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Sustainable materials: the key to future construction

3 minutes of reading

Improving thermal insulation, reducing the carbon footprint, optimising energy performance… The solution to all these linked objectives lies in the design phase with the choice of materials. A dilemma or a boon?

Chantier en bois

At the outset of ER 2020, the choice of materials in construction and renovation projects is essential. There are multiple challenges: creating cities, buildings and infrastructure that are more pleasant, more energy-independent, smarter and more sustainable.

What is a sustainable material?

Sustainable material:

  • has a small environmental footprint;
  • enables sustainable management of the resource it is made with or requires;
  • promotes local development;
  • ensures a healthy habitat for occupants;
  • is composed of renewable materials;
  • does not emit any toxic products that are dangerous to health throughout its life cycle, such as formaldehyde or VOCs.
  • can be recycled at the end of its life.

Diverse uses in the construction sector

The importance of sustainable “green” materials lies in their use at every stage of construction: for flooring, walls and insulation, but also for decoration including paint and floor coverings. We have made a list of five examples which are positive for users and the environment.

Construction

Hempcrete

Used in green construction, this natural mixture of hemp, water and lime is lightweight and insulates effectively.

Advantages:

  • For all types of buildings including public buildings and historical monuments
  • High thermal resistance
  • Vapor permeability
  • High acoustic absorption
  • Comfort in summer

Porotherm blocks

Clay blocks that are hard-wearing and provide high thermal performance. Cooler in summer, they also reduce heating costs in winter.

Advantages:

  • Humidity is regulated so there is no condensation in the walls, preventing mould.
  • More comfortable thanks to thermal inertia, avoiding temperature variations in the residence.
  • Resistant to fire, rodents and water.

Cellular concrete

80% air, cellular concrete is lightweight, easy to use and particularly effective for insulation.

Advantages:

  • Five times more effective for insulation than traditional breeze blocks.
  • Various sizes: cubes and specialised shapes.
  • Quick building.

Wood

Natural and renewable, wood reconciles controlling CO2 emissions with quality results for both construction and renovation.

Advantages:

  • Low water use
  • Controlled impact – grey energy, waste, etc.
  • Lightweight and durable
  • High thermal performance
  • Quick building

Decoration

Paint that reduces the environmental footprint in construction

“Circouleurs paints are made with recycled materials. Used like traditional paint, they consume less resources and avoid unnecessary waste. Bouygues Construction uses this product whenever possible,” explains Thierry Juif, Environment and Eco-Design Director at Bouygues Construction.