Building Green

Property developers and home builders are beginning to make environmentally friendly choices when deciding on construction materials for houses and villas. These days choosing green building materials is no longer necessarily an expensive or daring option. The green building movement has come a long way in recent years and made huge advances in lowering costs and raising performance.

Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about their health and the environment and are now aware of the volatile organic compounds in their carpet, paint and wood. The improvement in sustainable materials, heightened residential demand for green construction and more government support are pushing the green building movement forward like never before.

In Thailand the ‘Temple of a Million Bottles’, which is what Wat Pa Mah Kaew Temple in Sisaket province is affectionately called is a dramatic example of using sustainable materials to construct a building. However, there are many ways in which to ‘green’ your construction without having to resort to something quite so extreme.

Waterproof coatings made from natural products can be just as long-lasting as those produced by the chemical industry. They can be used with brick, stone, wood and almost any other building material. A small amount of research should turn up a supplier in your area.

Recycled glass tiles and bamboo flooring and panels are also good options. Bamboo is a plant which grows to maturity in just a few years compared to the slow growth of trees. It is a hardy and durable building material which also looks aesthetically pleasing in most homes.

Special paints, carpeting and caulking can be chosen which have low emissions of toxic fumes. Low insulating glass windows and green roofs are other recent developments which are available in SE Asia. Many companies are now specialising in producing such green construction materials and are also willing to either put them into your home or advise you how to do so.

Panels made from paper flakes, adobe, baked earth, coconut, wood fiber and sandstone are sustainable building options, as well as using lumber certified to be sustainably managed, straw, recycled stone and metal. Building materials should be extracted and manufactured locally to minimize the energy embedded in their transportation. This is something that is particularly possible in SE Asia as there are many local industries supporting the sustainable manufacture of building materials.

Aesthetically green architecture is also about a building which is in harmony with natural features and resources surrounding the site. Well designed buildings also help reduce the amount of waste generated by the occupants by providing on-site solutions such as compost bins and grey water storage facilities.

By supporting the bio-based products industry you are helping future generations and creating an environment free of harmful chemicals. In addition your support will help increase better economies of scale and lower costs to make this a compelling and viable alternative to the chemicals industry. The aim is that in the future the term ‘green’ won’t be necessary as it will become standard practice.