architecture

Build ecologically – Environmentally friendly building materials for indoor use

environmentally friendly building materials ecologically-building-moss-house-figure

What has long been the trend in the lifestyle sector is also continuing in the living area: Sustainability and future-proof construction are increasingly important to Germans. For some time now, when building a house, people have not only placed value on the modern look, but also think about ecology and sustainability. Synthetic building materials contain chemical additives that are harmful to the environment, cannot be disposed of properly and could be a cause of increasing allergies and even cancer. According to results a large study from 2015 78 percent of those surveyed want environmentally friendly building materials that ensure a healthy living environment and do not affect their health. That is why natural building materials are increasingly coming to the fore in new buildings. The spectrum ranges from drywall panels for interior work to natural insulation materials and environmentally friendly paints and varnishes. In the following article we would like to give you a general overview, even if we cannot cover the entire range of ecological building materials.

Criteria for environmentally friendly building materials

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Environmentally friendly building materials are rated positively according to criteria such as environmental influences, energy and water waste in production, life and maintenance cycle and connection with other building materials. They should be low in pollutants, easily recyclable and durable. Further aspects to be considered can be found in the following list:

  • low energy requirements for production and pollution during construction and subsequent maintenance and care
  • Avoidance of composite materials
  • long service life and easy repairability
  • Reusability after demolition or at least low-emission destruction

Ecological thermal insulation

environmentally friendly building materials interior mineral wool insulation

In view of constantly rising energy prices, good thermal insulation is playing an increasingly important role because it saves energy and thus money. As with insulation material, there are various ecological building materials that have clear advantages over thermal insulation materials that are rich in harmful substances. Animal and vegetable building materials such as sheep’s wool, wood products, hemp and seaweed are characterized by their high density and heat storage capacity and are perfect for thermal and sound insulation. Cellulose flakes and mineral wool are currently among the most popular ecological insulation materials.

Environmentally friendly building materials for extension panels

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With extension panels, partition walls, wall and ceiling cladding can be easily created and the heat, impact sound and privacy protection in the room can be improved. But since they have direct or indirect contact with the air in the room, you have to consider some health criteria when choosing them. The binders used in particle board and OSB boards can, for example, have low emissions of formaldehyde and isocyanates. Gypsum, lime and cement are largely unproblematic and harmless to health. The is particularly environmentally friendly REA gypsum from STEAG, which is particularly ecologically advantageous because it is obtained as a waste product from flue gas desulphurisation systems. In interior construction, plaster of paris is used in the form of building plaster, such as plaster or filler, plasterboard and gypsum fiber boards.

Ecological aspects of windows

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There are also ecological aspects to consider when it comes to windows. Dangerous substances such as vinyl chloride or phthalates can outgas from plastic windows and when they are burned, hydrochloric acids and dioxins are formed. Good reasons that speak against the use of PVC in interiors. Multiple insulated wooden windows are currently experiencing an upswing, because they are much more environmentally friendly and, with correct treatment and care, a long service life is guaranteed.

Ecological floor coverings

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It is important with textile floor coverings that they do not have to be treated with chemical agents to protect against moths and beetles. However, a large number of natural floor coverings are available to you today. Parquet and plank floors are still among the most popular types of flooring because of their timeless elegance, ease of installation and versatility in appearance. Cork is also a good alternative for health-friendly flooring because it is sound-absorbing, pleasantly warm to the feet and insulating.

Ecological colors

environmentally friendly building materials wall paints-light green-paint rollers

For painting ceilings and walls, paints and plasters that contain organic solvents from vegetable raw materials should be used. Here are a few natural colors you might consider:

Clay paint – It consists exclusively of natural components, has intensive covering power and is free of harmful additives. For brushing, the powder is simply mixed with water. Depending on the desired color, appropriate color pigments are added. It is still breathable, moisture-regulating and odor-absorbing.

Natural resin emulsion paint – Important components of these versatile wall paints are natural resins, boron salts, vegetable oils and binders such as chalk and titanium dioxide. As a rule, the natural resin emulsion paints are solvent-free, can be thinned with water, and are washable and smudge-proof.

Silicate wall paint – The silicate paints are low-emission, solvent-free and are among the most durable paints for inside and outside. Due to their mineral components, they are considered particularly ecological and are a popular choice when it comes to sustainable materials for interiors. Due to their natural alkalinity, they have a disinfectant effect, do not provide a breeding ground for fungi and bacteria reduce the risk of mold growth.

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Lime paint against mold – Ready-to-use lime paints are now available from many natural paint manufacturers. Thanks to its moisture-regulating and disinfecting effect, the lime paint is particularly suitable for damp rooms. Its relatively low opacity can be mentioned as a disadvantage, which is why lime paints cannot be used to create strong colors.