What exactly is eco-friendly construction?

Did you know that concern for the environment is currently at an all-time high in the UK? It is hard to ignore the news of our climate problems and plastic pollution, and that is leading to a lot of changing attitudes across the country! There is a growing demand for everyday life to become more eco-friendly and for more eco-conscious options to be available across industries. This includes the world of construction, especially since it is responsible for a wapping 25% of the UK's emissions.

What is Eco-Friendly Construction?

As the demand for sustainable choices grows, eco-friendly construction continues to gain more attention in the industry. The term refers to building methods, materials and principles which reduce the negative effect construction has on the planet. In some cases, it can even lead to buildings which have a positive impact on the environment!

It is resource-efficient, respectful of local and global environments and a more conscious way of building. Rather than simply doing what we’ve always done, every process is thought through and options are weighed to find the best solution for the planet given local site’s constraints.

What Are the Main Concerns Targeted in Eco-Friendly Construction?

When building sustainably, there are a lot of factors which need to be considered. The materials used, how they are transported to the construction site, minimizing waste and reducing the energy used to build, run and maintain the building, are all concerns addressed with eco-friendly construction. 

The end use of the building is also thought through. It is common now for buildings to be thoroughly insulated to reduce energy consumption, but some companies go a step further to create eco-buildings, implementing features such as:

  • Solar panels to increase renewable energy use

  • Installing rainwater capture for homes with gardens

  • Using non-toxic paints and chemicals

  • Installing low energy appliances and light bulbs

There is a Lot of Choice for Eco-Friendly Structures

The building materials used in construction are one of the main ways to create more sustainable structures. There are a lot of emerging methods when creating buildings that are more environmentally friendly, and they are not always high-tech or expensive: in fact, a lot of them are really simple!

Straw bale houses, for example, simply use straw as the core structure. When heavily packed together, straw is a fantastic insulator, is breathable and is actually fire-resistant when compressed – a fact that surprises a lot of people! It’s also super low cost. Recycled car tyres filled with earth have also been used in construction, and there is a growing push for all materials to be sustainably sourced. For example, EcoChoice timber which is sourced from independently certified sustainable forests is a material which is in growing demand across the country. Timber is famous for its low or positive carbon impact so it is only natural that its demand will continue to rise.

Examples of Sustainable Builds

There are tons of examples of eco-buildings already popping up in the UK. Dalby Forest Visitor Center, for example, where recycled and recyclable materials are used throughout, and BowZed

in East London is a block of flats which uses no fossil fuel energy whatsoever. The buildings are heavily insulated so they need no central heating and rainwater is collected for use in every toilet. 

Sustainable Building With EcoChoice

At EcoChoice, we have been part of a wide range of sustainable builds. Our FSC certified timber has been used to create piers, sea defences and river structures around the country, increasing the use of renewable materials in British buildings. To learn more, feel free to check out our projects and get inspired by these eco builds!

Image: Vgreek / Shutterstock.com

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