When you look around any city, you notice that most buildings are made of concrete. It looks and feels as if concrete is the glue that keeps urban cities together. Still, that doesn’t mean that concrete is the only material used when commercial building is concerned. With the development of new technologies and materials, there are different options for construction available on the market today.

Going green – straw bales

Even though it’s highly unlikely that there will be straw buildings in the city streets anytime soon, straw bales have become a rather popular building material for building homes. They are environmentally friendly and when sealed properly, they provide incredibly high levels of insulation for both hot and cold climates. Keeping in mind that straw is a renewable resource, it doesn’t come as a surprise that straw bale building has gained popularity in past few years, seeing as they can be used as a replacement for stone, concrete, and wood; not to mention that they are very affordable, too.

Recycled steel

People tend to use wooden beams when they’re building houses, but you might want to choose steel beams instead. Not only is steel more durable and able to withstand both high winds and earthquakes, but you can even go green and pick beams made of recycled steel. As far as commercial building is concerned, if you have a specific design in mind, you can have your builders order customized steel beams and panels which will fit perfectly with the design you thought about. The best thing is that you will be protecting the planet and the environment if you opt for frames made of recycled steel, as these use material taken from scrap cars.

Insulating concrete forms

The technology used in this building process might be just over half a century old, but its energy-saving properties are so useful that people are beginning to use it more and more. First you have to put two layers of insulation material in place, and after that you have to fill the space in between them with cast-in-place concrete. Thus you will get sturdy concrete walls with excellent insulation which will become a permanent part of the structure and remain in place for many years to come. Not only is this technology good for freestanding walls, but it can also be used in building blocks too. It is reported by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that buildings made with this technology were able to save 20 percent more energy than wood-frame buildings in Chicago.

Lightweight bricks

Bricks are as common as concrete and equally versatile, and they are used all over the world for both buildings and pavement. However, today bricks are used more as a decorative surface than a roadway material in pavement. They are convenient as they are easily laid flat and usually bonded to form a firm structure which is stable and strong at the same time. Most bricks are approximately eight inches long and four inches thick, and there are many types to choose from: burnt clay, sand lime, concrete, engineering, fly ash clay bricks, etc. Alex International for Mining and Refractories (AIMR) offers lightweight bricks best used for insulation as they have a low capacity for shrinkage and great structural strength.

There’s a lot to think about before you pick the perfect material for your commercial construction project: you have to think of the price, but also about what the purpose of your building will be. Whichever material you choose, try not to save money on safety and durability and always choose quality over quantity. After all, you’re not building a simple garden shed in the back of your garden, but a building which should stand for decades to come.