6 ways to find sustainable building materials tips, Construction business advice, Firm guide

6 Ways To Find Sustainable Building Materials For Your Construction Business

8 July 2022

When running a construction business, you’ll need to consider several things to provide the best possible service to your clients and customers, as well as maximise your profits and overall success. Things to consider include who to hire, what types of construction work you should offer, and what sorts of material options you should use and offer your customers. The latter of these is very important to think about.

6 ways to find sustainable building materials

Today, this is often a key consideration for customers who are contemplating hiring a construction business like yours, and sustainability is often what those customers are looking for. When searching for sustainable building materials, which you can then offer as an option for your customers, there are a few ways to go about this, as well as some important things to consider. We’ve listed six ways in which you can find these sustainable building materials to help you in this endeavour.

Understand What Sustainability Is
First of all, you need to understand what sustainability is and why it’s important to many of your potential customers. Basically, sustainably is the harmonious balance you can find between the economy and the environment. This essentially means that businesses can remain successful within their industry while also not harming the environment.

Of course, it’s almost impossible to have zero negative effects on the environment, but you can operate in a manner in which you do enough for the environment to balance out the negative impact you might have. When it comes to construction work, carbon emissions are still very high and also the types of materials you use can be unsustainable. For example, certain woods take decades to grow to maturity, and their usage can contribute to deforestation, whereas some can be regrown quickly and in abundance, allowing for almost infinite, sustainable harvesting.

Learn About The Types Of Sustainable Materials
Many new and innovative materials have been created with the focus of sustainability in mind.. Here are a couple of examples of sustainable materials that you might be able to make use of:

  • Ferrock
    Invented in 2002, this substance was created accidentally by Dr David Stone. He was researching ways to prevent iron from rusting and created ferrock by combining silica with fine steel dust. This created a substance that is now known to be five times stronger than concrete. Not only is it stronger, but it is also more flexible and can resist higher levels of compression before breaking. Steel dust and silica are common waste products that would otherwise be discarded in certain industries, meaning that ferrock is almost entirely made using waste, which is why it is considered so sustainable.
  • Solar Tiles
    While solar panels have been used for decades now, they are simply affixed to a roof which is already in place. However, with the invention of solar tiles, the roof itself can be made entirely of these solar panels. These tiles are durable enough to protect inhabitants from the elements while also offering a means of energy generation which can be used for heating water, lighting, or other things. The main reason these tiles are sustainable, and why they are a great material to offer to your customers, is that they will significantly reduce the customer’s reliance on expensive and unsustainable energy sources.
  • Mycelium
    Another of the many sustainable materials available today is mycelium, which is quite frankly something that sounds like it was ripped out of a science-fiction book. This alternative to concrete is actually entirely made from organic materials. Sawdust is a key part of mycelium, but this material’s most amazing ingredient is fungi. These mushroom fibres are combined with the sawdust and solidify. These blocks of mycelium can then be fused together to create a wall, pathway, or almost anything that concrete could be used for. It’s worth noting that, as exciting as this sounds, it’s still not available for general usage in construction and is still in the earlier stages of development. However, the reason we felt the need to mention this ties in with the final section of this article.

Choose An Ethical Supplier
After you’ve developed a good understanding of sustainable construction materials, you’ll then want to consider which suppliers to work with. You’ll want to find a supplier like Hanson that offers sustainable materials such as warm mix asphalts, low carbon concrete and low carbon cement replacement products . As well as the materials they have on offer, they also have a dedication to reaching net-zero carbon emissions in the next few decades too. It’s important to work with a supplier like this to show your customers that you are committed to protecting the environment and reducing your carbon footprint as much as possible. If you were to require wood and other bio products, too, you should choose a supplier involved in regrowth projects that doesn’t contribute to any form of deforestation.

Questions To Ask Your Suppliers
When approaching a supplier, there are a number of things you’ll want to ask them when trying to find sustainable building materials for your construction company. You should first ask about their commitment to sustainability and see if it aligns with your goals. Next, you’ll want to find out what sorts of sustainable materials they can offer you while also adhering to the best sustainable practices of sourcing, creating, and shipping those materials to you. You’ll then also want to find out what sorts of things they are striving for in the future, including new eco-friendly methods and new environmentally friendly and sustainable materials they might offer. If they are pursuing innovative new materials to add to their business, creating a positive relationship with them early will improve your chances of benefitting from these new materials once they’re available.

Assess Your Own Sustainability
It’s all well and good working with sustainable suppliers when searching for new materials, but you should also take some time to assess your own sustainability. It works both ways when working with a sustainable business, as they might not be comfortable supplying to you if you’re not dedicated to sustainable practices. Get to grips with the data regarding your own carbon footprint and the other suppliers you may already be working with to see what you can improve to create a more sustainable business.

Keep Up To Date With Industry News
This is an incredibly important thing to keep in mind when finding sustainable materials. Those in the construction industry, as with those in almost all industries today, are constantly searching for innovative solutions to challenges and the needs of society. That is why it is important to keep researching your industry to find new alternatives to materials that your construction company can use.

Staying abreast of the news within your industry and those that are linked to it is a great way to keep ahead of the curve and is one of many ways a business can remain competitive. This will allow you to spot new trends, source new suppliers before others do, and take advantage of the amazing new sustainable materials they offer, just like the mycelium material we mentioned earlier.

Comments on this guide to 6 ways to find sustainable building materials article are welcome.

Architecture

Rowanbank Gardens, Corstorphine
Rowanbank Gardens Housing Edinburgh
Rowanbank Gardens Edinburgh Housing

West Town Vision
West Town Edinburgh property development site
image courtesy of architects practice
West Town Edinburgh Property Vision

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