5 Ways City Planners Can Incorporate Eco-Friendly Construction Materials

City and urban planning has lately begun to involve more and more connection to natural resources. Citizens are more and more concerned about the planet, and city planners should be as well. As a city planner, your job is to determine the best use for a specific city’s resources and land. Part of developing a city is building structures that help the public in day to day activities. Being eco-friendly is a big concern for many citizens these days. Using eco-friendly materials in the construction of a city is an important part of city planning. Here are five different ways you can incorporate eco-friendly construction materials into your plans to satisfy the needs of a city’s citizens.


Heating and cooling are a necessary part of a city’s structure. Part of helping to keep heating and cooling costs low in a building is installing an appropriate amount of insulation. However, some insulation can cause health issues if it is made from hazardous materials, and often insulation can be difficult to recycle. There are many eco-friendly options out there to choose from including wool, cork, cotton, and cellulose. These options are eco-friendly in the way they’re produced and are safe and effective insulators. Environmentally friendly building materials like brick pavers also serve as fantastic natural insulators.

Low-Flow Toilets

When it comes to the water fixtures in many city buildings, it’s important to make sure there are enough of them without causing excess waste. Toilets tend to be a necessity for every building and picking ones that utilize less water is key. For example, an older style toilet uses about three gallons of water per flush. A new low-flow toilet uses just over one gallon. That’s a big difference, especially when you’re installing a large number of toilets. Many toilets can also have multiple flush options for larger or smaller loads. Low-flow toilets can lessen the environmental impact of water waste while also saving money. 

Use Recyclable Materials

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One great way to be eco-friendly is to utilize recyclable materials in your construction. There are many recyclable materials to choose from including composite for outside decking, rubber for roofing, carpeting with recycled plastic, and paper-based countertops. There are many new materials coming on the market that can be easily incorporated into any project. City planners and architects should consider the variety of materials like these when making plans for structures and urban and commercial areas. Certain recyclable materials are meant to be replaced, while others can last a long time. This will impact the planning and construction stages, and you should keep them in mind while putting together your project.

High Efficiency Lighting

The options in the lighting world over the last decade have changed tremendously. Incandescent used to be the standard, but today that’s changed. LED lighting can last for up to 20 years and use much less power. For example, a simple 60 watt incandescent bulb emits the same amount of light power as a 12 watt LED bulb that utilizes much less power. Look into high efficiency lighting options from BIOS Lighting, though be sure to take into account electrical wiring, waste disposal, and space requirements. Some LED bulbs may have more hazardous materials than Incandescent lights, but they also last longer and use less power. Be sure to think about how lights can be maintained and replaced when needed.

Bamboo Flooring

One of the most durable and strong materials on the market is bamboo. With fast regeneration rates, this material won’t ever be over-utilized. One of the most popular ways that bamboo is utilized in new building construction is for flooring. It’s a very lightweight material that is easy to move around during the construction phase. However, it’s extremely durable and strong which allows it to take a beating over time without needing replacing like traditional vinyl and laminate flooring.  Bamboo flooring is setting a new standard where construction comes into play. Look into alternate options for industrial trends like this to see how you can really impact your city positively.

City planners can set a new trend with one city by choosing to utilize a plethora of eco-friendly construction materials. Unlike with one residential home, city buildings tend to utilize more features that can make a bigger impact on energy and water usage over time. As city planning advances and environmental concerns increase, it is important for planners and architects to think carefully when allocating materials. There are multiple ways city planners can incorporate eco-friendly materials into their planning. The above are five great options to help show the city’s citizens that you’re striving to construct eco-friendly buildings.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan