Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate
Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate

11 Green Building Materials For Sustainable Property Investors

Written by JD Esajian

Among today’s greatest real estate trends is the movement towards green building materials. Investors are moving more and more towards environmentally friendly materials, which have been well-received throughout the real estate industry. According to Asset Based Lending, LLC, environmentally-friendly properties sell for nine percent more, on average, when compared to a traditional buildings.

Green building can help the environment and your business at the same time, making it a great opportunity for investors. Keep reading to learn which green building options you might be able to make use of on your next project.

What Is Green Building?

While the idea of green building is not new, many real estate investors may find themselves unfamiliar with what it truly involves. Quite simply, green building refers to utilizing sustainable building practices and materials with a smaller environmental impact than traditional builds. Investors often consider energy efficiency and eco-friendly materials when it comes to green building. For example, green buildings are thought to use less water and energy than conventional alternatives. Consequently, environmentally friendly buildings can help both investors and owners lower costs.

[ Thinking about investing in real estate? Register to attend a FREE online real estate class and learn how to get started investing in real estate. ]

examples of green building materials

Benefits Of Green Materials In Real Estate

When it comes to green building, multiple parties can reap the benefits of eco-friendly building practices. Investors may be surprised to find out that increased profits are only one potential benefit of working with environmentally-friendly buildings. Tenants, community members and, of course, the environment are also key players in a green build. The numerous benefits of green real estate investing should serve to educate you on this strategy, as they can provide a wide array of benefits you may not have previously considered. Here are just a few reasons you may want to consider green real estate investing during your next deal:

  • Higher Returns: Investors who seek out green real estate investing will often find that there are higher returns when it comes to eco-friendly building. This can be a result of decreased expenses, reduced vacancies, and, consequently, higher cash flow.

  • Positive Environmental Impact: It’s certainly the most obvious benefit on this list, but it deserves to be said just in case. By utilizing green building materials, investors are consuming less energy, reducing landfill waste, and potentially recycling materials–all of which have been shown to have positive environmental impacts.

  • Lower Expenses: While you may find a discrepancies when it comes to comparing the cost of some sustainable building materials with their conventional counterparts, you will also find that there are numerous grants and financing options available for green real estate investing. A great place to find more information is through

  • Tax Credits: Similar to the way extra financing options may be available to eco-friendly builds, there are also certain tax benefits you may be eligible for with a green build. For example, investors may find federal tax credits for solar panels and solar water heaters. To find out more information on tax credits that may be available, visit

  • Lower Utility Bills: Another one of the biggest benefits of green building is that eco-friendly materials often equate to lower monthly utilities for either you or your tenants. This can make your property more marketable, in turn making it easier for you to find and retain tenants.

  • Housing Boosts: By making use of green building materials, investors may see property values climb, too. This helps not only your business but the surrounding market as well. Environmentally conscious properties often have greater demand and appraisal values.

  • Health Benefits: There are numerous studies that suggest environmentally friendly homes can have a positive health impact on occupants. For example, according to the World Green Building Council, green buildings have been shown to have better indoor air quality than traditional buildings.

  • Positive Ethical Impacts: For investors who choose to take the green route, you may notice an increased sense of pride regarding a rehab or renovation. Boosting the environment can improve the world around you, and business owners who opt to go green can take pride in their positive contributions.

  • Job Creation: It is thought that through the increased use of green materials for building, more jobs will be created throughout the United States, contributing to the developing industries. The reason I make note of this is because investors should pay attention to the indirect aspects of their business decisions as well.

11 Examples Of Green Building Materials

If moving forward with green real estate investing sounds like a path you may be interested in, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the wide array of green building construction materials that are on the market. Additionally, investors should make note of other ways to become environmentally friendly through energy efficient appliances and lighting options. As you hone in on the best materials for your project, be sure to conduct research and evaluate the availability, cost and durability of each selection. The following green building materials list should give you a good idea of what’s on the market right now:

  1. Aerogel

  2. Cotton

  3. Sheep Wool

  4. Straw Bale

  5. Rammed Earth

  6. Grasscrete

  7. Stone

  8. Bamboo

  9. Paper-Based Countertops

  10. Recycled Glass

  11. Tiles

Sustainable Building Materials For Construction

  • Aerogel

  • Cotton

  • Sheep Wool

  • Straw Bale

  • Rammed Earth

When it comes to green building construction materials, there are a number of options available to you. One that you may already be aware of is aerogel, which was initially popularized by NASA. The substance works by taking the liquid out of gels and serves as a powerful insulator. Costs of heating and cooling will be dramatically lower in homes insulated with aerogel; however, despite being more affordable when compared to years past, it still remains one of the greenest materials for building on the market.

For investors looking into more affordable insulation options, cotton is a great alternative. Recycled cotton is widely available due to the textile industry and is often cheaper to acquire when compared to other materials. Additionally, once treated with boron, cotton becomes flame retardant. Sheep wool is another sustainable insulation material and serves as a good alternative to fiberglass or foam boards.

Green Building Materials For The Exterior

  • Grasscrete

  • Stone

  • Bamboo

There are also several environmentally friendly exterior building options that can be utilized for a variety of projects. For example, investors looking for an alternative to a traditional asphalt driveway should make note of grasscrete. Grasscrete is a concrete grass paving option that is often more affordable when compared to asphalt. It can be used in combination with stone or concrete to create a visually appealing appearance.

Next, there are materials such as stone and bamboo that can be used to create alternatives to porches and patios. By using stone or bamboo, investors can create a natural space that is environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing. You may be wondering why wood did not make it on the list, and that’s because when it comes to building a deck or patio with wood it can be hard to identify whether or not the wood was brought from a sustainable business. Additionally, wood decks often require stains and seals in order to last, both of which can be toxic to the environment.

sustainable building materials

Interior Green Building Materials

  • Paper-Based Countertops

  • Recycled Glass

When it comes to interior materials, one of the first places investors often start is by utilizing energy-efficient appliances. By replacing older appliances, you can help yourself save money in the long run through lowered utility bills and maintenance. There are several Energy Star rated appliances on the market, making choosing energy-efficient appliances easier than ever. Additionally, investors will want to make note of energy-efficient lighting options, through light fixtures and LED bulbs.

For actual interior building materials, there are several options for projects ranging from countertops to flooring. Paper-based counters are one of the most common choices because of their affordability and low maintenance nature. However, investors may be hesitant to take advantage of this option because of the lack of design options available. Alternately, investors can make use of recycled glass for countertops. This option is also low maintenance, although it can be more expensive when compared to paper-based options.


After considering the benefits of green building, you may be asking yourself why all investors don’t make use of sustainable business practices. The answer is easy: many investors often misunderstand the initial cost of a green build and can assume it is cheaper to ignore eco-friendly materials as a whole. Similarly, many investors may simply be unfamiliar with the best practices for executing an environmentally-friendly build or renovation. As an entrepreneur, it is key to consistently seek out and pursue new opportunities. When it comes to green building practices, there is a chance to help yourself, the community, and the world around you. Why not give it a try?

Ready to start taking advantage of the current opportunities in the real estate market?

Click the banner below to take a 90-minute online training class and get started learning how to invest in today’s real estate market!