The beauty of natural materials. Choosing eco-friendly building solutions for summer renovations

Can a renovation be eco? Yes! And you have plenty of options to modernize your home in a planet-friendly way. Although modern construction interferes with the environment more often than it protects it, growing awareness of ecology is beginning to change that. In response, manufacturers of building materials are launching more and more interesting solutions in the spirit of eco. Learn about ways to make summer renovations that are safe for health and local wildlife. What ideas will work well in the garden and interior finishes?

Eco-friendly construction - what does it consist of?

The construction industry does not have a good reputation among environmentalists. For example, the excessive use of water and electricity during traditional construction and the use of environmentally unfriendly materials are considered most harmful. Added to this is the large percentage of waste generated during the erection of structures.

Today, green construction allows replacing traditional methods with sustainable solutions. Interestingly, the answer to how to take care of the future fate of the environment is... to look to the past. After all, not so long ago, natural materials were still used to build houses in Poland and elsewhere: straw, wood, clay or stone.

Domy budowane z naturalnych materiałów to coraz częstszy widok w polskim krajobrazie. Obok nowoczesnych projektów wiele osób decyduje się na modernizację istniejących budynków.

Houses built with natural materials are an increasingly common sight in the Polish landscape. In addition to modern designs, many people choose to modernize existing buildings.

Photo by Jack Bulmer © UNSPLASH

Fortunately, green technologies can be introduced not only at the stage of house construction, but also during renovations. Summer is the ideal time for changes in decor, thermal insulation of a residential building or its extension.

What are the main principles of ecological renovation?

The goal of ecological solutions in construction is to minimize the negative impact on the environment, and thus the health and comfort of residents.

When planning a renovation, take care of:

  • recycle;

  • reducing the amount of waste;

  • avoiding hazardous materials;

  • fit building structures into the natural landscape;

  • using environmentally friendly materials;

  • saving money.

Overview of green building materials

If you're shopping for construction materials, look for materials whose manufacturers claim a positive impact on health and the environment. This can be evidenced by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certifications.

Looking for ideas for eco-friendly renovation solutions? Get inspired by natural materials!

Demolition wood

Wood is an obvious choice when thinking about green building solutions. It stands out for its negative CO2 emissions, is allergy-friendly and allows you to create an optimal microclimate for your home.

Going a step further, consider using reclaimed wood. Structural or floor beams with a history are not only a fashionable interior design accent (tables and dressers made of demolition wood give a unique effect!). Recycled material is also suitable for new roof trusses, stairs, flooring or fireplace facings. A way to make an original arrangement, are kitchens made of old wood.

If you decide to use demolition wood, be sure that it is in excellent condition. Definitely avoid materials with visible holes, mold or mildew.

Drewno rozbiórkowe nadaje się do produkcji unikalnych mebli. Stoły i ławy o surowym wyglądzie podkreślają rustykalny charakter wnętrza.

Demolition wood is suitable, among other things, for the production of unique furniture. Tables with an osur appearance emphasize the rustic character of the interior.


Recycled bricks

After recycled wood, it's time to reuse bricks! It is worth giving a second life to these materials as well, using them for gardening or construction work, among other things. Bricks, especially the old ones that are more than a hundred years old, are successfully reusable. All you need to do is remove the leftover mortar from them and you can put up structures from them again.

How can recycled bricks be used? In the garden they will work well as edging for paths or for separating recreational areas. Crushed bricks can also be used as a stabilizing and bonding substance in mortars and screeds.

On the other hand, cutting tiles from old brick will give you a loft effect on the wall of your living room or kitchen. If you get bored with the rust-red color, just paint the wall white - check out how whitewashed brick looks in the interior.

Cegły z recyklingu to jeden znajpopularniejszych materiałów wykończeniowych wśród miłośników loftów i eklektyzmu.

Recycled bricks are one of the most popular finishing materials among lovers of lofts and eclecticism.

Photo by Derick McKinney © UNSPLASH

Clay plaster

Paints and plasters are among some of the least "healthy" products used in home construction. The volatile organic compounds they contain can irritate the respiratory tract and even cause allergic reactions. Is there a more health-friendly alternative when it comes to covering our walls?

Clay plaster is no novelty. Clay has been used in construction for thousands of years. It is highly valued for its hygroscopic, anti-fungal, anti-static and heat storage properties. Interestingly, clay plaster is fully recyclable - any leftovers and waste (sawn off old plaster) can be reused after being mixed with water.

Clay walls fit perfectly into the latest trends referring to Mediterranean interiors with a predominance of beiges and sand accents. Like cement-lime plaster, texture or other decorative effects can also be created on those made of clay.

Tynk gliniany podkreśla naturalne piękno ścian. Za pomocą gry świateł można wydobyć dodatkowe efekty aranżacyjne.

Clay plaster emphasizes the natural beauty of the walls. Using the play of light, additional design effects can be brought out.

Photo Deconovo © UNSPLASH


Modern construction relies on glass, which does not release harmful substances and can be recycled many times. However, a transparent sheet in some interiors may seem... boring. An alternative is glass blocks, i.e., luxaffers, which were popular in the 1980s and 1990s. The blocks with subtle texture are perfect as a partition wall, a screen for a walk-in shower and additional lighting for the room.

Luxaffers bring fashionable eclecticism to interiors. Due to their light transmittance of 50-80% and good sound insulation, they can be used, for example, in walls facing the street, providing more privacy for householders compared to large windows.

Luksfery ponownie wracają do wnętrz. Ścianka ze szklanych bloczków to efektowny sposób na podzielenie nawet małych przestrzeni.

Luxaffers are once again making a comeback in interiors. A wall of glass blocks is an effective way to divide even small spaces.

© Shutterstock

Hemp concrete

The topic of hemp is on point for today. And it's not just about their use in cosmetology or medicine. As it was centuries ago, the plant is being reused, for example, in the textile, paper and also construction industries.

Hemp concrete (hempcrete) is a solution in line with sustainable construction. It is created after combining woody hemp stalks with a lime binder. In addition to being fully biodegradable, the material is distinguished by its high thermal insulation, non-flammability and resistance to fungi and bacteria.

Whole houses are already being built from hempcrete in Poland today. The material can also be used to build garden houses or extensions.

Beton konopny jest biodegradowalnym materiałem budowlanym. Może być wyrabiany i formowany na miejscu.

Hempcrete is a biodegradable building material. It can be made and molded on site.

© Shutterstock


Stone is another natural building material that is worth using if only in garden design. For this purpose, granite will be the best choice. This hard and hardy stone, depending on the species, can take on different shades - from grays to reds and emeralds. The final effect also depends on one of the many treatment options: grinding, polishing, flaming, brushing.

Granite paving is an excellent material for paths and flowerbeds, among other things. With the help of taller granite posts, you can create palisades separating shrubs from the lawn. Slabs, on the other hand, will work well for elegant terraces or for creating levels. Check out how else to use granite in the garden.

Kamień doskonale współgra zarówno z nowoczesną architekturą ogrodową, jak i klasycznymi aranżacjami. Z granitu formuje się stopnie, ścieżki, obrzeża czy rzeźby.

The stone perfectly harmonizes with both modern garden architecture and classic arrangements. Among other things, granite is used to form steps, paths, borders or sculptures.

© Shutterstock

Finishing materials in harmony with nature

When renovating, also take care of eco-friendly finishing materials. Fortunately, trends with fabrics such as cotton, linen and hemp are universal and never go out of style. Thanks to their natural beauty, you will create an interior that is friendly to the eye and the environment. If you are planning a general renovation at home, learn about eco-friendly flooring materials as well.

Are you planning to build a house? We have more construction tips for you