In today’s increasingly environmentalist world, more and more people are getting creative with the ways they choose to go green. For some, that means starting from the ground up, literally! Home buyers and contractors these days are using unique techniques and materials to build their homes in an environmentally-friendly way. Here are a few of the most unusual materials people are using in home construction today.

  • Straw and Clay: Strawbale construction homes use, as the name would suggest, bales of straw as the building blocks for construction. Bales are stacked in lego-block fashion to form the walls, and then an outer layer, usually clay, stucco, or plaster, is used to seal the walls. People often adopt this form of building because of the renewable nature of the materials involved, limiting the impact of construction on the environment.
  • Recycled Tires: Earth-rammed tire construction uses recycled tires filled with dirt to build the primary load-bearing structure of the home. Often these homes will be built into a hillside, earning the nickname “earthships.” Because tires are a rather unconventional shape for building with, many of the homes will also be unusual in design, using more organic shapes and structures rather than the more geometric layouts of conventionally built homes.
  • ICF Building Blocks: The “ICF” in ICF building blocks stands for “insulating concrete form.” The hollow blocks are stacked together, creating the form for the wall, and the form is filled with concrete to give the building stability. The rebar between the side panels of each block provides reinforcement for the structure. This style of construction typically results in a conventional-looking home, but with added lifespan and energy efficiency.
  • Hempcrete:Hempcrete, as the name implies, functions a lot like concrete. However, this unique material is made with waste products from hemp, making it entirely renewable. While it cannot act alone as a load-bearing structure and will require framing, hempcrete functions as insulation, OSB, and drywall. While you can add extra finishing, doing so is entirely optional and depends on the appearance you want your building to have. Because this technique uses biodegradable waste material, it is an extremely environmentally friendly technique that results in little waste from the construction process.

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