What Are Green Building Materials And Can They Really Save The Environment?

“Oh, Wait! This just concerns the Civil Engineers, so i can skip it because it just doesn’t concern me and simply not my area of interest”

Was this your first thought after reading the title?

Well hold on to that thought, the knowledge about Green Building Materials is not just limited to the civil engineers but to every one, especially those who are planning to construct a house, any kind of dwelling or a commercial hub or say an SEZ (Special Economic Zones) because it’s the responsibility of a ‘resource receiver’ to know about Green Building Material – it is your decision that matters when it comes to the environmental impact of it. So without much delay let’s start.

What are Green Building Materials?

Green Building Materials, are those materials that are composed of renewable resources, eliminating the non-renewable resources, these materials are friends with our environment, green building materials are the practices that increase the efficiency of buildings using resources while reducing environmental hazards and human health.

Green Building Materials should have the following attributes:

  • It should be obtained from local resources and manufacturers.
  • It should not contain ozone-depleting substances.
  • It should be recyclable and bio-degradable.
  • It should be composed of renewable resources.
  • It should promote the air quality index.
  • It should be durable and require little maintenance.
  • It should incorporate recycled content.

But a fact that brings me to reality, is that even the ‘greenest’ of these materials lack one of these attributes, but are still better than no-green materials any day.

Now here is a list of some green building materials that you should definitely know about –


– A natural futuristic building material comprising the root structure of fungi and mushrooms.

– Encouraging growth around a composite of natural materials, like ground-up straws in molds or forms, then air-dried to create lightweight and strong bricks or other shapes.


A very local yet a trendy building material, having a combination of tensile strength, lightweight, and fast-growing renewable nature. It provides an alternative to concrete and rebar construction.

Straw Bale-

Straw bales are used to create house walls, when properly sealed they provide very high levels of insulation for a hot or cold climate. They are affordable and sustainable and can provide an alternative for concrete, wood, gypsum, plaster, fiberglass, or stone.


A method of laying concrete in such a way that there are open patterns that allow grass or other flora to grow. This reduces the overall concrete usage and it also improves stormwater absorption and drainage.


A fly ash based concrete alternative that replaces 97 percent of traditional components with recycled materials.


A new material that uses recycled materials including steel dust to create a building material stronger than concrete.

One unique property of Ferrock is absorbing and trapping carbon dioxide as part of its drying and hardening process making it carbon neutral.

Recycled Plastic-

Today Plastic is seen more on the Ocean and river waters rather than in streets and at homes, but don’t worry we can create concrete using recycled plastic and trash which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also the weight of the concrete.

Why does this concern you?

‘Your Wish Is a Civil Engineer’s Demand’, there will be a point in your life sooner or later when you will have to hire a civil engineer to perhaps build your home, and at that moment the fate of the environment would rest in your hands – it’s you who has to decide if your construction will be planet-friendly or not, whether it will be sustainable or not. But the statement above is a two-way process, ‘if you don’t wish for it, you may never achieve it but you can never wish about it until you know it’. Your knowledge about these Green Building Materials will help in sustainable construction practices and do a lot more than your bit in saving the most unique Planet. From a Civil Engineering point of view, Sustainable Construction Practices should just not only act like theoretical concepts but should be given the same priority as other sections of the subject. Infrastructure has always been a mark of progress and development for any Country, think if the structures designed by the Indians are sustainable and green. I think that would help the Indian Flag fly higher in a cleaner and better air. It is just not the duty of a certain profession to help save nature. One of the Fundamental Duty ( #7 ) of the Citizens of India states –

‘To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures’.

Remember people, together we can and we will save the planet.

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