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Green Building Materials:

What materials can you build with in an environmentally sensitive way? The sites below will guide you in your choice. When choosing materials, consider both the source (is it naturally renewable, whether the manufacturing process avoids the production of harmful by products), distribution (is it locally produced) and also disposal at the end of its useful life (can it be re-used, is it biodegradable). For useful guidance on the choice of materials, visit the National Green Specification website. Pictured opposite is Greenshop -home to suppliers of a number of Eco Products, including solar power, natural paints and rainwater harvesting.
How materials are used is also important -for example bricks laid in lime mortar can be easily cleaned and re-used whereas those using cement mortar cannot. Similarly finishes that are stuck down are inevitably destroyed by removal, often damaging the substrate too.
  • Construction Resources -Britain's ecological building centre, based in Soutwark, London.
  • Eco Merchant -leading environmental builders merchant, based near Faversham in Kent.
  • Ecoconstruct -ecological builders' merchant and building centre.
  • Green Culture online eco-products catalogue.
  • Green Building Store -environmentally sensitive building products from Environmental Construction Products Ltd of Meltham, Yorkshire.
  • Green Shop -range of eco-building products and rainwater harvesting equipment.
  • Green Spec -developing specification of green products and methods of construction.
  • Mike Wye -Devon based partnership that specialises in the supply of lime mortars, lime plasters and limewash. Also run courses in practical lime.
  • National Building Technologies -based in Oakley, Bucks, NBT are suppliers of environmentally friendly materials, including woodfibre boards, Cellulose fibre, Hemp / recycled cotton and sheepswool insulation, clay and lime plasters, renders and mortars, Ziegel blocks and building components, NBT trade paints and Beeck Silicate Paints.
  • Natural Insulations -installers of environmentally friendly insulation using Warmcel Cellulose Fibre.
  • Old House Store -builders merchant for traditional and ecological materials -their philosophy is based on the sympathetic and authentic conservation/ repair of old buildings, but the ecological basis of their products makes them equally suitable for new-build projects.
  • Panel Agency -specialise in development, marketing and distribution of wood based products with an emphasis on environmental sourcing -hardwoods, softwoods, glulam and panel systems.
  • Renewal -recycled carpet tyles of re-cycled Nylon yarn with natural minerals and rubber backing -claims to be the only carpet tile in the world awarded an ISO 14024 eco label.
  • South East Wales Sustainable Building Centre -based in Cardiff the not-for-profit centre offers a variety of eco building products such as Auro, Osmo, EarthBorn, Lindab, ARU windows, Warmcel insulation etc, as well as other eco building information.
  • Ty Mawr Lime -the Welsh Centre for Traditional and Ecological Building Materials.
  • Urbane Living -natural flooring materials, rugs, wallpaper and eco paint.
  • Womersleys -originally established to provide a range of building materials for the refurbishment of historic buildings, they now supply non-hazardous materials suitable for natural building, including plaster, render, insulation and decoration.

Environmental Decorating Materials:

  • Auro Organic Paint -suppliers of paint made entirely from natural and organic materials.
  • Earthborn Paints -a range of organic and natural paints, varnishes and flooring products designed to provide a healthier and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional materials.
  • Eco Solutions paint stripping without dangerous solvents.
  • Ecos Paints -solvent free paints and varnishes in 108 Co-ordinated colours.
  • Mike Wye -Natural building and decorating products.
  • Nutshell Paints -decorating ideas and recipes with natural paints.

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Featured books:

The Green Guide to Specification
Jane Anderson, David Shiers
Blackwell Science (UK)
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Green Building Materials: A Guide to Product Selection and Specification
Ross Spiegel, Dru Meadows
John Wiley & Sons Inc
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