Article by guest author, Roger Marx
Energy-efficient buildings are becoming more and more important in recent years. A rising number of consumers say that the environmental impact of a purchase has a large amount of control on whether or not they buy or support something.
If you're curious about how this fits into construction: you're not alone! These are the most energy-efficient building materials for new projects, and why they're useful to anyone constructing a new project.
When using wood, it can take between forty to fifty trees to build the average house. Using recycled steel can take as little as six scrap cars to do the same thing. Steel beams in place of wooden ones can be a great way to have a structurally sound building that can be ordered to fit any design you want. Steel buildings are incredibly reliable and fantastically useful if you live in an area that's hit with hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes.
This can be expensive, so it’s important to plan thoroughly before investing in it.
Intelligent Heating and Cooling
A buildings' materials will decide whether or not it can continue to be Earth-friendly after it's been completed. One of those ways it can help is in how evenly it heats or cools the property. For example, a radiant heat thermostat can ensure there's less moisture in any given room while also allowing a property to heat evenly and without trouble. Of course, these can be made out of recycled products like steel or plastic, but it depends on the brand and availability. Then, of course, there's the added perk that heated floors are so incredibly comfortable to walk on as well!
Insulating Concrete Forms
Concrete has proven to be one of the most surprisingly eco-friendly building materials you can find in recent years. Insulating concrete forms are made by pouring concrete between two insulating layers, and then this form is left in place. This is great for free-standing insulating walls and building blocks and can block out moisture, temperatures, insect life, and noise. In addition, it's excellent insulation that allows you to go beyond asking 'how long does steel siding last?’ and onto ‘can it work with insulating concrete forms?’
Structural Insulated Panels
Made from foam insulation and plywood panels, this fire-resistant floor insulation is an awesome way to make your space sturdier while also ensuring that it's well insulated. This can also be used in some load-bearing walls, but it depends on the thickness of the wall, where it's placed, and how easy it is to access it. Structural insulated panels are an awesome choice for anyone.
Low emission windows are vital to ensuring your building is well insulated, that it has enough weather control for whatever temperatures you’re in, and that it doesn’t pollute as much in its production as other windows.
It's especially important to update your windows if you've noticed a draft or that your heating and cooling bills have skyrocketed in recent years. Although this can be an expensive investment to make, it's important to ensure that your property can last longer, stay more comfortable, and look fantastic doing it.
Plastic Composite Lumber
Mostly made from wood fiber and waster plastic, plastic composite lumber is less toxic and more durable than the average treated wood. Not only can it block out temperatures, stop rot and mold, and stay pliable in warm temperatures, it's also able to be anti-slip which makes it safe for any part of the home. Many may assume this type of lumber flooring is ugly to look at, but it's genuinely an awesome design feature more homeowners should consider.
You can get this type of lumber in an assortment of colors and styles, but it’s important to remember that the dye you pick might not be as eco-friendly as the material itself is.
Vacuum Insulation Panels
Another option for insulation, these panels are an awesome look into what will soon be the norm in homebuilding. Although mainly used for refrigeration in the modern-day, these are looking promising as a future material available for homes.
This insulation is the best yet at reducing heat loss and ensuring that moisture is kept out. Although it's expensive to create, it's worth considering this in a future home. Of course, it's not widely available yet, but when it is, people will be willing to pay thousands above the asking price on any property to be able to include it in the property they're buying.
Every Building Deserves to Be Good for the Earth it's a part of.
When building, it's always a good idea to plan ahead and ensure that the building is as Earth-friendly as possible. Although no type of construction's completely guilt-free, we must take steps to get as close as possible.
Roger Marx is a contributor to the Innovative Building Materials blog. He is a content writer for the construction and home improvement industries with an interest in landscaping, outdoor remodeling, and home renovation. Roger is focused on educating homeowners, contractors, and architects on innovative materials and methods of construction that increase property value and improve sustainability.