Eco-Friendly Building Materials

Eco-Friendly Building Materials      Eco-Friendly Materials describes a product that has been designed to do the least possible damage to the environment. or products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose are called Eco-Friendly Materials.

Need of Eco-Friendly Materials
• Phenomenal growth in the construction industry that depends upon depletable resources.
• Production of building materials leads to irreversible environmental impacts.
• Using eco-friendly materials is the best way to build a eco-friendly building.

Stone quarrying leads to eroded hills,like this picture showing the site of makarana marble quarry,  brick kilns in the fringes of the city lead to denudation of topsoil, dredging for sand damage the river biodiverisyt etc.

Note:-One more point to note when we talk of eco-friendly construction is that it consist of two parts – Material and Technique.
A material by itself can be eco-friendly, e.g Bamboo.
Or Even conventional materials can become eco-friendly based on the construction technique that is used.e.g rat trap bond developed by Lauri Baker,which require less number of bricks and are more heat insulating than normal walls and therefore eco-friendly. 

 The various properties of the Eco-friendly materials and techniques are –
    Materials can be eco-friendly also if they can assist in reduction of the energy used in the building during operation and maintenance.
    It is difficult to get a material that has all these properties, and it thus becomes a comparative assessment to identify eco-friendly materials

Source of Material
a.Renewable source
   Rapidly renewable sources e.g. wood from certified forests
b. Reuse of Waste
   Salvaged products –e.g. old plumbing, door frames
   Recycled contents – agriculture/ industrial waste e.g. Bagasse Board

Embodied Energy
    Scalar total of energy input required to produce the product including transporting them to the building site.

Aluminium and steel has the most embodied energy because to the high energy required to produce them. Compared to timber that requires very less energy for production

Reduce Pollution
a.Air Pollution-
Use of materials with low VOC emissions e.g. Cement Paints
b.Water Pollution –
Materials that prevent leaching.
c.Land Pollution-
Materials that reuse waste that would otherwise have resulted in landfill. e.g. Flyash Bricks.

Materials can be eco-friendly based on how they perform. Use of certain material or techniques can reduce the amount of material required.
Durability – The longer the life of a material the lesser it is required to replace and thus reduces the quantity required to produce
Reduce material use
These are energy efficient and also help reduce the dead load of a building. e.g. Ferrocement
Durability & Life Span
Material that are exceptionally durable, or require low maintenance e.g PVC pipes

Energy Conservation
Materials can assist in Energy Conservation in a various ways

•Materials that require less energy during construction e.g. precast slabs.
•Materials that help reduce the cooling loads- e.g – aerated concrete
•Products that conserve energy – e. g. CFL lamps

•Reuse or Recycle as different product e.g. steel, aluminum
•Biodegradable – that decompose easily e.g wood or earthen materials
Evaluating Systems
  Having identified the properties we started studying the available evaluating systems for identifying eco-friendly materials. There are various international systems that recommend and even certify products at eco-friendly. Some of these are –
US EPA – Env preferable purchasing – this is for all products
Green Seal – has certification after establishing product standards
Green spec –has a Directory of green building materials
Bee’s - BEES measures the environmental performance of building products by using the life-cycle assessment approach specified in ISO 14000 standards.
JIS – Japanese Industrial standards that have established eco-friendly standards.
Evaluating Systems
MOEF – Proposed certification of all eco-friendly products as ‘Ecomark’
CPCB is entrusted with the task of developing the standards for certification.
At the national level there is no prominent evaluating system as yet. Moef has proposed eco-certification of all eco-friendly products as ‘Ecomark’ (1991)
CPCB is entrusted with the task of developing the standards for certification.
Scoring System
•A Eco-Points Scoring System was derived based on a Life Cycle Assessment of each product.
•Life Cycle Stages
   c.Maintenance/Operational life
•The entire life cycle spans over 150 points
•Each stage has a percentage contribution depending on their individual impacts.
•The higher the score the more eco-friendly the material.
   Class ‘A’ Materials – 100 and above (Excellent)
   Class ‘B’ Materials – 60 - 99 (Good to moderately good)
   Class ‘C’ Materials – below 60 (Poor to Bad)

Evaluating Parameters Life Cycle Stages
     1.Manufacture/Extraction/Production - 60% (90 pts)
      •Use of recycled resource (13pts)
     •Use of renewable resource (13pts)
     •Use of waste materials (13pts)
     •Energy consumption (11pts)
     •Emissions and human safety factor (11pts)
     •Water consumption (10pts)
     •Waste production (10pts)
     •Virgin resource consumption. (9pts)

     2.Usage/Implementation – 18% (21pts)
     •Material wastage (8 pts)
     •Transportation (7pts)
     •Ease of usage/ storage/ workability (6 pts)

    3. Maintenance/Operational life – 14%(12pts)
     •Building energy load reduction (6 pts)
     •Average life span (years) (6 pts)

     4.Disposal – 8% (27pts)
     •Biodegradability (10pts)
     •Recycle/ Reuse factor (10pts)
     •Ease of removal/Disposal (7pts)

Eco-friendly Materials

Conventional Eco-friendly materials
1.Bamboo, Bamboo Based Particle Board & Ply Board, Bamboo Matting
2.Bricks sun dried
3.Pre-cast cement concrete blocks, lintels, slab. Structural and non-structural modular elements
4.Calcined Phospho-Gypsum Wall Panels
5.Calcium silicate boards and Tiles
6.Cellular Light Weight Concrete Blocks
7.Cement Paint
8.Clay roofing tiles
9.Water, polyurethane and acrylic based chemical admixtures for corrosion removal, rust prevention, water      proofing
10.Epoxy Resin System, Flooring, sealants, adhesives and admixtures
11.Ferro-cement boards for door and window shutters
12.Ferro-cement Roofing Channels
13.Fly-ash Sand Lime Bricks and Paver Blocks
14.Gypsum Board, Tiles, Plaster, Blocks, gypsum plaster fibre jute/sisal and glass fibre composites
15.Laminated Wood Plastic Components
16.Marble Mosaic Tiles
17.MDF Boards and Mouldings
18.Micro Concrete Roofing Tiles
19.Particle Boards
20.Polymerised water proof compound
21.Polymerised water proof compound
22.Portland Pozzolana Cement Fly-ash / Calcinated Clay Based
23.Portland Slag Cement
24.RCC Door Frames
25.Ready Mix Cement Concrete
26.Rubber Wood Finger Joint Board
27.Stone dust
28.Water proof compound, adhesive, Polymer, Powder

Recommended eco-friendly alternatives 

1. Structural System
Alternatives to Cement Concrete (plain / reinforced) - cement, sand, aggregate, steel
Base Materials for R.C.C. and Steel Systems
a. Pozzolana Material content (Fly-ash / Slag / Calcinated Clay) attained through use of Blended Portland Cement (BPC) and /or direct addition of pozzolana material
b. Sand and aggregate from pulverized debris and /or sintered fly-ash for concrete and mortar
c.  Recycled steel forms and reinforcement bars
Alternatives Systems
a.   Ferro cement and
b.   Pre-cast components for columns, beams, slabs, lofts, balconies, roofs etc.
c.   Ready Mix Concrete
d.   Use Resinous curing agents

2. Masonry
a.Alternatives to Fired clay bricks, cement concrete blocks, stone
b.Use of Fly ash + sand + lime bricks / blocks
c.Pulverized debris + cement bricks / blocks,
d.Industrial waste based bricks / blocks,
e.Aerated lightweight BPC concrete blocks,
f.Phospho-Gypsum based blocks
g.Lato blocks (laterite + cement)

3. Mortar
a. Sand from pulverized debris and / or sintered flyash
b. Pozzolana Material content

4. Plastering
Alternatives to Cement, sand, plaster of paris, gypsum
a.Calcium Silicate Plaster
b.Cement Plaster
c.Use of Fiber reinforced clay plaster
d.Phospho-Gypsum Plaster
e.Non-erodable Mud Plaster
f.Use Resinous curing agents

5. Roofing and ceiling-
Alternatives to Ferrous / non-ferrous sheets, tiles, thatch
a.Fibre Reinforced Polymer Plastics instead of PVC and Foam PVC, Polycarbonates, acrylics & plastics
b.Micro Concrete Roofing Tiles
c.Bamboo Matt Corrugated Roofing Sheets

6. Flooring, paving and road work
Alternatives to wood, stone, ceramics, concrete
a.Fly ash / industrial waste / pulverized debris blocks in BPC
b.Lime-pozzolana concrete paving blocks for all outdoor paving.
c.Bedding sand from pulverized debris

7. Tiles for interiors
a.Terrazzo floor for terraces and semi covered areas
b.Ceramic tiles (non-vitrified)
c.Mosaic Tiles/ Terrazzo Flooring
d.Cement Tiles
f.Phospho-Gypsum Tiles
e.Bamboo Board Flooring

8. Windows, Doors and openings
a.Steel, aluminum, timber, glass, R.C.C., PVC, Stone
b.Ferro cement and Pre-cast R.C.C. lintel, chajja and jalis
c.Masonry bond combinations for jali work
 Alternatives to Timber and Aluminum / Steel frames
b.Pre-cast R.C.C. Frames/ Frameless Doors
c.Bamboo Reinforced Concrete Frames
d.Hollow recycled steel channels and recycled Aluminium Channels and Components
Shutters and Panels – alternatives to timber, plywood, glass, aluminum
a. Red Mud based Composite door shutters,
b.Laminated Hollow Composite Shutters
c.Other wood alternatives

9. Electrical
Alternatives for Aluminum, brass, PVC, G.I., S.S.
a.Use unplasticised PVC or HDPE products
b.Where applicable use products with recycled aluminum and brass components

10. Water supply, Sanitary and Plumbing System
a.R.C.C., uPVC, G.I., C.I. pipes instead of lead, A.C. pipes
b.Where applicable use products with recycled aluminum and brass components for fittings, fixtures and accessories
c.Use Polymer Plastic (Random) hot / cold water system instead of G.I.
d.Manholes and covers - use Pre-cast cement concrete and high strength unplasticised PVC instead of C.I.

11. Wood
a.Renewable timber from plantations with species having not more than 10 year cycle or timber from a government certified forest / plantation or timber from salvaged wood
b.Plywood should be phenol bonded and not urea bonded
c.Use of MDF Board
d.Instead of Plywood:
Bamboo Ply/Mat Board/ Fibre Reinforced Polymer Board,/ Bagasse Board /Coir Composite Board /Bamboo mat Veneer Composite/ Finger Jointed Plantation Timber Board / Recycled Laminated Tube Board / Aluminium-Foil+Paper+Plastic Composite Board.
e. Use of Mica Laminates and Veneer on Composite boards instead of natural timber.

12. Water proofing chemicals, additives, sealants and adhesives
a.Use of water based chemicals instead of solvent based.
b.Epoxy resins instead of tar felt / pitch
13.Painting, Polishing, Priming and similar surface finishing
a.Use of Cement Paint / Epoxy Resin Paint for external surfaces
b.Use of Water based paints, enamels, primers and polishes

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