Best green building materials: shortlist and how are they used

Which are the best green building materials?

In order to build a house that follows green building standards (therefore that is environment-friendly and at the same time guarantees maximum living comfort), the first thing to do is choose the suitable building materials.

green building materials woodConstruction of a building with wood covering.

When speaking of green building and eco materials, there are three different approaches:

– the “hybrid” condition, in which the supporting structure is made of reinforced concrete,

– the partially “green” condition, used for insulation and finish materials; the supporting structures (whether they are strip or pad foundations) are made of reinforced concrete,

– the totally “green” condition, in which the entire house is built with natural materials.

Let’s go into details, for discover a green building materials list.

The most common materials used to build a “green” house

Which are the most common materials used to build a “green” house? Definitely wood, for both structures and finishes.

For the building of supporting structures such as pillars or load-bearing beams for covering, a particular kind of wood is used, known with the technical term laminated timber. This term refers to a structure formed by various wood layers, of different wood types, selected according to their resistance. The result is a composite wood pillar highly resistant to traction and compression.

sustainable building materials wood covering
Other construction of a building with wood covering.

If the wood is used as the main element in vertical infills, specific prefabricated panels, the so-called “sandwich panels”, contain both internal and external wooden coating, and, at the centre, numerous insulation layers and a technical shaft that allows the passing of the systems.


Medium density insulation of the wood fibre internal structure, for a maximum breathability and naturalness


Wood fibre external insulation


Hemp insulation of the passing system shaft


Wood with certified origin


5×5 thickness to create a technical shaft

WOOD FIBRE (external bracing)

High density and breathability wood fibre for external bracing

WOOD FIBRE (internal bracing)

High density and breathability wood fibre for internal bracing


This gap allows to change the position of conduits and pipes without damaging the supporting structure. Its insulation can be customized


Instead of plasterboard we use an extremely hard and resistant material with great acoustics

Which materials are used to insulate a “green” house?

Green building prefers natural insulating materials rather than synthetic materials, such as stone wool, which is very common in traditional houses. This way, we guarantee an internal thermal comfort and also that these insulating materials are breathable and in no way a danger to people’s health.

There are numerous possibilities. We can choose a plant-based or animal-based material among the following:

  • cork, that comes from cork oak. The peculiarity of this tree is its double bark. If the external bark is removed when ripe, the tree grows a new one and so on.

cork green building materials

Cork bark from which the insulating material is obtained.


  • regenerated cellulose fibre, obtained with a peculiar technique that transforms newsprint; moreover, by using natural mineral components, usually boron salt, this recycled material is also made fireproof.


  • wood fibre, that comes from wood recycling such as conifer bark and branches. These recycled fibres stick together thanks to lignin, the natural resin contained in the fibres.

recycled plant fibres building materials

Recycled plant fibres.


  • reed, a very common natural graminaceous


  • sheep wool. Thanks to its peculiar microstructure, it’s an excellent alternative to mineral fibres for thermal and sound insulation. This animal fibre is not only highly insulating and breathable, it also has excellent hygroscopic qualities.


As far as waterproofing is concerned, bentonite is generally used to waterproof the foundations and the walls from the ground. It’s possible to apply oils and waxes on cellulose paper or recycled fibre (that become some sort of water-repellent sheaths) in order to waterproof the covering.

Also for the finishes it’s possible to choose completely natural and environment-friendly materials, such as lime, perhaps the most ancient material used for building. Natural lime, that can be hydraulic or non-hydraulic, is widely used in green building, especially hydraulic lime.

Natural hydraulic lime is obtained by cooking natural marls or homogeneous mixtures of limestones and clayey materials. It is then used for the preparation of mortar and plaster, both internally and externally.

Best green building materials for indoor and outdoor painting

To this day, there are numerous natural materials that are also environment-friendly since they are obtained from waste materials. Here are a few examples:

Natural casein paint: it’s a very resistant paint that can only be used indoors and is extracted from one of the proteins found in cows’ milk. The final effect is matted, but if you wish to get a glossier look it’s sufficient to use a wool cloth once the wall is completely dry.

It’s also possible to dye it. Finally, to guarantee a perfect resistance to bacteria, specific salts are added to the paint.

Plant resin paints: they contain plants’ natural secretions (usually larch and stone pine) and have a shiny look.

This type of paint is washable and opaque. It is suitable for any kind of surface.

For houses where wood is the star even of external finishes, there are various all-natural materials for wood treatment. An example is natural flax oil finish as an alternative to traditional paint.

Not only is the final effect the same as with traditional treatment, but also they don’t contain any harmful substance or volatile organic compound.

the use of green materials in the construction of buildings: example of modern house
Example of modern house with wood façade

Another finish material that plays a role in giving the “green” house a contemporary look is wallpaper obtained from recycled cellulose. Not only a very fashionable element, but also environment-friendly and sustainable.

It can be seen from all of these materials, widely used in green building, that along with passive energy production systems, such as solar panels and solar collectors, take part in making the house sustainable, environment-friendly and low-cost, that, during the last few years, the building material companies have become more and more aware of environmental protection.

insulation green building example
Insulation, wood and energy efficiency.

Best green building materials: advantages

If we consider the tax incentive to encourage this kind of building, the wide range of natural materials than can be chosen and a very high energy efficiency, the “green” house has everything to satisfy the modern living needs.

The use of green materials in the construction of buildings can be very useful for these reasons.

Are you looking for an apartment built with the best “green” materials? Nizza Paradise Residence includes all of these features. Contact us if you wish to find out more about these luxury apartments in the canton of Ticino. Our staff is always available.