Assessing the Possibilities of Using Locally Available Sustainable Materials for Construction Purposes


Authors: Madeeha Altaf and Zain Zulfiqar
Page Range: 457-470
Published in: International Journal of Energy, Environment, and Economics, Volume 29 Issue 4
ISSN: 1054-853X

Table of Contents


The construction industry contributes substantially to climate change and significantly alters the environment through extraction, processing, waste generation, and carbon emissions. Building materials and operations account for around 50% of all carbon emissions globally. Natural building materials were used for construction and were less damaging to the environment before advanced building technology was introduced. Material selection plays an important role in the construction industry and is vital for valuing sustainability in construction for transitioning towards climate change adaptation and a low-carbon economy. This study is an attempt to highlight the importance of valuing sustainability in the construction industry. This paper will look at the definitions of sustainable materials and their compliance with material assessment criteria to determine their feasibility for use in building construction. Different sustainability assessment tools and frameworks have been developed to characterize and assess the sustainability of the whole building. However, no single assessment tool for evaluating sustainable materials is found. Therefore, different available tools are reviewed and their material aspects are summarized and a criterion is identified for defining sustainable materials. A site is selected with the availability of raw materials such as a forest, sheep farms, and straw in fields. Historical and contemporary use of selected materials in that region is studied to understand their suitability for construction. An abundance of locally available straw and soil being socially equitable, economically viable, and environmentally friendly were found feasible for construction. It is intended that this study will help architects to make well-informed decisions about the use of construction materials to assist in designing healthy, resource-efficient, and affordable buildings suitable for individuals and communities.

Keywords: climate change, sustainable material, embodied energy, embodied carbon

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