The Best Ways to Source Green Building Materials

published Mar 24, 2022
2 min read

Humanity altered nearly half of Earth’s surface by covering it with various structures. The construction industry harms the environment by contributing to climate change and biodiversity loss. In response, engineers are targeting environmental degradation by determining where to source green building materials.

Many manufacturers are adopting low-impact production methods to minimize pollution. Builders can also alter their development techniques and recover valuable materials. Construction professionals can shrink their carbon footprints and cater to eco-consumers by assessing the causes of degradation.

Net-Zero Emission Agendas Targeting Construction

The United Nations developed a global sustainability goal challenging greenhouse gas emissions. The net-zero coalition plans to protect natural resources and improve conservation efforts. Many countries are adopting the sustainability agenda and targeting different industries.

Net-zero emission agendas highlight the construction industry because of its adverse ecological effects. Building operations and construction processes contribute to nearly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Three materials — concrete, steel and aluminum — are responsible for 23% of emissions worldwide.

The least sustainable construction material is concrete. It also covers a significant quantity of the built environment. The manufacture of steel creates carbon emissions and toxic wastewater that contains carcinogens like ammonium and cyanide.

Construction professionals can protect themselves and the environment by utilizing the top ways to source green building materials.


One way to target manufacturing pollution is minimizing the industry’s reliance on it. Professionals can use reclaimed goods rather than constructing buildings with new materials. They can source green options using the deconstruction method.

Deconstruction is the process of taking apart a building and salvaging its materials. The practice is significantly more sustainable than demolition. Individuals can repair and repaint materials to create new structures.

Renewable Energy

Another sustainable solution to manufacturing pollution is renewable energy. Many metals like aluminum require high heat in their production processes, and most of the power used derives from fossil fuels.

Manufacturers can shrink their carbon footprints by replacing fossil fuel energy sources with solar power. Producing green aluminum and other metals is more cost-effective because solar is one of the most affordable power sources.

Other manufacturers are creating construction materials from hydropower. They convert kinetic energy from water into electricity. The power source releases zero greenhouse gas emissions, shrinking a material’s carbon footprint. Manufacturers produce nearly 50% of aluminum with coal, contributing to emissions.

Construction professionals can challenge pollution production by sourcing green aluminum and other materials using renewable energy.

3D Printing

Another way to access eco-friendly materials is through 3D printing. Conventional manufacturing and transportation processes generate atmospheric and surface-level pollution. 3D printers challenge emissions and contamination by synthetically developing construction materials.

The technology uses wood filaments to print structural beams, doors, frames and other building components. Some printing professionals also use bamboo and cork to minimize deforestation effects. Bamboo is an abundant resource that grows quickly and requires few resources.

Recycled Materials

Ecological engineers discovered a way to develop insulation from recycled newspapers. They treat the material with borate to minimize its flammability. The additive also keeps pests away, which preserves a structure’s stability over time.

Construction professionals can additionally team up with local recycling facilities to access used materials. Giving building parts a second life shrinks their carbon footprints and preserves the global ecosystem. Individuals may also source green building materials without contaminants.


Many paints and adhesives contain surface-level pollutants called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs contribute to ground-level ozone, which minimizes visibility levels and causes biodiversity loss.

People who inhale polluted air experience various health problems. Residents in high smog regions may develop asthma, lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses. Sourcing VOC-free building materials can protect humans and the environment.

Energy-Efficient Components

Construction workers can also source energy-efficient building components to minimize construction and operation pollution. They may place light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs in buildings to reduce power-related greenhouse gas emissions. LED lights are about 75% more energy-efficient than conventional, incandescent bulbs.

The lights also last about 25 times longer than incandescent versions. Increasing a bulb’s longevity can reduce landfill waste over time.

The Benefits of Sourcing Green Building Materials

Construction companies that use green materials can gain a leg up on their competitors. Eco-consumers make up a significant portion of the market, demanding low-impact products and services. Builders can cater to this demographic to improve their profitability.

Emily Newton

Emily Newton is a manufacturing journalist who regularly covers the industry trends. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized. Subscribe to read more from Emily.