Are the renewable resources actually being regenerated?
Just because a material can be renewed, doesn’t mean that it is being renewed. Investigate sources to determine if replanting/replenishing is actually being done.
Are the renewable resources being regenerated responsibly?
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Just because a material is being renewed doesn’t mean it is being done in an appropriate manner. Monocrop agriculture and single-species tree farms are typically less desirable ecosystems than organic agriculture and diverse forest replantation.
What is the extraction process for nonrenewable resources?
The majority of nonrenewable resources are mined from the earth in some fashion, but the processes are invasive and destructive to different degrees. Even the same resource may be extracted with varying impacts in different places, so be sure to research the specific source of your material.
Fossil fuels Used to make plastic building materials exist in relatively large quantities, but are being depleted quickly. The extraction of oil has a long list of negative ecosystem impacts.
While it may be tempting to value renewable resources over nonrenewable, the ecosystem impacts must be considered carefully for each material, as the overall ecosystems impacts may be higher for some renewable resources. It is most likely that a home will require the use of both types of resources, so both categories will need consideration.