Green building uses renewable materials with minimal environmental impact throughout their lifecycle. It’s a form of building that aims to mitigate the negative environmental impact of the construction industry.
Due to its focus on sustainable construction, green building material companies in California are at the forefront of such efforts.
Green building materials include rammed earth, adobe, cob, bamboo, earthbag, reclaimed wood, and cork. Although building with these materials requires expertise to ensure proper building standards, they’re often more efficient and cost-effective than their conventional counterparts.
Additionally, green building materials can be easier to maintain, furthering their sustainable nature.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss the best 18 green building material companies in California. Whether you want to renovate an existing house or build a new one, they’ll have suitable materials to meet your needs. Let’s get started!
Rammed earth is among the green building materials in use today.
As the name suggests, this building technique entails ramming a mixture of clay, gravel, sand, silt, and a stabilizer (if any) into formworks to create the walls.
These aggregates must be mixed in the right proportions before ramming to create strong and durable walls. Consequently, you need an established rammed earth building company that knows what goes into making this material.
The following are the best rammed earth construction companies in California:
1. Feldman Architecture
Feldman Architecture is one of the top green building material companies in California.
The company focuses on sustainability by building rammed earth houses in California with the following considerations:
- Solar electricity harvesting
- Water harvesting
- Thermal mass
- Passive solar for winter
- Passive cooling in summer
Feldman Architecture has a unique construction approach. It works in conversation with clients and colleagues to foster cooperation and collaboration.
The company listens without preconceptions, shares vision and values, and sifts through the possibilities to find a solution that harmonizes the needs of every client.
2. Semmes & Co. Builders
Semmes & Co. Builders is a company with a mission to build high-quality, energy-efficient homes to provide good value for satisfied customers.
The company’s unique approach to construction brings together a team composed of the homeowner, realtor, architect, and outside consultants to ensure a successful project.
It incorporates the following processes into its building process:
- Consulting: Reviewing municipal regulations and the associated fees to provide cost estimates.
- Preconstruction: Creating the design, layout, and finishes for the project.
- Construction: A dedicated project team comprising a supervisor, a manager, and well-trained craftspeople ensures the work is done to building standards.
The company focuses on passive solar design to ensure the highest level of energy efficiency in all homes.
3. Rammed Earth Works
Although based in California, the Rammed Earth Works company manufactures rammed earth panels for clients worldwide.
The company specializes in rammed earth panels that are 5 inches (12.7 cm) high and 12 inches (30.48 cm) long. Besides these dimensions, the company manufactures custom rammed earth panels to meet the specification of customers.
Established in 1976, the company has worked on hundreds of high-profile residences and commercial projects. It brings a combined hundred years of rammed earth building expertise to every project to satisfy clients’ needs.
Throughout its existence, Rammed Earth Works has refined its forming system, soil characterization, mix design, compaction, and delivery techniques for high-quality services.
4. Sirecon Rammed Earth Architecture
Sirecon Rammed Earth Architecture is a full-service rammed earth design company based in Los Angeles.
The company integrates the client’s needs into timeless rammed earth architecture.
Sirecon Rammed Earth Architecture has a unique approach to rammed earth construction, focusing on sustainability, energy efficiency, and soundproofing.
By designing walls between 18 and 24 inches (45.7 and 61 cm) thick, the company ensures high thermal mass for passive solar and soundproofing.
The company offers complete design services, from planning to construction. It also provides site feasibility evaluation and soil suitability assessment for projects to ensure clients get the most out of their money.
Adobe bricks are made by mixing sand, clay, straw, and water. The main difference between adobe bricks and conventional bricks is that the latter is fired while the former is sun-dried.
Adobe bricks are green building materials because they are natural, renewable, and biodegradable.
The following are the best adobe building companies in California:
5. Dutton Architects
Founded in 2005, Dutton Architects specializes in modern, smart, inspired designs for living and working.
Before embarking on any project, the company discusses the unique requirements with the client to elucidate their desires.
Since Dutton Architects treats each site uniquely in terms of the landscape, terrain, orientation, and shape, it assesses the requirements for each site in detail.
After extensive discussion with the client and site inspection, the company develops schematic alternatives like sketches, plans, and models. These schematic alternatives ensure that every project is unique.
The company builds custom residential homes (single and multi-family) and commercial and institutional spaces (offices, restaurants, and libraries).
Dutton Architects’ sustainable nature is based on the fact that it incorporates adobe into its building practices. It’s credited for building this modern adobe house in California.
6. Cal Earth
Cal Earth, or the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture, is a nonprofit organization that aims to offer solutions to the human need for shelter through sustainable and green building.
The organization aims to achieve its goal by researching, developing, and educating people on earth architecture.
Due to the rising global housing shortage, Cal Earth seeks to empower every person to build a safe and sustainable home using earth and other natural materials.
The organization offers online classes for those interested in earthen building techniques like adobe and earthship construction.
You can also shop for green building materials like construction plans and earthbag rolls for the construction of your home.
In addition, Cal Earth offers advisory services to ensure builders make the right decisions throughout their projects.
7. David Wright Architect
David Wright is an environmental architect experienced in passive solar and sustainable architecture. He creates houses that heat and cool themselves naturally to save energy.
David Wright Architect offers finely crafted custom designs and pre-designed plans throughout California.
The company has a unique approach to architecture that fuses compatible individual styles like the Victorian High-Tech, California and Japanese Mission, and Zen-Mex.
It considers environmental responsiveness, the client’s taste, and local suitability to ensure each architectural solution incorporates a different look and feel.
David Wright Architect’s designs incorporate the following:
- Passive solar: Designing houses that use the sun for light, space heating/cooling, and water heating
- Daylighting: Maximizing natural daylight while preventing overheating and glare.
- Green materials: Adobe bricks, engineered wood, rammed earth, and straw bale.
8. Hubbell & Hubbell Architects
Hubbell & Hubbell Architects is a green building material designer in California.
Founded in 1995, the company offers architecture and planning services to those looking for sustainable construction, artistic detailing, and innovative design work.
The company is unique due to its ability to integrate tradition, artistry, and innovation with sustainability.
Hubbell & Hubbell Architects prides itself as a leader in green building materials since 1995. Therefore, it has the knowledge and capability to offer custom solutions for each project.
The company’s green building methods include the following:
- Straw bale
- Passive solar design
- Natural plasters
- Insulated composite concrete form
- Green roof
Hubbell & Hubbell Architects listen to the client’s needs before tailoring a design that addresses those needs.
Cob is a green building material made by trampling sand, clay, straw, lime, and water.
The main difference between cob and rammed earth is that while the latter is built in formworks, the former is hand-shaped. The cob’s shape and size are determined by the length of the builder’s arms.
The following are the best cob building companies in California:
9. California Cob
Founded by Rob Pollacek, California Cob is a company that blends nature with innovation to create sustainable solutions for housing needs.
The company believes that environmental stewardship starts with the home and builds houses in harmony with nature. It offers cob building services across California, from design to construction.
Rob started working with cob in 1999 after reading Michael Smith’s “Cobber’s Companion.” He also went for an apprenticeship with The Cob Cottage Company in 2000 to gain more knowledge.
Rob began his cob building career in California after returning from the apprenticeship.
With over 16 years in cob building, Pollacek is the go-to person for cob building in California.
Besides running California Cob, Rob organizes workshops where he shares his knowledge with those interested in cob construction.
10. Sam Einolander
Sam Einolander is a green builder specializing in cob construction.
Sam’s career as a cob builder started by building his cob home along the Gaviota coast in California. The company specializes in cob, slip straw, and earthen-based plasters.
With a certification in Permaculture Design, Sam brings an ecological approach to cob building.
The company’s services range from design to construction of cob houses, ovens, and sculptures, focusing on sustainability.
To date, Sam sees great potential in cob building to provide people with sustainable and eco-friendly homes. He focuses on designing fire-resistant houses with excellent humidity control.
Bamboo is a green building material because it’s renewable and natural, making it ideal for sustainable construction.
Bamboo’s renewable nature is based on the fact that it matures more quickly than trees.
Being one of the fastest-growing plants, some species of bamboo shoot out of the ground at four centimeters per hour. Some species, like the Chinese Moso, can grow almost a meter daily.
That said, here are some of the best bamboo building companies in California:
11. Bamboo Living
Bamboo Living designs prefab bamboo homes across the world.
The company’s unique approach to green building entails blending time-honored bamboo craftsmanship with modern fabrication and design techniques to deliver custom-made homes.
All projects are tailored to be in harmony with the site and its surroundings for quality living.
Bamboo Living has a qualified team that packages and assembles bamboo structures within a few days to save time.
The company designs any type of structure you can think of. From tiny homes and studios to gazebos and condos, Bamboo Living can make it happen.
BamCore seeks to reduce carbon emissions due to residential and commercial construction projects that rely on conventional building materials.
The company’s unique green building design combines demand-driven carbon sequestration and reduced energy consumption in the built environment to minimize the use of energy-intensive materials.
BamCore’s designs aim to eliminate thermal bridging common in conventional stud-based framing by harnessing the strength of the highly renewable bamboo timber.
Combining the above design approaches, the company’s wall system contributes to a reduction of up to 125 metric tons of carbon emissions.
It’s expected that as the company develops and improves its roofing and subfloor systems, there will be an increase in carbon footprint benefits.
13. Bamboo DNA
This is one of the best green building material companies in California.
The company designs, builds, and installs bamboo structures and environments.
Bamboo DNA targets event producers, non-profit entities, and private commissioners who need unique and rigorous structures for various functions.
From creating musical stages to collapsible mobile kiosks, Bamboo DNA is your go-to provider.
The company creates unforgettable event memories by blending intricate bamboo designs with a unique style.
Earthbags are natural building materials made by filling polypropylene bags with soil and stacking them together like bricks or stone.
Companies specializing in earthbag building in California include the following:
14. RSP Group Construction
This is a collaborative, client-centered general contractor that serves the Bay Area.
RSP Group Construction stands out by approaching projects with the utmost care and attention to detail.
The company offers residential and commercial construction services for institutions and restaurants. It serves customers based on collaboration, communication, and inclusivity.
15. Simple Construct
Simple Construct specializes in high-performance natural homes.
The company focuses on carbon-positive green building practices to create energy-efficient and sustainable homes.
The company’s green building aspect is based on the fact that it focuses on using carbon-sequestering materials to reduce embodied carbon due to the construction industry.
It also educates people about the health and environmental benefits of building with green materials like earthbags and straw bales.
Simple Construct incorporates the consult-subcontract strategy to ensure projects meet the official building standards.
Besides offering earthbag building services in California, the company provides site planning, custom design/build, and general contracting services.
Straw bale building uses bales of straw, such as rice, wheat, oat, and rye, to build walls. These straw bales are also used as insulators for homes.
The best straw bale builders in California include the following:
16. The California Straw Building Association (CASBA)
The California Straw Building Association is a nonprofit organization that deals with straw bale construction.
As an all-volunteer organization, CASBA draws its membership from people interested in or dedicated to straw bale construction.
Most of the organization’s members include architects, owner-builders, contractors, and engineers.
Established in 1996, the organization is on a mission to further the practice of straw building by sharing the best information and experience.
The organization promotes and researches extensively to make a body of knowledge available for people looking to build with straw bales.
Besides California, CASBA collaborates with affiliates to spread straw bale building to far-flung areas around the globe.
It also conducts annual conferences where members learn from forums, speakers, and each other to enhance the art of straw bale building.
17. Arkin Tilt Architects
Arkin Tilt Architects specializes in ecological planning and designing.
The company aims to design structures that are in harmony with the surroundings, are resource-efficient, and enhance passive survivability.
The company’s green building nature is based on its vast experience in designing structures that meet the requirements of alternative construction systems like straw bale and rammed earth.
It also incorporates greywater and nontoxic recycled materials in its planning. These are the essential building considerations that make for an all-round green building.
The company’s unique design approach places the client at the center of everything. Therefore, it derives its design guidelines from the client’s specifications and the particulars of the site. This way, it designs structures that meet the client’s needs and are in harmony with the environment.
18. DSA Architects
As one of the green building material companies in California, Daniel Smith and Associates Architects specializes in green design.
The company’s mission is to design healthy, beautiful, and durable eco-friendly buildings.
The best thing about this company’s projects is that they’re net-zero – they sequester as much carbon dioxide as they generate.
For over 40 years, the company has been providing a wide range of green architectural services for the residences of Berkeley, California. Its services incorporate consulting and comprehensive designing.
The company works with clients to design projects that meet their needs while being sympathetic to the environment and community.
By doing its work with a focus on sustainable design and strategies, DSA Architects is among the top companies that use sustainable building materials in California.
The company’s design process involves the following:
- Pre-design: Familiarizing with the site and understanding the client’s needs. This is where the company captures the general expectations for the project.
- Schematic design: Exploring several design options to find the best fit without getting lost in details prematurely.
- Design development: Refining the design obtained from the schematic design phase.
- Construction documentation: Documenting construction details like materials and building components. The documentation creates the plan that’s handed to the contractor for implementation.
Final Thoughts On Green Building Material Companies in California
Green building material companies in California are committed to creating sustainable structures. Whether it’s straw bale, rammed earth, or other forms of green construction, these companies can help you design and build eco-friendly buildings.
If you’re looking for a company to partner with on your green building project, consider one of the above companies that meets your needs.