Do you wish to live in a home that boasts high energy performance and comfort? If your answer is yes, know that you are not alone…
And for good reason, eco-construction or sustainable construction is increasingly sought after for its environmental virtues. But then, what is sustainable construction? What are its benefits and drawbacks, and how is it essential for preserving the environment?
Discover everything you need to know about this responsible construction approach!
The Urgency of Sustainable Construction in France
In 2021, the Ministry of Ecological Transition stated that the building sector in France was responsible for over 123 million tons of CO2 emissions. This represents no less than one-third of the country’s total emissions. This alarming statistic underscores the urgent need to transition towards sustainable construction.
Faced with this realization, urgent reevaluation is imperative. It is precisely through the development of sustainable construction that environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions emerge.
Standards and Regulations for Sustainable Construction
Also known as “Green Building“, sustainable construction aims to combine environmental and social concerns. Its objective is to reduce the impact of buildings on the environment, whether in new construction or renovation projects. This encompasses the entire process, from material selection to various construction phases, and even their daily use.
The implementation of this concrete vision is governed by the Environmental Regulation 2020 (RE 2020), which came into effect on January 1, 2021. This regulation imposes strict standards on industry players, requiring that sustainable construction provides a higher quality of life compared to conventional constructions.
As a result, builders are required to prioritize natural, recyclable, and preferably local materials. Furthermore, they must ensure that the entire lifecycle of these materials, from purchase to potential demolition, has a limited carbon impact.
Sustainable construction is also regulated by other environmental standards such as the BBC (Low Consumption Building) and HQE (High Environmental Quality) certification. These standards aim to ensure controlled energy consumption, thermal comfort, and environmental preservation throughout the building’s lifecycle.
Materials Used in Sustainable Construction
In the ongoing search for sustainable solutions in the construction sector, various materials have been developed to meet the needs of eco-construction. Here are some concrete examples of sustainable materials that are increasingly favored in the building industry:
“Monomur” Brick wall
This clay-based material ensures high and lasting thermal performance. Thanks to its ability to preserve coolness in summer and promote heating savings in winter, monomur brick offers increased comfort in housing. Additionally, its humidity regulation eliminates the risk of condensation and mold in walls, ensuring a healthy living environment for occupants.
Recognized as a natural and renewable material, timber frame combines low CO2 emissions with quality in both new constructions and renovations. By using wood from FSC or PEFC certified sources, it contributes to reducing carbon footprint while offering excellent thermal performance.
Comprising 80% air, cellular concrete is a lightweight and easy-to-install material with exceptional insulation properties. Being five times more insulating than traditional concrete blocks, it contributes to improved energy efficiency in buildings. Its use significantly reduces heating and cooling needs while enhancing indoor comfort.
The Advantages of Sustainable Construction
There are numerous advantages to eco-friendly construction. Firstly, it helps preserve the environment through the use of non-polluting materials, reducing carbon emissions and promoting low energy consumption.
Building occupants benefit from a healthy environment with optimal thermal and acoustic insulation, all while enjoying reasonable energy bills. Furthermore, sustainable construction promotes job creation, especially in the renewable energy sector.
The sustainable materials used exhibit equivalent or superior characteristics compared to traditional solutions:
- Their remarkable thermal capacity provides effective protection against cold and heat, contributing to energy-efficient buildings.
- They are easily recyclable and often fit into the circular economy, reducing their environmental impact.
- By naturally regulating humidity (when no waterproof barrier is used) and emitting no toxic gases, these materials improve indoor air quality, preserving occupants’ health.
Some disadvantages to consider
On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to consider. The high initial cost of construction is one of the main challenges of sustainable construction. Indeed, the use of eco-friendly materials and renewable energy systems can result in additional expenses compared to conventional construction methods.
However, it is essential to view these costs as a long-term investment. The energy savings and environmental benefits offered by sustainable construction can translate into significant savings on energy bills in the future.
Another drawback is related to material availability. Some sustainable materials may be rarer or less commonly used in the market, making their procurement more challenging and leading to longer wait times. This can also lead to increased costs if materials need to be imported from distant regions.
Nevertheless, with the growing construction industry’s focus on sustainability, more and more suppliers are developing solutions to meet the increasing demand for these materials.
Despite these drawbacks, it is crucial to keep in mind that sustainable construction represents a responsible and environmentally friendly approach.
Conclusion: Why Choose Sustainable Construction?
Sustainable construction, or Green Building, is a promising path towards a more ecological future. The benefits, such as environmental preservation, optimal comfort, and reduced carbon footprint, outweigh the challenges such as cost and material availability. Opting for sustainable construction contributes to the fight against climate change and the preservation of natural resources.
By promoting the use of natural, recyclable, and local materials, as well as renewable energy systems, sustainable construction offers numerous benefits. These include environmental preservation, low energy consumption, a healthy indoor environment, and optimal comfort for occupants.
However, it is important to consider the challenges related to the high initial cost and sometimes limited availability of sustainable materials. Despite these drawbacks, sustainable construction represents a promising path towards a more ecological and environmentally friendly future, contributing to the fight against climate change and the preservation of natural resources.