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What is Natural Building?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 April 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Also known as green building, natural building is a process that involves designing a structure that makes use of natural materials and energy sources in order to create desirable interior space while having a minimum impact on the environment. This sort of sustainable building project often includes the use of recyclable materials as well as natural elements throughout the structure, a strategy that helps to keep discarded materials out of landfills and also cut back on the use of natural resources in the building process. Creating a building that is both ecological and sturdy requires the combined efforts of architects, contractors and other construction professionals in order for the project to be successful.

The trend toward natural building has led to the rediscovery of older building methods that are ideal for the needs of today. One example is the use of straw in the construction of exterior and interior walls for a private residence. Straw bale construction makes it possible to either fill in standard wall frames or fashion a wall by stacking the bales and securing them in place. As with other types of walls, the straw is sealed and covered, leaving the surface of the wall smooth to the touch. This approach provides a great deal of insulation, making it much easier to heat and cool the interior.

Green architecture also calls for the use of old and discarded items as well as non-industrial materials. Over the years, people have managed to create natural building designs that made use of such interesting building materials as old tires, discarded milk jugs and even worn linens. While unconventional, many of these items can be used to make structures that will stand for decades.

The process of natural building also involves rescuing previously used building materials such as bricks, wood planks, support beams, doors, and window frames. Repurposing materials of this type helps to make sustainable architecture more cost effective as well as limiting the consumption of more natural resources in the building process. In some cases, the use of salvaged building materials also can give the new home an element of style and timelessness that would be hard to achieve otherwise.

When paired with environmental options for energy, natural building has the potential to provide affordable homes that are much less expensive to heat and cool. Energy sources that tend to work well with sustainable homes and public buildings include solar panels and batteries as well as equipment to generate wind energy. As the costs associated with this type of alternative building continue to decrease, many more prospective homeowners are likely to at least consider the idea of a home created with a mix of natural, recycled, and repurposed materials.

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