By embracing eco-friendly living and building green homes, not only will you contribute to the preservation of the environment, but you’ll also create a healthy and safe home for your family. Owing to the expanding eco-consciousness and technological advances, green materials and eco-friendly construction are becoming more and more affordable, completely eliminating the need for hazardous materials, such as asbestos.
Asbestos and its dangers
Asbestos is a silicate mineral that occurs naturally and consists of tiny fibres. Due to its durability and resistance to fire, it was one of the most commonly used building materials in the period between 1940s and 1980s. Asbestos was used for home insulation, roofing, piping and even automobile parts. However, it was proven that asbestos is extremely hazardous when disturbed and can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer and asbestosis, which led to its ban.
Nonetheless, a majority of homes built before 1980s are highly likely to contain asbestos and more than 50% of homes today may include asbestos-based materials. While asbestos isn’t harmful until it’s disturbed, any type of home renovation or asbestos removal can lead to its release into the air.
Whether your home was built prior to 1980s or you’re planning to build a new one, knowing where asbestos may occur can help you stay safe and healthy. In older homes, it may be found in vinyl tiles and coverings, flue pipes, textured paint, artificial brick cladding, exterior fibre cement cladding, architectural cement pipe columns, corrugated cement roofing, ceiling coating, gutters, rainwater pipes, as well as insulation in stoves and old heaters.
When it comes to homes built after 1990s, they are unlikely to contain asbestos. However, when purchasing old or unverified building materials, you can never know for sure whether they are asbestos-free. Therefore, opting for green, sustainable building materials is the safest solution because they are completely natural and toxin-free. By focusing on sustainable materials, not only will you help save natural resources, but you’ll also increase your savings in the long-run because these materials promote energy-efficiency.
Eco-friendly building materials
There’s a range of green alternatives to asbestos/based materials that will help you build a safe, healthy and energy-efficient home. When it comes to insulation, where asbestos is commonly found, the most popular solutions include, cotton fibre, cellulose, a thermal ceramic insulator and Icynene foam. Cotton fibre is made from recycled material and treated to be resistant to fire, which makes it a great insulation material, as well as Icynene foam which is water-based and completely toxin-free.
As for other building materials, there’s a growing tendency towards using waste-based materials. Thus, when choosing the materials for your next project, you should consider opting for recycled products and contribute to waste minimisation. Among widely used eco-friendly building materials based on waste are recycled cork for flooring and panels, VOC-free recycled glass tile, toxin-free recycled steel, recycled plastic for building blocks, ashcrete, a mixture of cement and ash by-product from coal combustion, etc.
Apart from being eco-friendly, these building materials are processed without the application of any hazardous substances. Therefore, when opting for green materials, you’re ensuring that your home is built using toxin-free products. In addition, eco-friendly materials can significantly reduce your energy consumption on a yearly basis. For example, by using recycled steel and concrete for your interior walls, you’ll eliminate the need for the use of maltreated wood or asbestos-based insulation materials, while still providing your home with high-quality insulation.
If you’ve decided to renovate your old home, you need to approach the process carefully. Since it’s highly likely that your home contains asbestos, it’s advisable that you seek professional help. For example, an agency for asbestos removal in Sydney provides identification services first and then efficiently and safely removes asbestos. Thus, you should hire experts to ensure your and your family’s safety and avoid disturbing asbestos due to improper removal.
Green and sustainable materials are a safe and healthy replacement for asbestos-based products that will help you create a toxin-free environment for you and your family.
Published by Emma Lawson