InSite | Industry Professionals Offer Insight into Eco-friendly Building

Industry Professionals Offer Insight into Eco-friendly Building

The UK is in the midst of two separate crises: housing and environmental.


Of course, the environment crisis is a global issue, but consideration must be taken by all countries to work towards reducing carbon emissions when trying to build as many homes as necessary. The built environment sector in particular is culpable, contributing to around 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions, according to the UK Green Building Council.


One way in which the industry can look to reduce their carbon footprint is by using eco-friendly materials. Sell House Fast asked construction professionals, engineers and architects to predict which eco-friendly building materials would see an increase in usage both commercial and residential building throughout 2020.




74% of the experts asked believed that bamboo would have the greatest increase is usage throughout 2020.


Bamboo is already widely used across the globe, particularly in continents with warmer and more humid climates. Its durability and resilience make it an ideal material for construction. It can be used in conjunction with stronger materials, such as steel, to create Mortise and Tenon joints, and looks stunning when used effectively.


Usage in the UK has always been low for a number of reasons, such as the environmental and monetary cost of importation, as well as much of Europe’s weather not being suitable for bamboo being used as a principal material.


Despite this, experts still believe that bamboo will see a large increase in UK construction this year.


Take a look at Dezeen’s top 10 bamboo architecture projects for examples of how this eco-friendly material can be used in construction.


Straw bales


Following bamboo is straw bales, with 69% of industry insiders believing they will have a considerable presence in UK construction in 2020.


A surplus by-product of farming, straw is cheap and easily renewable. When built properly, straw houses are fire-resistant, waterproof and very well insulated.


Some different types of straw bale construction include: ‘non-structural’ or ‘in-fill’, in which you make the frame to support the roof first, then pierce the bales with rebar as you rise; ‘structural bale construction’, which entails stacking bales together in a running bond pattern; and ‘Straw and Clay’ construction, whereby you mix clay and water, add straw, and then pack it into a wooden frame.




Experts had much lower expectations for cork, which just 38% predicting an increase in its usage throughout 2020, despite ‘The Cork House’ being shortlisted for a Stirling Prize in 2019.


Cork’s properties make it a useful material for building, such as its lightness, resilience, permeability and its fire retardant qualities.


Despite this though, experts are not backing it to be widely used in upcoming construction projects. 


MD of Sell House Fast, Robby Du Toit, said of the research: “The property industry is more eco-conscious than ever before. This has led to a surge in the innovation and development of eco-friendly building materials. As professionals become better acquainted with the properties and benefits of different eco-friendly building materials, their adoption rate in construction projects can expect to see a positive increase. This research certainly highlights the eco-friendly building materials that will have a big impact in 2020.”


Please note that Premier Guarantee may not cover these materials. Please check our website for more information.