Affordable Building Material for Low-Cost Housing


A house is not just bricks and mortar joined together it’s also a bond of social security. But there are monetary reasons associated with it. As it can be very expensive, thus factors like house shortage, rising inventory, urbanization expanding middle class along with bankrupt developers.

So, with the ascendance of all these factors, raises a huge demand in the sector of affordable housing in India,

Integration to the social and environmental impact is the key to sustainable development, Using locally available building material. Not only reduce the building impact on the environment but will be economically feasible as well.

Development vs environment has always been a controversial debate especially in the rapidly developing nations such as India and construction has always been the antichrist of the environment.

The market has risen up to the challenge time and again with numerous eco-friendly building material to reduce the impact of building construction. The measure of sustainability cannot be determined by just applying the eco-friendly building material as there can be many interpretation and definition of sustainability.

Background of Sustainable Building Materials and Housing

Home protects from climatic factors and provides safety within its surroundings. Therefore it should be stable enough to serve its purpose.

In natural disaster-prone areas, construction should be done under strict guidelines. Due to climate change, natural phenomena are becoming more violent, and thus the requirements for the durability of a building’s structure and  Building Material need more attention.

Durability and Sustainability

The buildings should be built so that it doesn’t harm the natural flora and fauna of the surrounding environment. Sometimes, however, we tend to contribute to the destruction of nature which in turn is a harm done to ourselves.  

Promising Building Materials for Low-cost Housing Construction

The construction techniques used in a building shouldn’t compromise with its strength. Below given are some materials which are economical as well as provide strength to the structures.

  1. Bamboo and timber
  2.  Precast concrete slabs
  3. Compressed earth blocks
  4. Interlocking blocks of recycled materials

Bamboo and timber

Bamboo is one of the best eco-friendly building materials. Its growth rate is incredibly high with some of its species growing up to 3 feet in 24 hours. It is eco-friendly and highly sustainable material. It also works as an excellent building material in earthquake-prone regions.

It has greater compressive strength than brick or concrete, high durability, and strength to weight ratio. Therefore it is a viable choice for flooring and cabinetry.

Bamboo requires treatment before being used in a building. If not, then it may attract insects which will degrade the strength of bamboo. A treated bamboo can stand 30-35 years if t is covered under roof.

Precast concrete slabs

Precast concrete slabs are more sustainable than many traditional poured concrete options. Curing can be done in a better way as they are manufactured in industries under proper supervision and not on sites.

They are commonly used for walls, building facades, and sometimes on floors too. It serves as a good medium to control heat within a building, also it a highly affordable building material.

Compressed earth blocks

Walls made from compressed earth blocks have good thermal features. It helps reduce the heating and cooling costs. It uses building materials such as clay, loam, and sand.

In stabilized soil blocks, it is mixed with approx 5% of cement or lime and the minimal amount of water. The blocks are compressed using steel hand press machines or mechanical pressing machines.

This technology has greater efficiency and savings on money and on firewood as compared to burnt bricks. These bricks can be locally produced, which increases job opportunities providing stability and strength.

Interlocking blocks of recycled materials

Interlocking blocks are gaining popularity because of its properties. If made inaccurate sizes, these blocks can be interlocked among themselves without the use of any cement or mortar. This can also generate a possibility of its reuse in another structure if needed.

These blocks are fast to work with and do not require a very skilled labor. This product is also used in temporary or emergency housing. These blocks are sustainable and have higher insulation value than compared to hollow concrete blocks.   

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