In the era of climate change, more and more people are looking to unique solutions when creating their homes. While many will draw the line at simply adding solar panels to their homes, some families are taking it a step further and building their home of entirely recycled materials. Despite seeming like a far-fetched idea, these homes are actually shockingly doable and can help reduce your carbon footprint down to next to nothing.
Why Waste?There are plenty of options out there for green construction, and with the U.S. Construction market being worth approximately $1,162 billion, builders know diversifying their construction materials is good for business. So what exactly is pushing people to use recycled materials in their homes? The answer depends on what style of construction you're looking at. There are a variety of types of recycled homes, with people using everything from salvaged building materials that you'd expect to see in a home all the way to plastic bottles and old tires. For some, building with recycled materials means getting a home that looks similar to conventional homes at a fraction of the cost. However, for others that tend to use more creative materials, building a home from recycled materials can be a way of expressing themselves. The ingenuity it takes to build a home from recycled materials certainly is a unique way of making a statement.
Construction ConcernsNot only are these homes often cheaper to build compared to conventional homes, but they also address a growing problem in the fight against climate change: construction waste. Construction projects produce as much as 40% of all American waste, and normally, that waste ends up sitting in a landfill, rather than getting used again. Most of this material is still perfectly good to use, like wood that's cut to size for use in construction. The remaining wood, while often an odd size, is still perfectly good to use, but ends up sitting in landfills. This wood makes up roughly 20% to 30% of construction and demolition waste. By making use of these materials, recycled homes are reducing carbon footprints of families everywhere just in their construction alone. But the reduced waste during construction of the home isn't the only environmental benefit.
Sustainable StyleBecause many of these recycled homes are designed with maximum energy efficiency in mind, many include features that help them reduce their environmental impact long-term. For example, not all recycled homes are 100% recycled; many include some new components that can be recycled at the end of their use. This includes components like metal roofs, which may contain anywhere from 30 to 60% of recycled metal content, and are 100% recyclable at the end of their service lives.
Additionally, many recycled homes go out of their way to integrate other green architecture concepts that help them reduce their energy use. Many include large areas of glass and window that create a passive solar heating effect in the home, reducing heating costs. These homes can make changes as simple as changing the type of lightbulbs used. LEDs use only 15% of the energy a standard halogen uses while providing up to 85% more light. The possibilities are endless, and vary based on the style of construction used in the home.
Would you consider moving your family into a home made of recycled materials? Would you look for a more conventional style, or something more creative?