There are the building products that have a lower impact on the environment: the low-VOC paints, the timber from sustainably-managed forests, the insulation made from recycled glass waste. And then there are those building products that really stand out as being a step ahead of the rest, with a fresh approach to product manufacturing that shows a newer, better way to build. Here are five examples that turn common building products into showcases of environmental innovation:
A panel board made from straw
We’re probably all familiar with panel boards made from fibre cement, plasterboard, gypsum, and even wood, plastics, and metals – but what about straw? German-founded company Novofibre manufactures a unique ‘oriented structural straw board’ made from wheat straw fibre and a formaldehyde-free adhesive. The panels are lightweight but strong, elastic and malleable, and confer both sound and thermal insulation benefits too. The boards use wheat straw that would normally be burned as agricultural waste, and therefore avoid the resulting CO2 emissions and the need to cut down trees to produce the boards.
Pest control with recyclable crushed glass
Keeping a home termite-free often involves application of chemical pesticides, which can have nasty consequences for human health and the environment. Enter Termiglass, a non-toxic physical termite barrier developed by Queensland-based Termicide. Termiglass makes use of recyclable glass that has been crushed to a specific shape and density. Termites cannot chew through the glass, it’s too heavy for them to move, and the arrangement of the shards means there isn’t enough space for termites to crawl through.
Sustainable aerated building blocks
CSR Hebel is a high performance autoclaved aerated concrete available in panels or blocks. That translates into superior insulation qualities compared to other traditional masonry products, such as clay bricks, so homeowners require less energy for heating and cooling. The blocks themselves have considerably less ‘embodied energy’ (all the energy required to produce goods or services) than concrete or brick veneer, and less greenhouse gas emissions, making them a more sustainable choice of building material.
Paint that reflects heat
Paints and coatings company ROCKCOTE gives buyers an option to tint exterior paint colours using heat reflective technology, which results in significantly increased solar reflectance compared to the equivalent conventional colour. The reflective pigment works by deflecting infra-red heat and provides a range of benefits for a building: coatings last longer, colour fading is less likely, and there’s less heat transfer into the building, ultimately reducing cooling costs.
A refrigerant that doesn’t cost the Earth
Traditional synthetic refrigerants have caused a few environmental problems: they’ve either damaged the ozone layer, come with a high Global Warming Potential (GWP), or both. Refrigerants company HyChill supplies a range of refrigerants based on naturally-occurring hydrocarbon gases, which can safely replace most synthetic refrigerants. They also tackle environmental impacts head-on: natural refrigerants don’t harm the ozone layer and only have a minimal GWP compared to many of their alternatives.
Story supplied by Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA).