Despite the naysayers of our society, climate change is real and very much affecting our lives. To minimize the damage, it is important that we begin making changes to the way we live as soon as possible—starting with the ways we build our houses. Engineers across the world have started providing solutions to this complex problem by way of sustainable building materials, which have already debuted as the components of homes and commercial structures. Here are some of the best we’ve seen arise in the industry within recent years.
Engineers have recently discovered there’s a much more efficient way to insulate windows than current methods allow. By adding a third layer to the typical doubly-layered window, engineers ensure the unit is better able to hold in heat and other forms of energy within a building, improving the energy footprint left behind. Triple layered windows are typically reinforced with an additional insulative coating, as well as paired with special frames designed to further lock in a building’s energy.
“Timbercrete” is one of many new combination building materials to be offered by contract structural engineering services in recent years. It is made by blending typical concrete with sawdust, hence the name. It is regarded as a form of recycling, since sawdust typically has very little use, and is just as malleable as regular concrete.
Experts from Scotland and Spain first came up with this new form of brickware, which takes regular brick and attaches fibers made from seaweed and natural wool. The application of these fabrics, however, is not some trendy fashion statement. Licensed structural engineer teams have found this particular form of brick is much more resilient than the standard bricks we use today—up to 37 percent more, in fact!
In addition, it proves easier to build with, as it hardens automatically as it dries. Compare this to the average bricks, which must be fired during the construction process. The wool and other fibers attached to this new form of brick also provide extra insulation for those living in Britain and other cold weather areas, as they naturally possess stronger hardiness against the climate.
Bales of Straw
The idea of building entire structures out of straw may sound like something out of The Three Little Pigs, but it’s an honest reality! Societies used to carry out this practice back during the beginning of civilization, when all there was to build with were local materials. One of the most convenient and efficient qualities of straw building are its insulative properties. In addition, it’s very easy to replace on the off-chance the structure should receive damage, thanks to its status as a natural resource. You may very well find structural engineering services offering straw building as an option for residential structures in the near future.
There’s a wealth of sustainable building materials to choose from when it comes to your next construction project. To learn more about your options as well as green building in general and other structural engineering services, feel free to contact us!