Architects and constructors are increasingly looking for ways to minimise environmental impact, making sustainable buildings a priority these days. MJARC, committed to eco-conscious practices, endeavours to explore the easiest materials to recycle in its constructions. In this article, we explore the different sustainable materials available and how your choice can contribute to a greener environment.


Recycled materials: a conscious choice

Recycled materials can be made up of post-consumer or pre-consumer waste, or a combination of both. Post-consumer waste is generated by consumers, such as aluminium cans, plastic, scrap steel during construction, among others. Pre-consumer waste, also known as post-industrial waste, is generally waste generated by industry or part of a production process.

resentam apenas alguns exemplos de como a reciclagem pode ser incorporada à prática construtiva para promover a sustentabilidade e a gestão eficiente de recursos.

Recycling materials in construction is key to reducing waste and minimising environmental impact. Some materials are easier to recycle than others, allowing for a more effective approach to sustainability in construction. Here are some examples of common materials:

  • steel;
  • plaster
  • concrete;
  • wood.

These materials represent just a few examples of how recycling can be incorporated into building practice to promote sustainability and efficient resource management.


Sustainable and certified wood

Although wood is still widely used in construction, for a sustainable approach it is recommended to use products certified according to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards. The FSC is an environmental certification that confirms that the production of a product made from paper, cardboard or wood is being carried out in a responsible and sustainable manner, guaranteeing the preservation of biological diversity and ensuring long-term economic viability.

Nowadays, new construction methods have emerged that use wood as a structural material, bringing an innovative product designed to transform the construction of high-rise buildings: Cross-Laminated Timber (CTL) panels.

Wood House – project with prefabricated wooden structure


Renewable and biodegradable materials

Plant-based materials with harvest cycles of less than 10 years, such as bamboo, linoleum and cork, are considered to be rapidly renewable. 

  • Bamboo

In the sphere of sustainable architecture, bamboo has emerged as a versatile building material. At MJARC, we recognise the unique properties of bamboo and integrate them into our projects, as is the case with the Riverside project.

Riverside – project with a bamboo façade


This material, with a proven history dating back thousands of years, stands out as a sustainable choice for architecture. Unlike many natural resources, bamboo continues to grow and reproduce without the need to be replanted after harvest, presenting itself as an example of resilience in nature.

Bamboo, which belongs to the grass family, flourishes on all continents except Europe and the poles, adapting to diverse climatic conditions. This natural versatility translates into an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, making it extremely light and at the same time stronger than materials such as concrete and brick. However, it is important to emphasise that, like any material, bamboo requires specific treatment to resist insects and rot.


  • Cork

Cork, widely recognised as a national symbol, stands out as an ecologically responsible material that has seen a significant increase in use in recent times.

From an environmental point of view, cork is harvested from living trees, allowing them to continue growing and regenerating the cork. This process couldn’t be more sustainable. Cork’s resilience and flexibility, capable of recovering its original shape even under constant pressure, give it remarkable properties. These characteristics, combined with its resistance to wear and exceptional ability to absorb shocks, make it a favoured choice, especially for flooring that dampens impact noise.

Cork shows remarkable performance in absorbing noise, making it the material of choice for acoustic insulation. It also acts as an efficient thermal insulator, helping to control the energy costs associated with air-conditioning buildings. Projects such as the Nordial Renal Centre in Mirandela demonstrate their commitment to sustainability by integrating cork for insulation in their structures, taking advantage of the environmental benefits and versatility of this material.

Nordial Renal Centre – project with cork flooring for thermal and acoustic insulation


  • Straw

Straw, often underestimated, turns out to be an option for sustainable architecture. Originating from plants such as wheat, barley or rice, straw is a renewable resource in line with agricultural practices that minimise environmental impacts.

In addition to its use as a building material, straw plays a crucial role in reducing energy consumption, contributing to the thermal performance of buildings by regulating the internal temperature. This material, when mixed with clay, not only makes it possible to fill in columns and beams, but also performs an insulating function, both thermally and acoustically.

Contrary to the concerns of the children’s tale of the three little pigs, straw is a safe and sustainable choice. Properly treated, this material offers fire resistance without generating toxic emissions during combustion. Traditional construction techniques, such as the use of straw bales, provide an innovative and efficient approach to integrating this material into architectural projects.


4 measures to consider when choosing sustainable materials


1. Identify local sources of environmentally preferable products

Using local materials not only reduces the environmental damage associated with transportation, it also supports the local economy.

2. Develop a sustainable materials policy

Describe the goals, limits and procedures for purchasing current consumables and durable goods. Evaluate materials based on their upstream value and take into account their life cycle.

3. Specify green materials and equipment

Give preference to renewable materials, regional materials, recovered materials and those with recycled materials. Choose suppliers that promote reduction at source through reusable products or minimal product packaging. Look for certifications and environmental labels on materials.

4. Specify green maintenance products

Choose sustainable cleaning products and materials that meet Green Seal, Environmental Choice or EPA standards to protect indoor environmental quality and reduce environmental damage.


In conclusion, MJARC is committed to adopting sustainable construction practices, opting for materials that contribute to a greener and more ecologically balanced future. The conscious choice of materials in construction is not just a trend, but an urgent necessity to preserve our planet for future generations!