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Materials and Methods for Greener Buildings: Alternative Construction

Materials and Methods for Greener Buildings: Alternative Construction

Dave Parker

ISBN: 978-1-405-18237-9

May 2020, Wiley-Blackwell

272 pages

Select type: Paperback


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With the construction industry and its clients now turning more and more to sustainable construction materials to satisfy public expectations, this is a timely technical guide to the options available.

Cob housing, green oak frames, straw bale construction and other traditional construction materials and methods are well documented. But traditional is not another word for sustainable. Recycled materials are playing an increasing role in sustainable construction, and there are many modern developments as well, such as biopolymers and alternatives to Portland cement. This comprehensive book covers the traditional and the modern, the low and the high technology alternatives.

The first section discusses sustainable traditional construction and includes technical information on rammed earth, adobe, timber cladding, turf roofing and the like. The second section on recycled materials covers metals, binders, aggregates, insulation, tyres, plastics, polymers and rubber as well as timber. Section three looks at modern developments and includes technical discussion of superadobe, engineered timber, biopolymers and many more. The final section comprises case studies of highly regarded buildings from around the world.




Section 1: Sustainable traditional construction.

Wattle and daub.


Rammed earth, rammed chalk.

Mud brick, clay lump, adobe.

Earthen plaster, lath and plaster.

Cordwood, coppice wood.

Solid timber frame.

Timber cladding and roofing.

Thatch, slate and turf roofing.


Underground construction and earth sheltering.

Timber vaulting.

Section 2: Making the most of recycled materials.

Steel, aluminium and other metals.




Tyres and tyre bales.

Polymers and rubber.

Timber and timber products.

Section 3: Taking advantage of modern developments.

Geopolymeric cement and other ‘low energy’ binders.

Cement stabilization, pumice-crete.

Earth bag construction.

Superadobe, compressed earth blocks, unfired bricks.

Straw bale construction.

Engineered timber.

Timber gridshells.



Section 4: Case studies.

Rammed chalk, timbral vaulting.

Engineered timber using locally coppiced sweet chestnut.

Modern cob and thatch.


Timber gridshell.

Earth sheltered housing.