The Challenges of Sustainable Construction

Have you ever thought about living in a sustainable home? With the climate emergency, the building industry is renewing itself and asking questions: what ecological materials can replace current resources? How to avoid heat loss as much as possible while opting for renewable materials? Fortunately, there are now many solutions. What are they and what are their advantages? The challenges of sustainable construction are indeed numerous. Let's take a look at them.

What is eco-construction?


The term sustainable construction, or eco-building, is used for building projects with a low ecological impact.

The goal of this type of architecture? To integrate harmoniously and respectfully into the environment in which it is located. To achieve this, natural resources and local potential are used as often as possible.

Aspects to be taken into account in the design phase

Do you want to opt for sustainable construction? Then it is best to address the technical aspects already in the planning phase of your project.

Your client and planner can then assess :

  • the preferred operating methods for controlled energy consumption ;
  • the potential lifespan of the future building, or of certain parts of it, conditioned by its environment
  • the choice of recyclable products and materials to be used;
  • the shortest and most environmentally friendly transport routes for construction and operation;
  • the different possibilities for demolition.

Prime House grants for eco-housing

In order to encourage the construction of environmentally friendly houses, it is possible to establish a LENOZ environmental certification.

Obtaining this certification makes it possible to obtain state subsidies for new construction, known as PRIMe House.



What are the criteria for sustainable housing?

Insulating your house or flat properly

In direct relation to the future need for heat, and the type of heating to be used, the house must be perfectly insulated.

A sustainable construction will favour renewable raw materials, without harmful components for the environment and the health of its occupants.

Reduce the risk of heat loss

Limiting the amount of heat loss allows energy consumption to be limited, particularly in terms of heating.

This is why, for a sustainable home, the objective is to limit this heat loss surface, while maximising the volume of living space. Semi-detached houses are one of the solutions for achieving this goal.

In addition, thermal bridges must be limited to ensure a perfectly insulated envelope, but also to avoid problems of humidity and mould. This is why extra vigilance is required during the insulation phase of the property.

Finally, the thermal envelope must be wind and airtight.

Southern exposure for an eco-built home

When combined with solar protection, orienting the building towards the south allows for even greater optimisation of its energy consumption.

In fact, this orientation makes it possible to limit the lighting of the rooms as much as possible, while taking advantage of the benefits of the sun in winter, which heats the windows and therefore the interiors.

However, in summer, the risks of overheating must be limited. Similarly, exposure to the wind should be controlled to avoid cooling the house.

Electricity and water consumption

With regard to the electricity consumption of the house, several options can be considered:

  • Electricity supply from renewable resources;
  • the use of one or more private photovoltaic panels.

Similarly, to limit the consumption of drinking water, a rainwater recovery system can be installed. This water will then be collected and used to supply the toilets, the washing machine, or to water the garden.

Construction processes and materials for environmentally responsible housing

The choice of materials used for construction has a real impact on the thermal envelope of your future home.

There are several choices for your project, which should be defined at the planning stage:

  • solid wood (combined with insulation) ;
  • massive (classic concrete structure with external insulation)
  • hybrid (with wood, concrete and steel)
  • with an insulating block;
  • adapted for summer protection (inertia), for protection against overheating in summer.

Depending on the construction method chosen, the duration of the work may change.

Environmentally friendly materials

Building materials can release numerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

These substances cause varying degrees of discomfort depending on the degree of sensitivity of those exposed (headaches, allergies, fatigue, reduced performance, sleep disturbance and respiratory tract irritation).

By choosing ecological materials, you limit these risks and improve the quality of your indoor air. Your home is healthy for you and those around you, as well as for the environment.


What are the challenges of sustainable construction?

Ecology and health

Thanks to a moderate consumption of resources, associated with the use of biosourced and/or ecological materials, sustainable construction contributes to the preservation of the environment.

Thus, the carbon footprint of each stage of the construction site must be as low as possible. For this, even the very early stages must be considered. This means taking into account

  • the extraction of raw materials
  • their transport; and
  • the transformation of raw materials into usable materials on the site
  • their installation;
  • their use by the inhabitants of the built housing;

- the recyclability of materials at the time of demolition. Concerning the latter, it must be as high as possible to limit the depletion of the natural resources available to us.

The choice of eco-construction therefore has direct positive effects on ecosystems, the greenhouse effect, as well as pollution and the formation of smog... even in our indoor air! Indeed, the various coatings and glues emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in living areas, which are toxic for living beings.

Thus, opting for sustainable construction means above all being a player in preserving nature and the landscape, for the present generation and those to come.

In short, there are so many arguments for choosing the right materials when starting the work.

A high-value property investment

Beyond the term "green", which is trendy, salesy and regularly promoted by the media, sustainable construction is above all a high-value, stable investment.

It is true that the planning costs are higher than in traditional construction. However, a high-quality, ecologically designed building will have significantly lower costs during the operating phase (including energy savings).

It is therefore an interesting real estate investment to consider in the long term!


You are now aware of the challenges of sustainable construction and the criteria to be taken into account. When it comes to how to get a passive house, new questions may well emerge. It all depends on your budget and your goals.