Explore a Combination of Materials in Building Sustainable Construction Practices
Authors: Henriques, Pedro G.; Vaz-Serra, Paulo
The construction sector is associated with significant environmental impacts, being a major
consumer of raw materials and energy, and generating a lot of pollution. Therefore, it is essential for the
industry to move towards more sustainable construction practices. The selection of building materials is
a relevant factor in sustainability, nevertheless, it seems that the industry is more focused on other
aspects, such as speed of construction and cost reduction, rather than careful choice of materials.
Research through the life cycle assessment methodology has identified that all stages of construction
introduce environmental, social and economic impacts. Within the theme of sustainability, there are some
important concepts that can also be applied to construction, such as recycling, which is converting waste
materials into raw materials to produce new products, and reusing, which uses materials or products
again without going through industrial processes and transformations. Sustainable materials must have
all the benefits of a conventional product and still have a sustainable performance. Two of these natural
materials, bamboo and cork, are alternative construction materials, and when used together, produce
new elements for building construction that can be used on sustainable constructive systems. This
research proposal introduces the concept of using those materials during the construction phase.