Calling for environmentally friendly building materials to promote sustainable development of residential buildings


  As environmentally friendly consumption gradually takes over the mainstream, manufacturers and consumers of residential buildings are demanding safety, health and environmental protection from building materials. It is an inevitable trend for the development of residential buildings to adopt clean and hygienic production technology, reduce the use of natural resources and energy, and use a large number of environmentally friendly building materials that are harmless, non-polluting, non-radioactive, and conducive to environmental protection and human health. The so-called environmentally friendly building materials, that is, taking into account the earth’s resources and environmental factors, in the process of production and use of materials, as far as possible to save resources and energy, environmental protection and ecological balance has a certain positive effect, and can be constructed for human comfortable environment building materials.

  Environmentally friendly building materials should have the following characteristics: First, they should meet the requirements of mechanical properties, use functions and durability of buildings. Secondly, they have affinity to the natural environment and conform to the principle of sustainable development. In other words, it saves resources and energy, does not produce or emit harmful substances that pollute the environment and damage the ecology, reduces the load on the earth and the ecosystem, and realizes the recyclable use of non-renewable resources. Third, it can construct a warm, comfortable, healthy and convenient living environment for human beings.

1、The pollution of residential building decoration materials and its causes

  With the improvement of people’s living standard, they gradually pay attention to the environmental design of residential buildings and strive to create a comfortable and elegant living and working environment. However, many materials used in interior decoration are mostly made of chemical materials, some of which contain toxic substances themselves, and they constantly volatilize toxic components into the indoor air, bringing adverse effects to the human body. According to reports, experts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have examined a sample of 10 new housing buildings in several cities and confirmed that the air in modern housing buildings contains up to 500 chemicals, many times higher than outdoors. According to the paper of the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, 2% to 3% of modern buildings have asbestos and radon, and about 10% have viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms. Buildings containing these harmful substances are called “sick buildings”, and these “sick” buildings often transmit their own “diseases” to the users of the houses [1].

  It is proved that the issue of building materials is very important, and the various gases released such as ammonia, formaldehyde, benzene and radon are very harmful to human health. The enclosed indoor environment is even more harmful to the human body because of the high temperature and humidity, and some materials provide nutrients for the growth of mold and bacteria. Specifically, the pollutants of residential building decoration mainly come from the following aspects.

(1) plate class. Does not meet the environmental standards of man-made decorative panels, containing excessive formaldehyde, such as core board (blockboard), plywood, fiberboard, particle board, and with these panels made of composite flooring, furniture, etc.. Formaldehyde mainly from the production of composite panels used in the urea-formaldehyde resin glue, this glue has a high adhesive strength, not easy to open the characteristics of the glue, is currently the production of a variety of composite panels commonly used adhesives. Urea-formaldehyde resin glue contains formaldehyde, will form free formaldehyde gas released into the air, and formaldehyde is highly toxic substances.

(2) stone class. Stone decoration materials, such as granite, marble, plaster and tile, contain a harmful substance called radon. Radon is one of the 19 environmental carcinogens announced by the World Health Organization, and it is the second cause of lung cancer after smoking.

(3) Paint. Paints, coatings, waterproof materials used in house decoration, as well as additives and thinners of various paints and coatings contain harmful substances benzene.

(4) Cement, etc. Cement and other building materials mainly contain harmful substances ammonia, which is a colorless, strong irritating smell of gas. The environmental protection of the decoration design depends most on the degree of environmental protection of the materials. Nowadays, building materials hit a lot of environmental protection selling points, such as water saving, energy saving, anti-mold, anti-insect, anti-bacteria, etc., which gives designers more room to play. However, the designer is generally in accordance with the requirements of the customer, and the price offered to choose the materials used, environmentally friendly materials are relatively high prices.

  China’s current environmental pollution problem of indoor decoration is quite serious, but there is a large gap in the attention and governance. The reasons for this are as follows: First, with the improvement of living standards, people are increasingly demanding living conditions, but many consumers are not strong awareness of indoor environmental protection, in the decoration of the focus is often on the luxury and grandeur of the apartment, while ignoring the indoor environmental pollution after renovation. Second, from China’s decoration materials market, most manufacturers and distributors do not understand whether their production or sales of products in line with national standards. Thus, they can not produce or sell decoration materials in accordance with national standards, so that the pollution of the indoor environment of building materials continue to output and into the market. Again, the decoration materials production enterprises low qualification production technology level backward, no pollution-free technology (clean production).

2, residential buildings should reasonably choose and use environmentally friendly building materials

2.1 Focus on the use of new environmentally friendly building materials

  As an important material basis for modern construction projects, new building materials, internationally known as health building materials, green building materials, environmental building materials, ecological building materials, etc.. Environmentally friendly building materials and products mainly include: new wall materials, new waterproof sealing materials, new heat insulation materials, decorative materials and new inorganic non-metallic materials, etc. In accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization, healthy housing should enable the occupants to be in a good state physically, mentally and socially. marble, ceramic surface tiles, gangue bricks; asbestos fiber cement products containing microscopic asbestos fibers, etc. [2].

  Therefore, environmentally friendly building materials should be carefully selected and properly used to limit the adverse effects of building materials on the environment and human health to a minimum. Avoid using those materials that produce radioactive pollution, solvent-based paints, chemical fleece blankets, composite wood panels and other building products may release volatile organic compounds (VOC) such as formaldehyde in the air, and these chemicals not only affect the health of construction workers and building users, but also, increase dust and organic pollution in the environment.

2.2 Follow the national environmental regulations

  The Code of Control for Indoor Environmental Pollution in Civil Construction Projects was officially implemented on 2002-01-01. The environmental pollution problem of interior decoration has attracted national attention, and recently, the State Administration of Quality Supervision and other departments announced the implementation of a series of environmental regulations such as “Limits of Hazardous Substances in Interior Decoration Materials Man-made Boards and Their Products”, which should be implemented diligently. Materials that have passed environmental management certification should be selected; reduce the use of brightly colored stone in the design; use more high-quality polyester paint and environmentally friendly nitrocellulose paint, and reduce or eliminate the number of alkyd paints used in rooms with poor air circulation. Of course, different building types have different design standards, but health and harmlessness should be the universal principle.

2.3 Strengthen propaganda efforts to raise awareness of environmental protection

  Use various propaganda media to educate on environmental awareness, environmental knowledge, and knowledge of environmentally friendly building materials, so that all people can establish a strong ecological awareness and environmental awareness, establish a sense of responsibility to accelerate the development of environmentally friendly building materials, and consciously participate in the protection of the ecological environment and the development of environmentally friendly building materials. Outdoor green to create a beautiful environment, interior design aspects of the same need for environmental awareness, strict control of residential building decoration pollution:.

(1) To strictly select materials. First, to see whether the decorative materials are the products of regular manufacturers, to check the production plant’s trademark, production address, anti-counterfeit mark, etc.. Then, to see whether the product test report of formaldehyde, benzene and other harmful objects released in accordance with the standards.

(2) To find a qualified, formal indoor environmental monitoring department for testing after renovation, listen to the advice of experts and choose the right time to move in. It is best to idle for a period of time, so that indoor harmful substances dissipated to the safety factor before moving in.

(3) After moving in, often open the windows to strengthen ventilation and accelerate the emission of indoor undesirable substances and gases.

(4) If you have bad reflections after moving in, you should go to the hospital to check your health and ask the testing department to test and remove the source of pollution that causes disease in time.

(5) to learn, master some decoration environmental standards and regulations, in the event of disputes caused by decoration pollution, in accordance with national environmental regulations in accordance with the law mediation or by litigation to resolve.

3, residential building sustainable development of the way

3.1 Promote green residential buildings

  Since the 1990s, “sustainable development” has become the development strategy of many countries in the world, and experts have put forward the concept of “green building”. Green building is the “effective use of resources building”, that is, energy saving, environmental protection, comfortable, healthy, effective building, in short, low energy consumption, low pollution building. For the selection of materials follow the following principles: First, the use of 3R materials (reusable, recyclable, renewable use) is advocated. Second, the use of non-toxic, harmless, non-polluting materials and products that are beneficial to human health, it is desirable to use materials and products that have obtained the national environmental protection mark.

  Compared with traditional building materials, the manufacture of new building materials can not only reduce the consumption of natural resources and energy consumption, and can make a large amount of industrial waste can be reasonably developed and used; new building materials not only will not cause pollution to the human living environment, but is beneficial to human health, help improve the building function, play mold, sound insulation, heat insulation, sterilization, temperature, humidity, dimming, flame retardant, deodorant, anti-radiation, anti-static, anti-shock, etc. The manufacture of new building materials can not only use production technology that does not pollute the environment, but also can be used as renewable resources after the products end their service life, without forming new waste foreign substances.

3.2 Promote clean production (pollution-free technology)

  Reduce the negative impact of building materials production on the global environment and ecological balance. Modern society is economically developed, the scale of infrastructure construction is huge, the mass production and use of construction materials on the one hand for human construction of colorful and convenient living facilities, but at the same time its development is at the cost of excessive energy consumption and environmental pollution. The author believes that ignoring the “environmental value” of raw materials is one of the reasons why construction has a negative impact on the environment. Therefore, in order to protect the environment and achieve sustainable architectural design, the impact of raw materials on the environment must be added to the value system for measuring architecture. The materials used should not be harmful to the human body and the surrounding environment, such as the use of clay bricks for walls, which is the destruction of nature. And try to use low embodied energy materials and avoid toxic and polluting materials. The production of building materials should be avoided at the cost of destroying and occupying land and forests. In the case of sustainable construction, the selection of wood needs to be done carefully. The felling of trees may bring considerable sustainability problems, such as energy consumption for transportation, loss of biodiversity of biological differences, and possible local economic destruction of the environment.

  Environmentally friendly building materials should be durable, easy to maintain and manage, emit no or little harmful substances, and, of course, have to be balanced with other characteristics such as artistic effects. In order to achieve the goal of sustainable development and to keep the negative impact of construction materials on the environment to a minimum, it is necessary to develop and research pollution-free technologies and cleanly produce environmentally friendly construction materials. For example, the use of industrial waste (fly ash, slag, coal gangue, etc.) can produce cement, blocks and other materials; the use of waste foam to produce insulation wall panels; the use of waste glass to produce veneer materials, etc. It can not only reduce the amount of solid waste residue stockpiles, reduce environmental pollution, but also save the raw materials in nature, which has a positive effect on environmental protection and the protection of earth resources. No-burn cement can save the energy consumed by cement production; high-flow state, self-compacting vibration-free concrete, which does not need to be vibrated during construction works, can save construction energy and reduce construction noise.

3.3 Saving resources and reducing energy consumption

  According to the broad life-cycle view, energy consumption of building materials includes: energy consumption in the production of building materials, building operation, daily use of buildings, dismantling and dismantling of buildings, and reuse of building materials. Products and materials with more detailed processing and more complex manufacturing processes usually consume more energy in the production process. In general, the more durable the material, the less indoor pollution it causes. Green architects tend to reduce the use of highly processed and energy-intensive building materials such as metal and concrete by processing them locally, and redeveloping short-lived and easily consumed waste materials by using less of them. Select building materials with less reprocessing (e.g., painting, reprocessing, waterproof and fireproof treatment, etc.) or choose those that have only minimal environmental impact on their maintenance. In addition, changes in functional requirements, limitations on service life, urban development needs, etc. may require the building to be demolished or renovated. If the building is designed with its demolition in mind, it can help considerably to recycle and reuse materials. The active use of recycled building materials can reduce the pressure on landfills and save natural resources. After a building reaches its service life, its materials should be able to degrade or convert naturally.

3.4 Learn from successful foreign experiences

  Developed countries in the research, development and implementation of environmentally friendly building materials started earlier, the development of some organic volatile emissions test methods, the provisions of some environmentally friendly building materials performance standards, and began to implement the low emissions mark certification, at the same time, the development of some environmentally friendly building materials new products. Foreign consumers demand a high degree of environmental protection of building and decorative materials, Western European countries and the United States and other developed countries, building materials have reached more than 90% of environmental standards, Japan also launched a chemical-free housing. On the basis of the initiative and development of environmentally friendly building materials, some countries have built a model building for residential or office use, which has achieved good social and economic benefits. Make full use of materials from old buildings and use materials made from recycled raw materials whenever possible. Building products made from recycled raw materials reduce solid waste, as well as energy consumption for manufacturing, and save natural resources, which is an environmentally conscious practice that is gaining popularity in the world [3]. For example, at the 1992 World’s Fair in Seville, Spain, a large number of paper buildings were presented, and the entrance tower of the fair was built from prefabricated paper components, with a diameter of 13 m and a height of 33 m. Since the tower was completely decomposable, its materials were not wasted after the exhibition. For example, the carpet at the Frist Children’s Store headquarters in the United States is made from treated plastic bottles, and the entrance porch is made from tiles made from recycled glass bulbs. Many countries are also committed to researching retrofitting and recycling technologies for construction waste materials (including industrial waste materials) and their relationship to cost in order to save resources and reduce global waste more broadly.


  Environmentally friendly building materials is a concept with deep connotation and wide outreach, which is the basis for the development of ecological architecture. The innovation of materials often causes a revolution in technology. In recent years, a variety of new materials conducive to energy conservation and environmental protection have been introduced, such as transparent thermal materials, high-strength lightweight materials, high insulation glass, etc., which have greatly promoted the development of ecological architecture.

  The development of environmentally friendly building materials in China has begun to take off, at present, China has developed decorative materials such as wallpaper, paint, carpets, composite flooring, pipes, glass, ceramics, fiber-reinforced gypsum board. Such as anti-mildew wallpaper, after chemical treatment, excluding the wallpaper in the humid air or indoor and outdoor temperature difference is prone to mold, blistering, breeding mold phenomenon; environmentally friendly interior and exterior wall latex paint, not only tasteless and pollution-free, but also emits fragrance, can be washed, repainted, etc.. Should actively pay attention to the information of new building materials, new building materials play an important role in environmental protection and energy conservation, these materials will be able to proactively cope with the challenges of the natural environment. We can believe that the sustainable development of residential buildings will gradually become a reality by vigorously promoting environmentally friendly building materials and using modern high-tech means for design.