Many of the materials used in green residential construction have passed the test of time, but not all of them have made it into the national or local building codes. Issues of fire safety, earthquake resistance and structural integrity sometimes need approval on a case-by-case basis. While alternative building materials meet inspector skeptics along the way, making a case for their use is a burden of proof they must meet for building and engineering professionals after they satisfy the basic code requirements that are within their control.
Ideas about green building materials vary and include everything from straw bales and even mud, but sustainable homes are still accountable when it comes to meeting realistic code building expectations. If using a material or combination of products that just won't gain local approval, consider the idea as well as the code -- there may be an experienced and very sound decision-maker delaying construction with safety and structural know-how that goes beyond the books. Collaboration is almost always a way forward.