We can define ecological materials or eco-materials. As those materials that, throughout their life cycle show development of environment. And play a fundamental role in contemporary architecture at best Construction Companies in UAE.
Also, these materials during their manufacture, transport, installation and once placed. And these represent an environmental improvement with respect to a traditional material. These types of materials are increasingly important.
Improving The Energy Efficiency
The widespread use of ecological materials can significantly minimize the environmental impact of construction. While increasing the recyclability of buildings. In addition, most of these materials contribute to improving the energy efficiency of a building.
Ways To Identify an Ecological Material
There is no universal and unequivocal way to identify an ecological material. Actually, any material that presents at least one improvement from the environmental point of view. If compared to a conventional material can called ecological.
Due to this, in various industries, such as metallurgical, electronic, chemical or textile, they have been tirelessly developing materials. That they call ecological and now we have a wide range of these materials. Which do not exist before. But if it is so easy to call a material ecological, how can we really know its environmental scope.
What Conditions We Must Meet for Ecological Material?
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An ecological material must contribute to the reduction of the current environmental burden throughout its life cycle. And to measure its contribution there are a series of conditions that must meet:
- Physically and chemically, eco-materials must represent an optimization with respect to their non-ecological counterpart. They have better properties and/or offer greater technical performance.
- Throughout their entire life cycle, they must measure their effect on the environment. And, if possible, offer an improvement. All ecological materials should give us real information in this regard.
- Green materials must offer a significant environmental improvement over conventional material.
Green Materials Methods
We can used 6 different methods to achieve this:
- Use of “green” resources.
- Reduce the use of non-renewable resources.
- Increase the use of recycled resources.
- Replace non-renewable resources with well-managed natural resources.
- Use new resources and the different stages of recycling.
- Reduce the use of renewable natural resources.
- Minimal environmental impact during the manufacturing process.
- Reduce energy expenditure and the number of resources in the manufacturing process, recycling, and waste disposal.
- Reduce CO2 emissions in the manufacturing process.
- Increase production performance.
- Avoid the need for landfills.
- Reduce pollutant emissions in the manufacturing process.
- High productivity or efficiency when using it.
- Improve the reuse and longevity of materials and products.
- Reduce the amount of energy and the number of resources in the period of use of the material.
- No harmful or dangerous substances.
- Establish a collection system for hazardous chemical substances from already used products.
- Reduce the use of hazardous or potentially hazardous substances.
- High recyclability.
- Progress in the separation and recovery of non-recyclable products.
- Increase the percentage of recycled resources.
- High environmental purification efficiency.
- Eliminate hazardous substances in the smoke outlets.
- Purify volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the environment.
- Eliminate hazardous substances in polluted environments.
It is not necessary that we meet all these conditions to be an eco-material. But the more that we meet, the more certain we will be that we are buying or using a truly ecological material.
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What Properties Does It Have?
We have commented in the previous section that an ecological material must have properties superior to those of its more conventional counterparts. But what properties make an eco-material stand out?
- Energy saving capacity during its life cycle.
- Ability to save resources consumed for its manufacture.
- Reuse to reuse the material in other materials with similar functions.
- Recyclability to reuse the material again as raw material.
- Structural reliability to use it with its most basic mechanical properties.
- Chemical stability to use it without suffering chemical degradation.
- Biologically safe ability to use without causing negative ecological effects.
- Substituting capacity of similar materials with worse characteristics.
- Ability to ensure the comfort of the work environment
- Cleaning capacity to separate, remove and detoxify contaminants in environmental treatment processes.
How Are They Classified?
As with the definition, there is also no official classification, but over the years several authors have created their own classification. Based on their works and considering the complete life cycle of a material, we can create a classification of ecological materials within the context of sustainability:
- By its origin
- “Cyclic” materials:
- Recyclable materials.
- renewable materials.
- efficient materials.
- For its functionality
- For the protection of the environment:
- Materials for water treatment.
- Materials to reduce the environmental impact.
- Easily disposable and recyclable materials.
- For society and human health:
- Non-hazardous or hazard-free materials.
- Materials to reduce the impact on human health.
- For the energy:
- Materials for energy efficiency.
- Materials to achieve “green” energy.
How Do I Know Which to Choose?
Now that we have seen the wide range of options through which a material can sell as organic. Need to know how to quantify it and how to know if it is reliable.
If we want to buy or use ecological materials in a construction or in a rehabilitation. And we want to make sure that we are using beneficial products for the environment.
We can ask the manufacturer for the following information about its material:
- CO2, SOx and NOx emissions.
- Energy and material consumption required in manufacturing, maintenance, and subsequent recycling.
- Proportion of recycled material.
- Ecological footprint.
- Quantity and information on hazardous substances used and released.
- Energy and material efficiency during the consumption or use stage.
Checking all this data can be very laborious and complicated for the less experienced. For this reason, there are a series of seals and quality certificates created with the aim of guaranteeing. That the product we are acquiring is ecological.
With this new concept, the need to reduce the environmental impact that occurs when constructing homes and buildings put on the table. Until then, industry and transport systems had always talked about as the main sources of pollution. But it does not directly consider that the place where we spend more than 90% of our lives is largely to blame for said pollution. According to estimates, around 40-60% of global pollution comes from construction and its processes.
What Is Sustainable Construction?
Sustainable construction was born as the great alternative to these polluting construction systems. Although there are many professionals in bioclimatic architecture who point out that sustainable construction simply tries to return to the origin of the processes. So that it could define as that construction that reduces the environmental impact caused by construction materials, minimizes the energy consumption of buildings, and promotes the use of renewable energy sources.
To build in a sustainable way, in addition, it is necessary to consider from the choice of construction materials. The construction process, the environment where built it. And the possible demolition and management of this waste. The reuse of themselves. The use of available natural resources and the use of energy-efficient facilities.
There are hundreds of different seals depending on the type of material and the country in which we manufacture it. And knowing them all is impossible, so we recommend that. If we see that a product has an ecological seal or certificate. We go to the website that issues that seal to verify the requirements that we require to grant it.
More and more companies are deciding to manufacture all their materials in a more sustainable and ecological way. Clearly eco-materials will be an essential part of the architecture of the coming years.
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