It comes to something when a remarkable 16 year old Swedish girl with Asperger’s Syndrome rises to such media prominence. One for her climate action and two for her fearless challenges of those in power. Did you see that withering stare to the President of the USA which made headlines globally?

Whether you agree with her message or not, and we’re not sure why anyone would dispute climate change, her tenacity is admirable.

We live in a world now with finite resources and one where the biggest killer is not the great white shark or shoals of piranhas – but humans with their habits of single use plastics and building with concrete.

If all the concrete in the world was gathered together, it would form, we read recently, the third largest continent on earth.

Plastic ends up in rivers, waterways, oceans; takes centuries to decompose and is difficult to recycle, yet many of us still buy bottled water regularly or occasionally.

Same with concrete.

It’s made of water, aggregate and cement, but it’s the manufacturing process of cement that causes environmental damage as it’s one of the biggest creators of CO2, a greenhouse gas. It is, in the words of this article, “bloody bad for the environment”.

We know then all about its impact but what can architects and developers do instead?

There’s all sorts of naturally green alternatives that were used for home building long before concrete appeared like:

  • BAMBOO – what makes this so appealing in construction is that it is natural, fast growing and incredibly strong. It is renewable too and can be used as a support structure and with flooring.
  • STRAW BALES – now don’t go running away with the nursery rhyme idea that a big bad wolf will blow down a house made of straw. It won’t. Straw bale homes are an incredibly cost effective construction. Straw, like bamboo, grows quickly and the insulation levels are legendary. Grand Designs has featured a few straw bale homes.
  • WOOD – wood is sustainable too unlike concrete and is a common building material on the continent and is making inroads here with summer houses, lodges and timber framed buildings. Not only do trees absorb CO2 as they grow, they require much less energy-intensive methods to process into construction products.

There’s other diverse green building materials in production which Envision CAD will cover in a future blog post:


Rammed Earth




If you’re considering a new build, an extension, a conversion, think green and contact us at Envision CAD for more advice.