It is no secret that building material costs have skyrocketed in recent years. To add to these challenges, supply-chain issues have made it even more difficult to obtain these materials. Needless to say, this has led to substantially longer home building timelines while also driving up prices dramatically. With home inventories at record lows across much of the country, the building material constraints are only adding to the overall challenges in the housing market. With this said, we are starting to see building material alternatives entering the market. Although these new materials are coming about out of necessity, they are also more environmentally-friendly. We discuss a few below.
Alternative building materials
- Bamboo: Traditional lumber sources, such as maple and oak, can take up to 80 years to replenish. On the other hand, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet. With this said, it can be harvested multiple times per year. Bamboo’s strength and sturdiness make it a great option for flooring. As an added bonus, bamboo also contains a natural bio-agent called bamboo kun, which makes this material resistant to pathogens and pests.Therefore, it eliminates the risk of termites.
- Hempcrete: With more and more states legalizing cannabis, hemp is becoming a more attainable alternative to other building materials. The hemp plant has a very thick pulp that has been used in creating various textiles for some time now. Hempcrete is made when this pulp is combined with lime binder and water. This is typically formed into blocks which resemble concrete blocks. Some of the benefits cited for hempcrete are as follows:
- mold resistant
- energy efficient thermal insulation
- fire resistant
- carbon negative
- rendered finishing (aesthetically uniform)
- load bearing
- fast and easy assembly
With the push towards more energy-efficient home building techniques, some of these advances in building materials certainly fit the bill. Of course, given the current inflationary and supply-chain challenges, these additional options are even more welcomed. Nonetheless, transitioning to more sustainable options will bode well for the future of our planet. If you are building a new home, you may want to inquire about these alternate building materials.
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