5 great green building materials

hemp farmChoosing eco-friendly design materials is always challenging.

Despite the claims made by many brands there are few materials that are environmentally friendly all the way through the supply chain.

The following materials will always need to be treated with skepticism, but in general are greener than the rest.


Also known as manila, abaca is a species of Banana — though unfortunately inedible. The fibers are used to make to make a variety of specialized rope and paper as well as clothes, mattresses and even parts of laptops.

Abaca’s green credentials are impressive; first it is rapidly renewable resource, with each plant being harvested for around ten years, before being replaced. The farming is typically done by small farmers rather than large companies.

Perhaps most impressive of all though is that Abaca fibers are being used to replace glass fibers in several applications, with energy savings of roughly 60%.


Bamboo is famous for having a wide range of uses, from construction applications to being used for keyboards and clothes.

The harvesting of bamboo is incredibly green as its fast rate of growth means there is no need for toxic pesticides and fertilizers. This fast growth rate also means that it sequesters more carbon than other plants and can grow in soil other crops can’t.

But you need to be careful.

The demand for bamboo has led to bad farming practices in many areas; with forests being cleared and unnecessary pesticides being use. To know if bamboo products live up to their green credentials you should only buy FSC certified products.


You knew this was coming. Hemp is the second most famous plant in the cannabis family.

Fortunately, (for most people) hemp can’t get you high.

What it can do is grow fast and help make a ton of products — from bricks, to clothing and fuel. Hemp’s biggest selling point is that it is a ‘mop crop’ that removes contaminants (such as excess phosphorus and radiation) from the soil it is grown in.

Sea grass

Sea grass is a recent addition to the list of green materials. It is mainly used as a replacement for wicker in rattan furniture and rugs. Because sea grass farming has only recently become commercially viable, conservationists have ensured that it is harvested in an environmentally friendly way.

The biggest selling point for sea grass is that its cultivation has proved to be environmentally beneficial as it stabilizes the sea bed, preventing coastal erosion and establishing new ecosystems.


Perhaps the most controversial choice here, wood can be a surprisingly eco-friendly material. Not only does wood sequester carbon for hundreds or even thousands of years, but it can be reused and recycled extensively.

When using wooden products the greenest option is to use reclaimed wood. Not only does this prevent more trees being felled, but the reclaimed wood is often stronger and more stable than fresh cut lumber due to being exposed to more changes in temperature and moisture.

The problem is that wood is frequently over exploited. The most obvious example of this is illegal and unregulated logging in rainforests. But when wood is environmentally harvested then it is one of the greenest materials available. For example, FSC approved sources ensure that all of the trees harvested are replaced, helping to maintain the biodiversity of the forests.

This includes avoiding planting monocultures of fast growing trees such as pines, but rather maintaining a diversity of species through coppicing, for example.

None of these materials are guaranteed to be green, but they are more likely to be than other alternatives. Even though I only evaluated the harvesting of the raw material itself, an even more complete eco-evaluation could be made through considering the life cycle of it.

This would include  harvesting the raw materials, processing them, manufacturing, distribution, use and disposal of the final product.

What is your favorite green building and design material right now?

[Photo: CSLP/Flickr]

Daniel Frank is a blogger and writer who is particularly interested in green issues, particularly corporate responsibility. He is currently writing on behalf of Wooden Blinds Direct.магазин шинBugattiindian creekGARMIN GPSMAP 62 stcbank de binary videoооо полигон адресхоум кредит банк бесплатный номермикрозаймы в сочи адресаденьги в долг ростелекомкредиты сургутрецепты тейкоcheap escort singaporeукраинына тудейlatest web application development technologiesgeometry dash скачать на андроидeisa-recoveryprestigeoption broker

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  • Ronald

    Hello my name is
    Ronald, I’m Spanish entrepreneur, I am dedicated to the transformation of hemp
    fiber long and / or short, Pulp, Seeds, etc.. but we can transform the fibers,
    their specific conditions of their spinning, or you can send us a sample of how
    they want.

    If you tell us the quantity you need and where you want to pick it up, we pass
    a quote of your order, without any commitment, now I am booking up to 1,000
    tons of fiber.

    If you are interested, please contact us and we will provide all information
    requested by your technical department.

    Fibers specific data are;

    Raw material: 98% Clean Hemp

    Place of Origin: Spain

    NOT use the roots

    Formats: RAW or as desired by the customer as retting or Shelling

    Cuts of 10 centimeters

    90 inches long

    Minimum: 2.400 kilos

    Packing: According to buyer’s requirement

    Delivery time: 90 days 30

    I’m also looking for farmers who want to enter into joint ownership with my
    company, or develop self-cultivation, (getting more benefits), in the
    development of industrial hemp cultivation.

    I am developing a processing of industrial hemp fiber for ropes and wires and
    pulp for paper mills, which is the main demand of our customers in Europe and
    America, and we are studying the industrial growth of other commodities such as
    oil, thread seeds, Horchata, etc.

    We accept a minimum of 7-10 hectares, for the farmer to make your tests with
    different seeds, since according to the climate of the area, some are better
    developed than others, but I’m looking for more than 300 hectares.

    After testing, we have two important references, the first by us, to know what
    kind of seed germinates best, and the second for the farmer, who sees the
    profitability of its production.

    DECREE of the best price of seed, certified legal for use in Europe in the
    processing of industrial hemp in different materials, in addition to technology
    machinery for harvest and processing.

    The most important thing is that we signed a contract for processing, where the
    farmer marketing we ensure total raw material, obtained by processing machines
    in our factory, we agreed a minimum price for their product, to ensure the
    benefit to the farmer, but may vary at best, according to market, but we talk about
    revenue of roughly 4700 per year per hectare, the farmer.

    If you are interested and meet the conditions, I can give you a financial
    estimate of your benefits as a mediator, and the responsibilities of the
    company to the farmer.

    I also take and I tell him, in Spain, we have a 5-year industry Industrial Hemp
    and Cellulose Fibers, which is growing in Spain and America, our studies
    confirm that by 2013, 90,000 kilos of seeds need to grow more of 1500 hectares
    in the first stage of the year.

    And I wonder if you are selling your own seed germination, for now I’m bought
    to France and Belgium, but I think we could even do tests with ours and theirs.

    We need to have some documents from his company (Certificates of Genetics) that
    allows us to say with customs, seed input to the countries where we are
    planting, mainly Spain.

    They could give us:

    • Genetic Certified Seed, explaining that is industrial hemp and its content in
    TCH is 0.02% or less.

    • Price of the different varieties.

    • All types of documents that help me in negotiations with the authorities of
    each country, explaining its origin and genetic as Industrial Hemp Fiber Yarn
    and Strings, plus Cellulose

    • seeds have evidence for cold climates, such as Europe and strong germination
    in the field, with optimal climates for plants can be planted.

    • Your experience can help us, in the export of seeds.

    Attached Images plantations we have in Andalusia.

    Awaiting your news, Sincerely

    Ronald Coquis.


    Sales Department.

    00 34 648130624

    Skype: lacasadenoah