Guest Post: Eco-Friendly Construction

These days more and more buildings are being constructed with energy efficiency being their top priority.  Not only do buildings that conserve energy like this save a lot of money for the owners in the long run, but they also serve well for the environment.

Energy Efficient Lighting

LED bulbs are one of the most popular forms of energy conservation seen in both commercial as well as personal buildings because they do wonders for the earth and are relatively inexpensive to use.  These types of lights can cut energy costs by almost ninety percent and they’re bright enough to light a large space without much effort, making them extremely useful in restaurant and retail establishments.

Recycled Steel

A lot of buildings are utilizing steel that’s been recycled.  Not only does recycled steel save a lot of material from being dumped on the earth every year, but it cuts down on energy consumption by almost 75 percent because the makers of steel are no longer having to produce their own materials.  The best part is that recycled steel is just as good as freshly made and buildings with this foundation are just as sturdy.

Old steels girders that will be recycled
Old steels girders that will be recycled

Straw & Hay Bales

One of the newest forms of energy consumption in building construction comes from straw.  It’s been proven time and time again that as long as straw stays relatively dry over the course of its lifetime, it can be a great building material.  Stacked a lot like boxes would be, straw can be used to lay the foundation of buildings and homes.  It’s uncommon these days, but most areas around the United States will consider permitting it if they think there’s a good cause.


Although they’re just as uncommon as straw bases, Structural Insulated Panels can reduce the energy costs of a single building by fifty percent.  These materials add an extra buffer to the building by employing the use of insulated foam between the boards.  When you figure in that there will be insulation in the walls on top of these panels, you can see how great they are for energy efficiency.


There is also something very similar being done with concrete except the concrete is in the middle rather than the insulation.  These types of materials are typically used in the foundation of buildings.

Recycled Wood

A lot of privately owned commercial businesses are starting to use recycled wood in their buildings, which is primarily made of plastic bags and other forms of scrap wood.  Not only does this cut down on tree consumption, but recycled lumber has been shown to be much less harmful to the environment because it doesn’t have as many toxins.  Additionally, it’s usually much tougher than traditional lumber, giving buildings a much sturdier base.

Adobe & Compressed Earth Blocks

Although it’s more prevalent in international countries (the United States doesn’t have the right people with the skills to provide such labor), there are buildings being made from soil and clay.  We know this works because people have done it for years in the past with great success and as long as you’ve got the right people on the job, you can make great foundations and rigid buildings just from using the land around you.

There are tons of ways buildings are going green these days and there are new methods being seen every day.  The best part about this is that not only are they great for the environment, but they’re sustainable and they’re just as good as traditional methods.

Author: Anna Kay Hicks

Photo: Old steel girders being recycled from Shutterstock