At Mission Tiles we are very proud that our passion for handcrafted cement mosaics is, at the same time, an ecological alternative and one of the highest durability and aesthetic quality in the context of today’s interior design. But we do not lose sight of the fact that it is just as important to have innovative, sustainable building materials that adapt to the needs of users in a wide variety of climates and locations, with energy efficiency, availability, and affordability.
For that reason, we’ve listed five of the materials that construction experts project to be the new players in the residential and commercial industry of the future. If you are planning a construction or remodeling project, it is worth taking into account all their advantages before opting for “classic” materials such as cement and steel, which are very costly environmentally and energetically speaking.
1.- Apparent concrete
The enormous advantage of apparent concrete is that it looks great, combines with a wide variety of interior and exterior styles, especially industrial and “raw” ones, and allows you to save money and materials in other types of coatings, such as plaster and paint, whose production involves a whole industry that is not at all ecological.
2.- Recycled wood
In the context of global warming, forest fires, and indiscriminate urbanization, cutting down trees simply no longer seems to have any logic, because there are many other materials with which wood can be replaced without taking away from the planet the essential lungs it needs. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t take advantage of recycled wood, which is an excellent alternative for cladding and furniture, but, believe it or not, some types of cross-laminated timber are also strong enough to be used as a structural material. As if that weren’t enough, modular and reusable formwork is used, so wood waste is avoided and installation is faster.
3.- Corrugated metal
Another structural material that goes wonderfully with the industrial style is corrugated metal. One of its main advantages is that it almost eliminates the need to use falsework and complex rebar reinforcement. It is enough to properly place the sheet over the structure, fix it with self-welding bolts, lay an electro-welded mesh, and place perimeter reinforcing rods (rods that will help support the slab), seal the perimeters and it is ready to pour concrete. It also reduces the use of wood and release agents, which are not at all environmentally friendly. Since it is steel, it can come from recycled sources, and at the end of its useful life, it can be recycled again without any issues.
Bamboo is a structural material that is largely untapped in the West, but one only has to look at the enormous amount of light, strong and versatile structures that exist in Asian countries to begin to consider it a very viable alternative for future constructions. Not only is it incredibly strong when placed in the right direction, but it also grows at an impressive rate, is inexpensive and aesthetically looks great, especially with minimalist and natural decorations and styles.
It is a very easy material to produce in almost any region of the world, as it consists of a mixture of soil materials of different granulometry. Its elaboration has a very low environmental impact, it is not necessary to make large mining operations, nor to use ovens, it is enough to compress the humid mixture and let it dry for a few days.
This material is an excellent thermal and acoustic insulator: buildings built with adobe are warm in winter and summer, and very little outside noise reaches the interior. Contrary to common conceptions, adobe buildings can have more than one level, and there are several construction methods to make adobe structures seismic-resistant.
The best thing is that at the end of its useful life, adobe can be reincorporated into the environment without any issue. It’s only disadvantage is that it is vulnerable to erosion and water dissolution, but this can be avoided with the use of skirting and roof overhangs to protect the walls from rain.