Now, more than ever, you can opt for sustainable building materials to achieve an eco-friendly build that is stylish, original, innovative, and complete with all the comfort and technology you would expect in a custom, luxury home-build.
With the variety of sustainable building materials available to building designers in Melbourne, a beautiful home can be created from renewable, recyclable materials, which is resource efficient and environmentally friendly as well.
Sustainable Building Materials
Building materials considered to be ‘green’ typically include renewable plant materials like timber from forests which are sustainably managed, and straw.
Recycled materials and materials reused from existing buildings are also considered to be more ecologically friendly than alternatives.
This is because the waste and energy that would have been used in manufacturing and transportation are minimised through reuse.
Materials from clay, mudbricks, strawbales, and rammed earth, to timbercrete and recycled rubber, bamboo, cork, and coconut palm wood, all offer fantastic individuality and style, allowing for a truly bespoke design.
- Mudbricks, which are made from local soil mixed with water and reinforcing materials, and joined with a mud mortar, are typically used for walls, vaults, and domes.
- Strawbales are stacked to form a wall, fixed in place, and then rendered so that no straw is visible; the finish is as smooth as rendered masonry – or more expressive and textural if you prefer. The result is incredibly strong and, perhaps a little surprisingly, resistant to fire, vermin, and decay.
- Timbercrete is a combination of timber waste and concrete to produce a strong material with high insulating capabilities.
- Rammed earth is a mixture of gravel, clay, sand, silt, clay and cement to produce a wall that is strong, water resistant and long lasting.
Combine your choice of building material with glass to achieve a stunning ecological home, complete with a green or living roof, and plants and trees for biodiversity, conservation, and food production.
The Beauty of Glass
As a sustainable, fully recyclable and recycled material, glass is a natural choice for advocates of sustainable materials.
With its energy saving properties, wonderful aesthetics and versatility, and the benefits that natural sunlight brings to health and well-being, it’s no wonder glass is so popular with architects and in home exterior and interior design.
Glass is made from natural and abundant raw materials, including sand, ash and limestone. With its own natural energy saving properties, admitting light and warmth, it can also be used to generate renewable energy through solar-thermal and photovoltaic applications.
Glass can be poured, blown, pressed, and moulded, and used both inside the home and out, including in furnishings, partitions, balustrades, tables, shelves, lighting, mirrors, and so much more.
The increased use of glass in architecture, for impressive facades, beautiful glass walkways, and spectacular conservatories, is leading to innovative solutions all the time to keep the occupants of the building cool and comfortable.
Solar Control Glass
Solar control glass minimises heat gain during the hot, sunny, summer months and helps control glare. Installing it for your build can minimise or eliminate the need for an air conditioning system and reduce the running costs of a building.
Toughened or laminated for safety and security, it can help with noise control, can be coloured or mirrored, and ensures that your indoor space stays bright – but much cooler than if ordinary glass were used.
Today’s high-tech industrial processes mean that the number of glass types and applications are growing all the time, so that even more exciting possibilities are available for glass inside the home as well.
Privacy glass, or switchable glass, uses electric-chromatic technology to interchange between transparency and an opaque state by applying voltage.
Ideal for internal partitioning, you are able to maximise light but retain the option to make a space private at the mere flick of a switch.
Consider using switchable glass for a sophisticated restroom or bathing area, where you want the ensuite to be a natural extension of the bedroom in order to showcase an ornate bathtub.
A more modern alternative to curtains and blinds, switchable glass is also more hygienic, and can be connected to light sensors or triggered by movement to turn to its opaque state. Also, when opaque, its high-definition properties make it perfect as a projection screen for multimedia displays.
With the increasing applications for glass both inside a property and out, it seems as though no other material can take its place in ecological building design and construction.
As one of the most sustainable and recyclable materials available, future developments in technology could see glass become even stronger, more resistance to breakage or scratching, more ornate, thinner, lighter, and even bendable.