Renewable energy and materials is a big issue within modern society, and the pursuit of each of these certainly has some involvement in the construction industry. Studies have shown that the construction of buildings is one of the biggest global contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Changing this situation is a responsibility for both the construction companies and those looking specifying what materials they want to use in their buildings.
There are three reasons for why the construction industry has such a large carbon footprint; heavy machinery is often used in building projects, which use a lot of energy, excavating and transporting materials can also be a significant contributor, and processing them into a usable product is also a massive part of the equation. Using renewable resources that are sourced locally, while not always practical, when done has been proven to be an excellent method for reducing the impact on the environment.
There are a lot of renewable resources that can be substituted in for more generic, mass produced, manufactured materials. For instance, many people have tested cotton out as a replacement for oil-based insulation, and clay as a plaster replacement. Each of these are produced in nature, and can be categorised as renewable and safe for the environment, whereas what they’re replacing aren’t.