4 Sustainable Building Products Available in Greater Brisbane
Date7 May 2021
4 Sustainable Building Products Available in Greater Brisbane
If you’re like us, then you aspire to creating a unique build, flowing spaces that are beautiful, comfortable and most importantly, sustainable with low-impact to the environment. You begin your dream build, engage reputable architects and builders then gently realize that finding sustainable alternatives is, well.. hard. Perhaps that six-sided eco-friendly house built out of hemp you saw on Grand Designs is slightly out of reach.
Creating an eco-friendly home is as much about engaging local businesses as it is actually finding sustainable products and materials. Each city and region is unique with businesses offering materials unique to the needs of the area. This can be tough to navigate and more often than not, this navigation is done through third parties (architects, builders etc.) then presented to you… or not at all.
We’ve created a top 4 list of sustainable building products in the Greater Brisbane area that are affordable, sustainable with low-impact on the environment and reduce maintenance during the life of your home. These businesses employ sustainable practices and offer low-impact products for your build and we absolutely love what they’re doing.
Earth Friendly Concrete by Wagner’s Concrete
Concrete is the most popular building material not just because it is strong, mouldable, and long lasting – it also has a lot of thermal mass and conductivity. More and more concrete is being used as an alternative to traditional methods because of this. However the bottom line is that Portland cement, a part of concrete, is created by a carbon-heavy process and emits a lot of carbon into the atmosphere throughout its lifetime.
Earth Friendly Concrete or EFC by Wagner’s Concrete is a concrete alternative that completely replaces standard Portland cement. Instead, EFC uses a geopolymer binder system made from the chemical activation of two industrial waste by-products – blast furnace slag (waste from iron production) and fly ash (waste from coal fired power generation). This alternative eco-friendly binder technology reduces the carbon emissions associated with normal Portland cement by up to 70% and also has a much lower embodied energy! This means that not only is the manufacturing of this product eco-friendly, but during its lifetime, EFC emits far less carbon than ordinary cement.
We recently used EFC at David’s (Thirdson Construction Owner) own home renovation! Check it out:
Reclaimed and Architectural Timbers by Kennedy’s Timbers
When you think of recycled timber you often think of an old wooden board that looks rustic and weathered. Depending on your tastes, this look and feel isn’t for everyone. Kennedy’s Timbers offer a variety of different finishes to their recycled timber to fit your project scope.
Using timber in general as an alternative to floor covering like tiles or concrete is highly beneficial for several reasons:
- It’s proven to reduce allergens and improve air quality
- It effectively stabilizes indoor temperatures, therefore reducing the need for heating or cooling.
- Timber improves acoustics reducing that hollow echo sound from creating large open spaces.
- Timber floor surface are easily cleaned and very resistant to staining.
One last unique benefit to choosing timber is the density of Australian hardwoods. Their resistance to rot and decay make this choice of flooring a low maintenance long term option. The finish of the timber – Usually a Low VOC water based polyurethane coating can be sanded and re-applied at any stage in the floor’s lifetime. Alternatively, natural penetrating oil or waxes can be used which will not require sanding and can be re-applied when required to continue protecting the hard-wearing natural product. Timber doesn’t stain or fade easily and will last hundreds of years with regular use.
In our view timber is an absolute no brainer when it comes to choosing alternative materials.
Recycled & Sustainable Tiles by Earp Brothers
We love Earp Brothers long term commitment to their product and their whole hearted approach to making tiles a more sustainable product. They have an end-of-life agreement ensuring that all tiles after use are recycled into other building materials such as aggregates after being crushed in an industrial facility.
Earp Brothers also offer a range of glass mosaics that are made from 98% recycled glass, rapidly reducing the demand for new materials. Of course, they come in a variety of patterns and colours to suite a variety of tastes
All this plus they are long time locals of Brisbane. Family operated since 1883. They are Australia’s first tile supplier to achieve Global GreenTag Level A and GoldPlus. Independently certified by Global GreenTag and the Living Future Institute. Their tile partnerships with Italian and Spanish tile manufactures Porcelanosa Group, Keope and Geotiles import some of the world’s most low environmental impact tiles. Bravo Earp Brothers!
Comfort Plus Glass by Viridian Glass
Windows and glazing is one of the most important areas of consideration in any design for our climate. The amount of natural light and ventilation of a home is critical to creating a feeling of comfort and warmth.
Using large expanses of glass in a design can add a challenge to controlling indoor temperatures and circulation. That’s where Viriadian’s ranges of Comfort Plus brings high performance or more control of the levels of heat gain and loss into your home. ComfortPlus™ gives you improved insulation and a choice of solar control compared to ordinary glass – so you can enjoy the ideal temperature in your space.
Manufacturing their glass in sites across Australia, Viridian are global leaders in technical production of glass and recycling their waste for insulation and other building materials.
ViridianGlass uses a high proportion of recycled glass content in its production, typically 15% in float glass, which assists to reduce energy consumption and with today’s advancements, glass can be suited for a wide range of utilities, not just traditional doors and windows.
Some incorporations include coatings for solar and thermal performance as well as specialist interlayers in laminated glass for noise, fire and human impact safety, and for variable light transmission. These advancements provide a range of products that can be tailored to specific project requirements.
A Balanced Approach
Every building material comes with an environmental cost of some sort. Careful analysis and selection of materials and the way they are combined can yield significant improvements in the comfort and cost effectiveness of your home, and greatly reduce its life cycle environmental impact.*
So the real challenge is finding a balance. Some don’t take comfort as an overarching priority in their build and others focus on longevity and low maintenance throughout a build’s life. Where do you fit in? Consider carefully how the above products could benefit your home.
We’ll leave you with our go to checklist when it comes to finding sustainable products and practices to offer our clients:
- Can I reduce the demand of new materials in this project?
- Is this material made from a finite resource?
- What environmental impact does this material have to be produced and disposed of after use?
- Where is it manufactured and how much waste is produced from install?
- What maintenance is required over the life of this product?
- What thermal value does this material provide for the building?
- What is its recyclability in the future?
Are you building or renovating in Brisbane? Are you passionate about beautiful homes that are sustainably crafted? Talk to us about your dream build or renovation, we want to hear from you!