Living Building Materials and Sustainable Construction

The contemporary construction industry is characterized by scientific research and the development of new methods for ensuring efficiency in terms of material usage and wastage. Living Building Materials (LBMs) are the marvels of scientific research in the construction industry that are all set to alter the composition of building materials and their usage. Trees are the living organism, this analogy in the future will also be used for the buildings as the LBMs will be a common tool of construction. The construction industry is considered to be one of the resource-intensive industries which do not correlate to sustainable practices.

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Against this backdrop, highlights the concept of Living Building Materials – a scientific revolution in the construction industry. According to the statistics, almost thirty percent of the building materials delivered on the site are wasted. Therefore, the LBMs are the most appropriate tool for ensuring sustainable construction.

What are Living Building Materials

LBMs are analogous to the human body, like a human body heals itself after suffering an injury or a scar, living building materials have the same property of self-healing. Therefore, such building materials are also called biological building materials owing to the microorganism present in their structures. The properties of such materials can help to heal the cracks along with combating toxins in the air.  The self-healing construction materials have to be altered according to the environmental conditions as external factors like moisture and temperature can impact the properties of such building materials. Mushrooms and fungus have provided a great breakthrough in the development of such materials owing to regenerative properties. Mushrooms and fungi contain mycelium which absorbs nutrients from the environment which makes it a significant component of LBMs. Owing to the sustainable features of mycelium it is going to be a game-changer in sustainable construction. Some of the examples include bio cement and self-replicating concrete.

Containing Pollution

A notion is attached to the housing and construction industry that these two contribute immensely to the pollution in the cities. It is a known fact that the cement industry is considered to be one of the major pollutants globally, according to the stats cement is responsible for emitting eight percent of the world’s total CO2. It will not be long before the same buildings will start to absorb toxins and pollutants from the air which will help to diminish health-related issues in the city. Courtesy of mycelium, the LBMs have not only the ability to self-heal but also to contain the pollution emanating in the cities. Not only the envelopes of the buildings, mycelium-based products have also great applications in the interiors of the buildings.

Reducing Input Costs

One of the important aspects of LBMs is that it has the ability to drastically reduce the costs of inputs used in the construction. For example, many people spend hefty amounts on maintaining and renovating the buildings, owing to the regenerative properties the cost of building maintenance and the cost of construction can be reduced simultaneously. Sometimes, the buildings have to be completely razed after their lifespan is over, due to the ability to heal the lifespans of the buildings will be increased which will help to overcome the construction waste and input costs. Among the many, a benefit of using mycelium-based construction materials is that they are fully biodegradable which makes them an important component of sustainable construction.

Appropriate for Insulation

Apart from being a conducive element for the maintenance of the buildings, LBMs are also appropriate for the insulation of indoors. The mycelium-based material has the ability to absorb more heat than the traditional materials made of fibreglass. Hence, these materials are replacing the use of fibreglass particularly in the insulation panels. Some of the properties make such materials conducive to fireproofing, making them water-resistant that corresponds to the health and safety of a house and its inhabitants. What makes these substances suitable for living environments is that they do not contain Petro based chemicals which can have harmful impacts on the environment and health alike.

Acoustic Properties

 Through scientific studies, it has also been proved that mycelium-based construction materials have also sound dampening properties. As noise pollution is a growing concern in the cities, new buildings can use such materials for reducing noise. It is estimated that mycelium-based materials can absorb the 75pc of the acoustic noise at 1000hz, the frequency equivalent to that of traffic in the cities. This proves that such materials have the property to become a significant part of sustainable construction owing to the combined properties of noise reduction and fireproofing. 

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