Sustainability is more than just a hot topic nowadays. People are becoming more conscious of their personal carbon footprints, prompting them to make changes to everyday habits, as well as major life events. That includes building new homes.
Sustainable building is nothing new, but it’s becoming more popular. In 2020, California became the first state to require solar panels on all new homes. While other states are likely to follow in the coming years, some people are still hesitant about sustainable building.
One of the biggest arguments against it is that the materials and techniques often used haven’t been time-tested. Therefore, we don’t know the full “risk” of what they might do to a home’s foundation or construction.
But, that’s not exactly true. Many of the materials used in sustainable home building have been used and trusted for centuries.
Even if there were some small risks when it comes to sustainable construction, the rewards trump them easily.
Still not convinced? Let’s take a look at the benefits of sustainable building, and why they outweigh the risks.
Performance Concerns in “Green” Buildings
To understand the potential risks and performance concerns of a sustainable building, it’s important to know how risk is actually defined. Whether the construction is for a residential home or a business, some of the basic types of risks include:
- Physical – infrastructure problems
Understanding the types of risk will make it easier to assess the construction being done. When it comes to sustainable building, one of the biggest concerns is unknown green construction risks. Unfortunately, many of the risks come from human error or inexperience. While sustainable building is important, it’s still not “the norm”. So, you might find yourself dealing with inexperienced contractors or people who aren’t fully versed in alternative energy solutions.
There are even contractors and building companies that practice greenwashing. They might get you to believe that their process is eco-friendly and sustainable, but it’s nothing more than a marketing technique. That’s a major risk for you, as a construction consumer. But, depending on their actual process, it could also be a big risk for your home or business.
Are Sustainable Materials Reliable?
Since this tends to be the biggest concern or argument for those against sustainable building, the answer is yes.
Sustainable materials are strong, reliable, and well-tested. Understand that 41% of global energy consumption is linked to buildings and structures. Sustainable construction can help to reduce that number, and it starts with using the right materials. Some of the best include:
- Composite roofing shingles
- Smart glass
- Recycled plastic
Materials like wood and bamboo are certainly nothing new and have been used in sustainable structures for centuries – far before people even know what a carbon footprint was. Early builders always sourced from the environment and minimized waste as much as possible. Now, it feels like things are coming full circle as sustainable builders are using materials from the natural environment and minimizing waste through recycling efforts.
Sustainable building takes a minimalistic approach, using materials intentionally and not wasting anything. That’s something you can continue to practice once your home or business is built, but minimalism has become increasingly popular for many reasons, and fighting back against carbon emissions is one of them.
What Are the Benefits?
If you’re still on the fence about sustainable building, understanding some of the biggest benefits might change your mind. Recognizing the full potential of sustainable buildings can help everyone get on board with a greener future that will not only impact the environment but your quality of life.
With that in mind, some of the most notable benefits include:
- Cost reduction to build, as well as a better ROI
- Improved health
- Waste minimization
- Better use of materials
- Less noise
- Safer materials
Keep in mind that sustainable construction is just the beginning when it comes to a green home or business. As a structure is getting built to be green, things like solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, and smart home technology will likely be installed. When you consider those additions, it’s easy to see how safe, modernized, and secure sustainable building has become.
It’s time to let go of the stigmas and stereotypes surrounding sustainable building. Far too many people still think the materials used haven’t gone through enough testing, but the reality is they’ve been around longer than anyone reading this has been alive. The more people who get on board with sustainable building, the better the state of our environment will be. If you’re still not convinced, don’t be afraid to do your own research on sustainable building materials, and how they work to provide a secure structure. This is the future of construction. Thankfully, its goal is to create a safer, healthier world for all of us.