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Interior Construction Materials: "Green" Choices

Posted by
on October 31, 2015 at 02:50 PM

Yes, ‘Green’ is the way to go. We have finally realised after a century of mindless consumption leading to near depletion of our natural resources and unaccountable harm to our home planet that we need to act, to do something about it. And, just as we start making environment friendly choices in all aspects of life, be it the way we grow our food, or where we store it or eat it from, or the way we make our clothing, or how we transport or communicate, we have begun to think green about what goes into building our homes. Green building products, though available in a considerable variety and of high standards of aesthetics and strength are not yet consumed very commonly and remain quite an exclusive choice due to various reasons. It is a need of the day to popularise Green building technologies, particularly green interiors, as the control over what goes into making our homes, offices and institutions lies individually with each of us. We can begin by taking a look at some bamboo veneers on TFOD and other exciting choices of interior construction materials available in the market today. 

© Courtesy of internet resources

Bamboo (cover image, images 1 - 8)

Being strong in tension as well as compression and being available in really long segments made bamboo a natural building material choice in the east. China and Indonesia are particularly well known for their bamboo building techniques and beautiful bamboo furniture. But, the fact that it is one of the most rapidly renewable materials owing to its fast rate of growth, and also its resilience to most factors including weather, have recently made it a popular choice in the west as well. 

Though there are many manufacturers of bamboo plywood in India, China and the east, companies like Plyboo in U.S.A. have taken to importing bamboo from China to create ply sheets of pure bamboo and bamboo composites for applications in flooring, wall panelling, counter tops and other furniture as well as exterior cladding and screening. The mind boggling variety of tones, textures as well as designs available in these makes bamboo ply a high aesthetic application in addition to being a strong, durable, resilient and green choice.

Chiva- bamboo veneer (images 10&11); Cork (images 9&12)

The ability to be harvested from trees without damaging them or stunting their growth makes cork a renewable material option, a green choice for your décor. The fact that cork has the elasticity to resist impact and is very resilient makes it score on the strength meter as well. Furthermore, cork offers abundant high end design varieties, is a versatile material that stains in many shades and can also be painted. All these attributes make cork an ideal green choice for surfaces finishing of floors, wall panels and counter tops.

Bio Glass (images 13 - 15)

Made from 100% recycled glass, bio glass is an attractive green choice, especially for countertops and such surfaces. Glass which has been consumed and disposed of is broken into largish pieces, which are then melted just enough to be able to fuse them into a composite solid surface. Bio Glass typically has a translucent finish, but is available in a range of colours depending on the glass it has been recycled from. It is considerably scratch and abrasion resistant as well.

Green Paints

The overpowering residual smell in a freshly painted space is an unpleasant experience each of us has had to live through, resulting in many respiratory disorders. But, not any more if we make a green choice in paints. The said smell is a result of greenhouse emissions of chemicals present in the paints, which evaporate at room temperature and are more concentrated indoors than outdoors. These harmful emissions are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). But, most paint manufacturers including Asian Paints and Nerolac in India are now coming up with a green option – non VOC, low VOC, ultra-low VOC and zero VOC paints. With the overwhelming variety of colours and textures available in these green paints, there should be no reason for us to choose the earlier, unhealthier option.

The available variety of green interior construction materials in the market is indeed encouraging and shows that the necessity created by the demand for such products has successfully pushed manufacturers to respond with good products. But, the challenge lies in making these products a widespread choice, easily accessed by one and all as most of these remain high end products. The hope is that, as time progresses, emergent technologies will make green choices affordable to all.

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