We had previously shared some tips on how to build an eco-friendly home and some tips to recycle water at home to help you take the first steps towards a sustainable lifestyle. And now, here’s a compilation of some green building materials, especially eco-friendly alternatives for concrete, to make sure you get the most from your efforts of going green.
We will begin by understanding how the traditional concrete is formed, moving on to some insights about why concrete is harmful to our environment. Afterwards, we will share a list of various best eco-friendly materials that can be used as an alternative for cement.
So, without further ado, let’s get building!
Things to Know About Traditional Concrete
The traditional concrete – also known as building concrete – is produced from a mixture of cement, gravel, sand, water, and several aggregates. It is one of the most consumed building materials in the construction industry across the globe. Considering the growing consumption rate every year, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that concrete is to builders what water is to humanity – both absolutely vital for survival.
As mentioned earlier, concrete is widely used in construction activities around the world. From bridges to parks, small apartments to commercial buildings, concrete is the foundation of every real estate product. Owing to its resilience and strength, various construction companies in Pakistan rely greatly on traditional concrete.
Now that you have a better understanding of traditional concrete and its importance, let’s take a look at some eco-friendly alternatives for concrete.
List of Best Eco-Friendly Alternatives for Concrete
As mentioned at the beginning of the blog, several green building materials can serve as an alternative to concrete and lower environmental waste. That being said, here is our compilation of some green alternatives for cement:
- Fibre Cement
- Geopolymer Concrete
- Rammed Earth
- Recycled Plastic
- Straw Bales
- Wood Fibre
AshCrete is one of the best eco-friendly alternatives for concrete used by construction companies around the world. Similar to cement, it is used for structural purposes and serves as a binding agent. Commonly known as fly ash, it uses coal waste instead of building cement.
The ash produced after coal burning often ends in landfills, which can negatively impact the environment. Fly ash is incorporated into concrete [instead of cement] through molecular engineering to eliminate carbon dioxide from the environment.
Bamboo is among the key construction materials, which also happens to be a green alternative to traditional concrete. It is used to develop eco-friendly buildings around the world. Bamboo has been used for a long time. Its flexibility, strength, light-weightiness, and environmental-friendly nature makes it a promising ingredient in building walls and boundaries.
Ferrock plays a key role in the green construction industry, and it can replace expensive and heavy building materials that are hazardous to the natural environment. It is mainly produced from recycled materials such as steel dust [obtained from steel industries]. Besides this, the most interesting thing about ferrock is its carbon-neutral properties – it traps carbon-dioxide during its drying and hardening process.
Just like we use cement in the traditional concrete, ferrock uses the steel dust to replace cement and create a concrete-like building material. Quite naturally, when the cement is replaced by steel, it is said to be even stronger than concrete.
On a side note, if you want to find out the difference between cement, concrete, and mortar, navigate to our recently published post now
Fibre cement is another interesting green alternative for building material, made of composite material and cellulose fibres. It is produced from organic material such as water, minerals, and air. A mixture of the aforementioned things is heated and filtered to successfully replace traditional concrete throughout the world.
Further, the most exciting thing about fibre cement is its striking design, which can be produced without using materials that produce hazardous gas emissions.
The next entry on our list of best eco-friendly alternatives for concrete is geopolymer concrete. This particular alternative doesn’t use limestone and replaces it with coal ash, clay, and slag. Moreover, geopolymer concrete is produced with a combination of these materials in a low-energy process.
Grasscrete is just what it sounds like – a method of laying concrete in such a manner that allows grass and other flora to grow between the holes. Although it doesn’t directly replace the traditional concrete, it reduces the overall usage in flooring, walkways, sidewalks, and driveways. Besides reducing the usage of hazardous construction material, grasscrete also absorbs rainwater and serves as a great drainage alternative.
Rammed earth is a technique that uses natural materials such as clay, soil, chalk, lime, and gravel for the construction of floors, walls, and foundations. This eco-friendly technology has been used for thousands of years due to its durability.
In the coming days, we will see a lot of construction companies in Pakistan using plastic waste for building projects. Plastic is a non-biodegradable material, but it can be recycled easily. If used efficiently in construction schemes, recycled plastic can dramatically replace the traditional aggregate material such as crushed stones, slag, gravel, sand, etc.
This one is self-explanatory and has been used in the construction process for a long time. The history of building homes from straw bales predates the history of concrete when homes were constructed from organic and locally sourced materials. Straw bales are usually used to build walls.
Serving as an organic alternative for concrete, straw bales are also known for replacing wood, gypsum, plaster, fibreglass, and stone. Besides being an affordable and sustainable option, they are also great for insulation against extreme weather.
Timbercrete is yet another green alternative for building material with many perks over industrial concrete. It is produced by mixing sawdust and concrete. Not only is it lighter than concrete, but it also reduces the hazards and waste produced by building materials such as bricks, blocks, and pavers.
The last entry on our list of green alternative for building materials is wood fibre. It is produced from plain old wood and boasts many perks over traditional concrete. Homes that are built from wood fibre have higher chances of absorbing CO2.
So, this brings to the end of our post on green building materials. We have mentioned some eco-friendly concrete alternatives in our list that can serve many construction companies in Pakistan. If you have any questions or suggestions, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moreover, if you want some explanations on the types of concrete, navigate to our blog where we have covered everything about ready mix concrete.
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