Green buildings are an emerging concept in the construction sector. Fundamentally, the concept derives influence from the 'Go Green' bandwagon sponsored by major international organizations, such as the UN and the EU; and famous personalities, such as Barack Obama and Al Gore. It is not possible for an individual to tour the world spreading the message of environment conservation. However, one can contribute to this bigger goal by using recycled building materials in the construction process.
The concept of using recycled building materials is not new. It has been practiced since the early 19th century in the UK when cavity walls became popular across Europe. However, it gained greater significance and acceptability after international organizations mooted for a green future.
Different Types of Recycled Building Materials
Using recycled building material is cost efficient and helps to conserve natural resources that are available in a limited quantity. Also, the manufacturing process of most of the raw material used in the construction sector involves the use of chemicals and harmful gases that affect the environment adversely. Thus, using recycled materials offers a dual benefit to nature.
There are two types of recycled building materials depending on the source of waste generation:
- Post-consumer recycled products: These products are recycled from the waste originating from the common population. Products manufactured from post-consumer items may carry usage specifications to ensure optimum utilization.
- Post-industrial recycled products: They are produced from the industrial waste or by-products that originate at different stages of manufacturing.
According to experts, consumer generated waste should be preferred to produce recycled building material. Industrial waste usually has a higher quantity of chemicals and toxic elements which are used while product manufacturing.
There are no specified regulations to measure the quality standards of recycled products. Thus, it is essential to do extensive market research and compare different products before making a purchase decision. Against the backdrop of the rising popularity of the green building concept, one can expect standard quality guidelines in the near future.
How to Use Recycled Building Materials
Some examples of how you can contribute to the environment by using recycled building materials are:
- Using iron-ore slag originating as a by-product in blast furnaces to produce mineral insulation.
- Fly ash from coal burning plants is collected to produce concrete. It helps to strengthen the performance of the building structure. One can use fly ash concrete to form one-fourth to half of the total cement required.
- Pipe manufacturing produces a huge quantity of PVC scraps. These can be used to produce environment-friendly cavity fire barriers.
- Use recycled glass tiles on flooring. These tiles are made from broken glass originating from consumer and industrial waste. The waste glass is grounded, melted in a furnace and reformed to make new tiles.
- Use cavity closers made of recycled materials, such as PVC-U. One can also use fibreglass or cellulose insulations which are made from consumer waste.
- Dry wall is one of the most popular recycled building materials. It is recycled from fiberized newspaper.
- Brick and plumbing fixtures can also be made from recycled material.
Green building is not merely a concept. It is a necessity in the present era. Curbing the depletion rate of virgin natural minerals is an urgent need and this is possible through the use of sustainable building materials in construction.
For more information on recycled building materials, visit http://www.cavalok.com. Cavalok Building Products is a leading UK manufacturer of cavity closers, window board receptors and head vent systems made from recycled PVC-U. Processing of virgin PVC causes severe health hazards. However, it is one of the most durable materials for building construction. Thus, Cavalok ensure that all recycled products possess strength comparable to virgin PVC products; while causing no harm to the environment. Their easy-to-fit products are approved by the British Board of Agreement (BBA) and the National House Building Council (NHBC).
Chris Coxon writes articles for Cavalok, a distributor of sustainable building materials that are simple to use, robust and cost-effective. Cavalok was the first in its field to offer 100 percent post-consumer recycled cavity closers manufactured from recycled building materials. Their FireSok cavity fire barriers give wall cavities one hour fire integrity, insulation and protection, and are a simple and effective way to deliver tested fire protection.
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