Each and every year, new and intriguing green building materials that promise energy efficiency and performance hit the market surrounded by quite a bit of buzz.
Technology drives much of the innovation when it comes to green building materials, and many of the latest products on the market increase the use of reusable, recyclable materials. Not only are these products green, they help create sustainable, greener buildings as well.
While there are hundreds of such green products that are new on the market, here are a few that grab attention.
Cross-laminated timber. CrossLam is one type of cross-laminated timber (CLT) structural panels made by gluing layers of softwood at right angles next to each other, creating panels that are light, stable in all directions, and can be used on flooring, walls, and roofing. CLT is made from less desirable wood, even wood taken from forests that were killed by mountain pine beetles. It was named by BuildingGreen.com as a top upcoming product.
Expanded-cork boardstock insulation. Cork-growers continue to expand the uses for their sustainable product, the result of a periodic harvesting process that doesn’t harm the trees. The latest is an insulation where cork pellets are steam-expanded and naturally bind to one another, creating excellent insulation characteristics without ozone-damaging flame retardants, according to Readinform.com
Viridian Reclaimed Wood. This company reclaims a variety of hard and soft wood from pallets, crates, and packing material to make flooring, tabletops, paneling, veneers, and more. The wood is heat-treated and kiln-dried without chemicals so that the product is clean.
Earth Measure stone. This stone product, which is made from the waste of stone manufacturing, is cut into specific patterns to mimic natural stone. It can be used from everything from pavers to walls to flooring, both inside and outside, as well as in horizontal and vertical applications, per BuildingGreen.com.
Low-E Windows. A clear coating of metallic oxide applied to the exposed surface of glass can reduce heat flow through the glass by 50 percent and reduce heating costs by 10 to 20 percent. Not only does the clear glazing not effect visibility, the result of one product by Cardinal Glass is low-e performance previously achievable only with a triple-glazed window.
Mineral Wool Board Insulation. Roxul manufactures wool board insulation, used in both commercial and residential applications, made from a minimum of 75 percent pre-consumer recycled content, primarily of iron ore slag. It’s fire resistant without using flame retardant, is rigid enough to be used as exterior insulation, and is an alternative to foam-plastic insulation.
If you’re looking at renovating with the environment in mind then there are a host of great options. You’ll be pleased to hear that these options are not only kind to the environment but also kind to the hip pocket. Eco-friendly doesn’t have to mean expensive. In fact often it’s about working with what you have or can reclaim. So here are five tips for an eco-friendly renovation.
Much of our energy consumption is dedicated to heating and cooling our homes, so turn your attention to insulation. If you’re having your roof redone as part of a reno, consider insulation sheeting directly below the roof, or if you’re retro-fitting insulation it’s a great idea to invest in high quality insulation above the ceiling, which can be easily fitted. Specialist roofing companies such as Roofmasters have some great tips on insulation for new or existing roofing.
On the subject of heating and cooling, turn your attention to your renovation design and embrace passive solar principles. This involves using sunlight to heat your home in the appropriate areas by positioning living areas with a northern aspect to allow in winter sunlight. North-facing windows provide twice the winter sunlight as east or west-facing windows do, while south-facing windows receive no direct sunlight at all. Where possible, minimise south-facing windows and shade western windows through external foliage or window treatments.
Harness The Sun
In the past couple of years there’s been a real push to utilize solar power within the home. There are still some great financial incentives for people looking to go solar. As a minimum, you can power your own home for a lot of the time, cutting power bills and energy consumption from the grid. At the other end of the spectrum you can be paid to feed your solar energy back into the grid.
Renovate Using Reclaimed Materials
Why pay for new when existing can be just as good, if not better? Why not give old building materials a new lease on life by either purchasing reclaimed materials or reworking what you already have? There are hundreds of building yards selling reclaimed building items, from gorgeous French doors to bathtubs, leadlight windows and even floor and wall tiles. Often they are also available at a fraction of the price of new products – all that’s required is a little extra hunting to find the things you need that suit your project.
A great way of minimizing your environmental footprint is by donating your unwanted building items. These may include windows, doors, old wood, roofing or even bricks. You can take comfort in the fact that although to you they are now rubbish they might be reincarnated elsewhere and save the environment just a little bit of landfill.
It’s easy to reduce our carbon footprint just a little through some small acts that add up over time. Any renovator should also be assured that by renovating they are already embracing a more sustainable alternative as they are not building from scratch.