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7 Eco Materials That Will Revolutionize The Construction Industry

Eco construction aims to achieve high level performance on several targets related to the preservation of energy resources, the fight against climate change, the reduction of waste and pollution, the improvement of indoor air quality, along with the health and well-being of building occupants. Many eco materials have already emerged on the construction market although we are not yet always aware of their existence. Green insulation, recycled waste products, ecological temperature regulators… here is a look into seven construction eco materials that will revolutionize tomorrow's architecture.

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  • Green bricks

What about building a house made of paper? The American start-up BetR-blok realized that the accumulation of all the paper wasted in the United States over one single year could allow for the construction of a 15 meter high wall all around the country. Their response to this environmental issue was to design bricks consisting of a mixture of cement and cellulous waste from paper and recycled cardboard. The result offers undeniable qualities for the construction industry. In addition to being resistant to mold and fire, the brick is also an ecologically sustainable solution that offers excellent acoustic insulation.

  • Mushroom insulation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Although mold is usually not much appreciated inside households, mushroom insulation is a new 100% ecological material made of micro mushrooms. Mixed with agricultural waste, this type of mycelium fungi allows for a compact, lightweight and biodegradable bloc, perfect for the replacement of expanded polystyrene insulation. Not only does mushroom insulation take little energy to be produced, it also yields close to no toxic waste. The product is additionally aligned with the "cradle to cradle" philosophy that aims at reusing materials infinitely in a continuous cycle.
  • Translucent concrete

Invented by a Hungarian architect, light transmitting concrete transforms walls into shadow theaters. These concrete blocks have exactly the same mechanical qualities as conventional concrete, with the additional advantage of letting light shine through the material. The optical fibers inserted inside the concrete offer the illusion of a building that glows from within. Its ability to transmit light allows for building to use fewer lights during daytime hours, making it one of the most revolutionary options in green construction.

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  • Highly insulating glass units

To put it simply, Lumira Aerogel is one of the most performant insulators for use in transparent daylight systems. Consisting mainly of air and dry silica particulate (which contrary to crystalline silica presents virtually no toxicity), it is transparent and UV stable. It offers exceptional thermal insulation, 3 to 6 times better than conventional glazing materials, and also provides excellent acoustic insulation, ideal for apartments, offices or hospitals.

  • Antipollution plaster

The innovative technology used to produce ACTIVair plasterboards presents important air purifying and depolluting virtues: a specific component incorporated inside the plaster captures 70% of pollutants called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and turns them into inert compounds. Its features do not stop there as it also reduces noise by 50% and offers very high impact resistance. Reinforced with wood fiber, it is 5 times stronger than standard plasterboard.

  • Bio-tiles

Lightweight, flexible and environmentally friendly, the bio-tiles developed by the German Fraunhofer Institute have everything to be appealing to the construction industry. Made from a mixture of linseed oil epoxy and natural fibers, the tiles can be tailors-made into any shape, colors or pattern. They can even light up if a fluorescent pigment is added to the blend, a great advantage for outdoor spaces. These "bio-tiles" can equally be installed indoors, in kitchens or bathrooms for example.

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  • Phase change indoor temperature control

Micronal PCM is a material known as "phase change" material. It changes according to ambient temperature and allows for the regulation of heat by absorbing, storing and redistributing heat throughout the day. When temperatures get high, the paraffin mixture contained inside the material absorbs the ambient heat and when the temperature drops, at night for instance, the paraffin solidifies and releases its heat. The material can be used for walls or ceilings in order to stabilize room temperatures between 21°C and 26°C, the human comfort range. This smart and passive storage system is yet another example of the many energy saving solutions we should be seeing more of in the years to come.

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