Use of renewable building materials in residential construction – a review
Authors: Coulson, J. ; Fuller, R.
The development of mass-produced environmentally-benign housing is one of the critical factors in the transition to global sustainability. Such housing will need to be constructed from renewable and/or recycled materials, be conditioned using minimal or no non-renewable energy, and be affordable. The universal need for such built environment resource stewardship is urgent. In developing countries, the requirement is to shelter growing populations, and in industrialised countries, there is a need for an alternative to the current resource and energy-intensive material usage in housing. While there are some good surveys of building materials made from renewable resources, such as the BEDP Environment Design Guide Pro 11 by Gelder (2002), there does not appear to be a comprehensive database of these materials linked to abundant and reliable supply. This paper reviews the current availability and potential usage of renewable materials applicable to Australian mainstream residential construction. It concludes that the current state of publicly available information is dispersed and embedded in multiple sources with variance in detail, incomplete access and uncertain comparison across the sources.