5 Materials For Sustainability In Architecture Without Compromising Functionality

Sustainability is a cause that stands for the preservation of our dying earth. A sustainable world is one where nature rules and renewable energy and other resources are promoted. We all need houses and proper infrastructure to live our lives. Architects of the modern day are trying to incorporate sustainability in architecture. This approach is used so that buildings and houses can become more eco-friendly. Due to innovation in science, many sustainable means of constructing buildings have come to light.

Project Franklinford
Courtesy of Modscape

Which Materials Can Contribute to Sustainability in Architecture?

For years, humans have been exhausting fossil fuels, using tons of sand from river beds for concrete, and chopping down whole forests for land. After thousands of years of abusing these resources, the world is now facing the consequences. To combat this environmental crisis, modern-day architects want to make infrastructure that respects environmental needs and limits. In their attempt to find sustainability in architecture, many materials have proven useful in building a sustainable yet strong infrastructure.

Choosing the Materials Wisely!

Some researchers have found materials that are derived from natural resources while others have followed the mantra, “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.” For sustainability in architecture, choosing the right material is important. The 5 game-changing materials in this worldwide effort are as follows.

1. Cork:

Harvested from Cork Oak trees, cork is one of the most sustainable and strongest natural construction materials. It has been widely used for plugging wine bottles, but it can find utility in many other architectural areas as well. As seen in this video, cork is a great option for house and roof insulation, and it is also perfect for soundproofing.

2. Bricks Made from Plastic:

Conventional bricks are made from soil. However, researchers have found a way to recycle plastic waste in the form of construction brick. Each year billions of tons of plastic waste is produced worldwide. This plastic waste is torn and mixed with sand to make stronger and lighter bricks that enable architects to build sustainable structures.

Plastic bricks help acquire sustainability in architecture
Plastic bricks help acquire sustainability in architecture.

3. Algae

Algae is normally associated with something disgusting and gross. However, in Hamburg, German architects have built an entire residential building consisting of glass panels filled with algae. During photosynthesis, algae produce a kind of biofuel that can be converted into electricity. This sustainable for of energy can power the whole building.

4. Recycled Diapers

Diapers majorly contribute to the world’s waste. However, recycled diapers you can sanitize and separate the organic fibers from the plastic absorbing beads, we can get some great benefits out of them. The plastic beads in the diapers can be made into roof tiles and used as insulation for houses.
Who thought children’s diapers could save the world!

Recycled diapers can be made into roof tiles and used as insulating material.
Recycled diapers can be made into roof tiles and used as insulating material.

5. Polyurethane Plant-based Foam:

Made from natural materials like bamboo and hemp, polyurethane foams are a great alternative to conventional foaming insulation measures. This foam is resistant to heat and can protect against moisture, mold, and pests. Overall, this plant-based foam makes for a sustainable alternative.


Achieving sustainability in architecture is no easy feat. We have been taking Earth’s natural resources for granted and exploiting them for years on end. Architects around the globe are now choosing natural materials to build sustainable structures to make up for their past negligence. Needless to say, it is the only way to move forward.


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