One trend that’s growing in construction across the board is the increased desire for eco-friendly materials—and drywall materials are no different. This puts drywall companies in a bit of a unique bind.
On the one hand, you naturally want to be able to cover any customer need. On the other hand, this means potentially needing to buy new equipment, new materials, and even invest in new training for your team. Here’s a closer look at why that may be worth the investments, as well as what green drywall materials are on the table.
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Why Go Green?
Let’s say for the sake of argument that you are a drywall company that’s doing well already. Being successful with your current suite of services, you may be on the fence on whether you want to add green drywall to that list. Here are some reasons why you may want to take that step:
Trends: Just because eco-friendly drywall isn’t the most popular option now doesn’t mean that it won’t be later. Due to trying to mitigate climate change, there are only going to be more and more alternative products out there. As these are better marketed and more accessible, they will also skyrocket in popularity.
Competition: Companies that take the time to learn how green drywall materials work and offer them as a part of their set of options may incur a cost of money and time early on. However, they may be thinking ahead. When these options start getting mainstream traction, customers will want to go to the provider with the most experience in that area. This is something that you want to be mindful of as a business owner. The last thing you want to do is lose people to competition because they offer a service you can’t.
Environmental concerns/regulations: If there is likely to be a sweeping change in how certain building materials are made or used, drywall is likely going to be near the top. In terms of construction materials, drywall is one of the highest generators of greenhouse gases, along with steel and cement. This is largely due to the high amount of carbon dioxide generated in its creation, the gypsum mines needed to get the raw material, as well as the power that is needed for the kilns where it is produced. With climate change being a concern, there may be a shift in how we look at drywall in the future. It’s best to be ahead of the curve.
Drywall Materials To Use
So, what are some of the eco-friendly options you should look into the next time you meet up with drywall materials suppliers?
This option is quickly growing in popularity when it comes to eco-friendly options. Environmentally, compared to conventional drywall, it uses as much as 50% less energy to manufacture. It also allows for some other unique benefits, like being recyclable and compostable, while also being made entirely of non-toxic ingredients. This last point is important because not everyone has the time or interest to recycle or compost old drywall. However, at least this way, it won’t leech chemicals into the water or soil from a landfill. It is A1 fire rated to keep with local codes, and it is also impact, scratch, and dent-resistant.
Could leftover wheat and straw be your next wallboard? Possibly. Some companies are manufacturing this product, and on top of being made of recycled materials, there are also no chemical binders. For those who want green alternatives to drywall, this is great since there is no risk of chemical vapors, not to mention the byproducts of conventional drywall production. As an additional note, these compressed fiber walls are also actually more durable than traditional gypsum drywall.
Sometimes, it’s not so much what you make, but how you make it. Some wallboard providers are revolutionizing their manufacturing strategy to be more eco-friendly. Closed-loop processes are a good example. Under this system, waste byproducts like water, scrap, and dust all get recycled into manufacturing, meaning next to no waste. One company offers a fabric laminated wallboard that boasts 98% recycled materials.
Gypsum is the normal root of all drywall, but not in every case. Around 30% of all manufactured drywall doesn’t actually have gypsum ore, but uses an industrial byproduct of coal power plants instead. This is essentially the same as mined gypsum, but this synthetic option means it doesn’t have to go into landfills, saving resources. Chances are that your company already uses synthetic gypsum in some capacity, but it’s also a good idea to check into where your recycled gypsum is sourced from.
This final option is a bit more niche than the other items on this list so far but does bear mentioning. Wood from old or demolished buildings can be used as a substitute for drywall in a pinch. Note that unless you have access to the wood yourself, this will probably be more expensive. Regardless, it does offer an option with fewer chemicals or greenhouse gases generated, while also recycling the existing wood. It can also be altered to match the color scheme plans for the rest of the building.
Offering green drywall materials is a great way to help your company stand out from some of the alternatives, but you want to make sure you aren’t hurting yourself financially when trying to branch out. It’s essential that you have a method to estimate the drywall materials cost for these eco-friendly options, as well as keeping track of the number of drywall materials needed per job. This is where project management software like eSUB comes in. With our financial tracking software, your drywall materials estimator can use the history of your past work to determine exactly how much these new materials cost. Appeal to your customers and stay financially healthy with our help.