ll need electricity, which will only flow into your home after burning fossil fuels. As much as possible, for that reason, use a coffee drip system and get a regular stovetop to cook and reheat foods so that you don’t leave much carbon footprint on Earth.
- Avoid Artificial Cleaning Solutions
Various cleaning products that are supposed to take away grime and dirt off your walls, countertops, and bathrooms are easy to buy in the market. The problem with these solutions, however, is that their ingredients consist of chemicals that pollute the water and the rest of the environment. Due to that, you may want to stick to natural cleaning products like sodium bicarbonate and vinegar.
- Use Paper-Based Items Only
Assuming you cannot stop buying straws, plastic cups, and plates for parties at home, it is advisable to get the paper-based versions of them. The latter, you see, can reduce into the soil and won’t stay on the face of the planet forever. When it comes to toilet papers or table napkins, feel free to obtain the recycled variety to further delve into the eco-friendly realm. There are currently cities that are banning plastic in their communities and psychologist Adriana Jakovcevic says, “The people who supported the policy most, they also say they do it for environmental reasons,” which is actually excellent.
- Install Real Plants Inside
If you want earthy tones in the house, you should not forget to decorate with living plants. They can absorb the carbon dioxide emitted there and give off oxygen, which is what human beings like us need to survive. Nonetheless, it is best to opt for plants that won’t immediately die if they do not always get sunlight.
- Start A Compost
Finally, all the organic wastes you accumulate, e.g., food scraps, leftover meals, and fruit and vegetable peels, can decompose well if you make compost in your backyard. This pit lets you segregate your biodegradable wastes from the non-biodegradable ones effectively. Instead of having to freeze them to keep the scraps from smelling, you may throw them straight into the compost and wait for weeks until they turn into soil-like substance.
Are you ready to make your house eco-friendly?
When people imagine their dream house, they only have a picture of what their home is going to look like once it’s done. They know the colors of the walls in every room, as well as the kinds of tiles that will cover the bathroom floors. These folks also have a clear vision of the furniture and other fixtures they want in their mind.
What rarely receives much thought, unfortunately, is the eco-friendliness of the construction materials that the workers will use. For instance, the manufacturing process of cement, which is necessary to create concrete, releases an excessive amount of carbon dioxide that pollutes the air. The human-made fibers utilized to make wall insulation are too easy to inhale, and they can get stuck in your lungs. Paint, asbestos, plaster of Paris, and other items produce various chemicals over time as well, which are undoubtedly harmful to human beings. As Elisa Amel, Ph.D. wrote, “It’s not an understatement to call climate change the environmental crisis of our era, yet describing it as an environmental problem kind of misses the point.”
Although these are the conventional materials used to build a house, we can tell you with all honesty that there are now nature-friendly alternatives for them. Once you find those things, you can then create a sustainable residential space that is amazing on so many levels.
- You Get To Save Money
How expensive can it be to construct a simple home, you ask? According to Home Advisor, the amount you need on average is $289,063. The costs can decrease at some point, but it mostly increases over time, primarily if you utilize cheap materials at first, and they require replacement a few months later.
If your house is eco-friendly, however, you should realize that no part of it will be flimsy. It is a solid structure from the bottom upwards. Some walls even get baked with heat to ensure that they can withstand different phenomena. Since many items can be recyclable too, you may not have to spend too much while the construction is ongoing.
- The Natural Resources Won’t Deplete
What happens when a regular company builds a house is that they use a lot of water when mixing cement and other dry ingredients until everything turns into concrete. They also need power tools and sometimes heavy pieces of machinery, which all run with fuel that’s derived from non-renewable sources. The result is that the construction consumes a massive amount of water and energy, which can never be recycled. “If you own your office and have control over your energy selections,” says psychologist Elise Amel, Ph.D., “choose to get your energy from one of a growing number of renewable energy sources – from solar power or windmills, for example-and install the most energy-efficient appliances.”
When you make a house with sustainability in mind, though, the builders tend to come up with ideas to reuse non-biodegradable stuff like plastic bottles or glass. They may utilize natural resources that are abundantly found on the planet as a cement alternative too, e.g., clay, sand, soil, etc. More importantly, the building procedure does not always require the burning of fossil fuels, thus contributing to the preservation of the environment.
- You Don’t Need To Sacrifice Your Health
As mentioned above, a lot of the materials used for construction purposes are hazardous. Some produce fine dust and fibers that easily lodge in the lungs. Others smell horrendous because they contain chemical substances that no one should ever inhale. While you cannot sign a petition to the manufacturers of such items to change their formulation and expect them to listen, though, you merely have to opt for nature-friendly materials from the start to avoid health risks. And Dr. Chris E. Stout, PsyD reminds us that “without mental health, there is no health.”
In The End
Building a sustainable house is not impossible, whether you live in the middle of a desert or the heart of the city. Not all contractors may agree on helping you create it, frankly speaking, since many people still want to stick to the old ways, no matter what consequences they may bring. However, there should be a few companies you can work with and make your dream home eco-friendlier than ever.
Everyone seems to have a vivid idea of what his or her dream house is supposed to look like. It is several stories tall, complete with huge windows and a room for every family member. The structure is smack dab in the middle of a green garden where you can see an assortment of flowers and trees. Of course, from the iron gates, there is a driveway that leads up to the house and keeps you and others from walking on wet grass or parking the car outside the property.
The thing is, when you are making your dream come true, you may realize that choosing the building materials for each section of your real estate can be tricky. For the doors, it’s either the sliding glass or the wooden ones. When it comes to flooring, you can get tiles, vinyl, or hardwood pieces. And for the pathway, the popular materials are asphalt, concrete, and clay bricks.
Out of the three options for creating a driveway, though, we recommend the last mentioned the most. Check out a few reasons why clay bricks are the best construction materials.
- They Are Effortless To Install
The process of building a brick driveway is no different from putting puzzle pieces together. After making sure that the dirt that serves as the base is level, the worker will start laying the bricks in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and incredibly fast. It will then take a skilled person a lesser amount of time to bind those materials together and let a car roll in to test out the finished product.
2. They Are Easy To Restore
Bricks are different from concrete, in the sense that you do not need to destroy a more significant portion of the structure to fix a small section. They are incomparable to asphalt too, which requires the burning of asbestos that is dangerous to inhale for everyone.
In case clay brick cracks, you can tell the builder about it, and they will come to repair that. It is not necessary to widen the damage since every portion has been installed individually. The material is also pre-made with eco-friendly ingredients; that’s why the worker can merely take out the broken fragments and replace it with a new one.
- They Will Not Burn Up From Heat
Considering most driveways do not have a shed to shield it from the sun during the summer, it is likely for a homeowner to worry about it burning up and setting the entire property ablaze.
Well, the good thing about clay bricks is that they are fire-resistance. Our ancestors have been using it longer than concrete or asphalt too, and you don’t hear about anyone’s house catching fire because they utilized the same supplies during the construction. The heat can only solidify them further, yet there is no chance for them to get lit.
- They Do Not Harm The Environment
Last but not the least, the building materials are products of the earth. The manufacturers typically start by grinding the clay soil until the resource turns into finely grounded dust. Then, they add water to it to form a paste-like substance. Before it completely cools, the worker places the mixture in molds and waits for the bricks to dry and harden. The last step is cooking them in a kiln for a few hours to ensure that all the ingredients have melded into one structure.
From this simple explanation alone, you’ll be able to tell that no part of the brick production is harmful to the environment. People don’t use plastic; every tool employed in the procedure is recyclable. They can keep on creating this material forever, and it will still have a low carbon footprint compared to asphalt and concrete.
When you finally decide to start developing your dream house, try not to forget everything you just read about clay bricks. You can get the same benefits even if you use them for the walls instead of the driveway. Although concrete and asphalt are the popular construction materials to date, they still cannot beat the conventional elements when it comes to making durable and non-toxic structures.