From Windows to Walls: Importance of Green Building Materials

Green building materials and practices in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry have been making its emergence over the last few years. Contributing to nearly 40% of all carbon emissions, the AEC industry is by far one of the most impactful industries for the environment. 

While the impact of reducing carbon emissions in building projects is enough of a reason to use green building materials, the number of reasons to use sustainable materials is endless.  

Before uncovering a few of those impactful reasons, let’s start from the beginning. 

What are Sustainable Materials? 

Sustainable materials, also known as green materials, are manufacturing resources designed and produced with a strong emphasis on reducing their environmental footprint throughout their lifecycle — from extraction to processing, use, and disposal. These materials are durable, require less energy to produce, are locally available, and can be recycled or repurposed.  

Sustainable materials promote resource conservation, waste reduction, and energy efficiency, and are often sourced from renewable resources such as bamboo, cork, Earth Materials (Adobe, Cob, Rammed Earth), Plant-Based Polyurethane Rigid Foam, Natural Clay or Lime-Based Plasters, or Ferrock (to name a few), or recycled materials such as recycled/reclaimed metals, wood, glass, or concrete.  

The development and widespread adoption of green building materials emerged as a pivotal strategy to address the far-reaching social implications of construction on a global scale. The use of these materials brings about a multitude of social benefits, ranging from enhanced indoor air quality and healthier living spaces to improved occupant well-being.  

How do architects select sustainable building materials? Uncover an architect’s buying journey in 'The Architect's Guide to Sustainable Building Materials'

Benefits of sustainable building materials 

For the environment, for constructors, and even for companies: the benefits that sustainable materials offer are not one-sided, and this is what makes them so worthy.  

Let’s explore some of the main points that any company should be looking at when considering investing in green building materials. 

Environmental Benefits 

One of the most crucial advantages that come with green building materials lies in their ability to avoid consuming non-renewable resources.  

By selecting materials like bamboo, cork, or sustainably harvested wood, we enable nature to replenish itself, thereby reducing undue strain on our planet's resources. Traditional materials usually require a copious number of non-renewable resources for their production, meaning that the impact this production will have on the environment is notable.  

But when you decide to go green, you’re making a conscious effort to lessen your reliance on these precious resources. Moreover, embracing recycled materials, such as reclaimed wood or recycled plastics, demonstrates responsible resource management by reducing waste and conserving valuable energy in the production process. 

By integrating green materials into your products, you tap into a thriving market segment that places a high premium on eco-friendly options. The result? A boost in customer and brand loyalty as your commitment to sustainability resonates with these discerning individuals and organizations. Taking care of the environment by choosing sustainable products for your projects is not only a fulfilling decision but also a way to build lasting connections with your valued customers and foster brand loyalty. 

Energy benefits 

Green building materials are typically designed to be more energy efficient than traditional materials. These materials help to keep your building well-insulated, meaning you can keep the heat in during winter and the cool air in during summer, resulting in lower energy consumption for heating and cooling systems.  

Plus, some green materials even have natural properties that can help regulate indoor temperatures, like earth-based materials. So, you save energy and lower your carbon footprint, all while enjoying a comfortable living space. 

Health Benefits 

Sustainable materials often have lower levels of toxic chemicals, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and formaldehyde. These harmful substances are commonly found in conventional building materials and can negatively affect indoor air quality, leading to a direct effect on people’s health.  

Many green materials exhibit exceptional insulation properties, thereby optimizing indoor thermal comfort while reducing reliance on energy-intensive heating and cooling systems. Consequently, this energy conservation aspect contributes to a notable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, promoting a more sustainable built environment. 

See how enVerid Solutions integrated their clean air technology into cove.tool’s revgen.tool to build better buildings with cleaner air  >>  

Carbon emissions 

Green building materials offer significant embodied carbon benefits, which is a crucial aspect of environmental impact. Unlike conventional materials, green alternatives are sourced from sustainable, low-carbon sources resulting in reduced emissions during the product and building’s entire lifecycle. 

For example, opting for recycled steel over newly manufactured steel substantially lowers the carbon footprint associated with construction. 

Many green materials are designed to require less energy during the manufacturing process, such as straw bales or rammed earth, further minimizing their carbon impact.  

Operational Efficiency 

Aside from their positive impact on the environment, sustainable manufacturing materials bring practical benefits to production processes. These materials are designed for better performance and longer lifespans, which means less downtime during production and lower maintenance expenses. By using durable green materials, companies can cut down on the need for frequent replacements, leading to improved efficiency and cost savings in manufacturing operations.  

These materials are meticulously crafted to showcase enhanced performance attributes and heightened durability, providing you as a manufacturer with a competitive edge to craft top-notch products that not only meet but frequently surpass industry standards. When you offer integrated green materials for construction professionals to include in the production processes, you have the unique opportunity to establish a well-deserved reputation for delivering products that meet and set a new standard of quality.

Long-Term Cost Savings

Sustainable materials can save AEC professionals money both long term and short term through several avenues.  

Not only are sustainable materials more energy efficient leading to lowered energy costs in the long term, but green materials tend to have a longer lifespan and are more durable, reducing the need for frequent replacements or repairs.  

The consideration of lifecycle costs, including maintenance and disposal, can further prove that sustainable materials may offer cost savings compared to traditional alternatives, making them an economically wise choice.  

Additionally, using sustainable materials align with green building standards and regulations, potentially leading to tax incentives or rebates, and can even enhance a building's market value by meeting the growing demand for eco-friendly construction.  

Green Building Certifications 

Green building certifications are assessments that evaluate the environmental performance and sustainability of buildings and construction materials. They provide an objective way to measure a building's eco-friendliness, resource efficiency, and overall impact on the environment. 

Getting certified showcases a company's commitment to eco-conscious practices, enhancing your credibility and reputation in the market. With increasing environmental awareness, more customers are seeking eco-friendly options. Having a recognized certification gives the company a competitive edge in appealing to this growing segment of environmentally conscious consumers. 

Also, green building certifications can lead to cost savings and operational efficiencies. They offer guidelines and best practices for resource optimization, energy efficiency, and waste reduction, which can cut down expenses and improve long-term sustainability in the corporate scene. When companies have the information required to go green in a way that includes long-term goals and clear guidelines, it is easier to achieve a successful outcome. 

Green building certifications come in all shapes and forms, and building companies have the option to choose the one that fits their requirements based on their budget and expectations.  

revgen.tool: For Building Professionals 

If making a sustainable twist is difficult, trying to use generic tools and standard methods to achieve a ‘green building’ or taking a step towards more sustainable options can make it almost unbearable. You need software options that are not only familiarized with building products and their specifications but also understand the processes that sustainable building is based on and approach each need separately.  

revgen.tool is a building product software that allows manufacturers to collaborate with AEC professionals to solve complex tradeoffs, validate product performance, showcase innovative materials, and get products selected directly in their projects early in the design phase. With cove.tool’s suite of building design products including the Assembly Build and Carbon Feature, AEC professionals become prospects when using the manufacturer’s products in real-time projects. 

With revgen.tool’s proprietary technology, manufacturers and their sales teams can create custom simulations considering energy codes, product types, standards, and varied building scenarios to deliver the best building materials to architects and designers.  

Find out which revgen.tool plan best aligns with your business goals.

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