Things like caulk and insulation are certainly not the sexiest things to think about when you’re building or renovating, but it doesn’t make them any less important. Every material you use – from green roof systems to eco friendly foundations – has an impact on the environment and often your health, as well. Plus, despite what you might think, there are some very interesting, wow-worthy eco friendly house building materials to consider these days. Here are some examples:
- Recycled denim insulation – Better for the environment, better thermal performance, better acoustics control, better for indoor air quality, and easier to install since it’s doesn’t irritate skin or your respiratory system. Why would we let any denim end up in a landfill when it’s such an incredible resource?
- Solar shingles – These little guys harvest energy just like solar panels, but they’re easier to install. Just like their bulkier big brothers, they’re tax-subsidized, they protect the roof, and they can potentially be profitable (if you capture more energy than you need).
- Bark siding and shingles – This relatively new material is truly amazing. Traditionally the bark is discarded as debris, burned, or in some cases used to make mulch. Using bark as sustainable building materials rescues it from this fate and provides a highly sustainable alternative to traditional siding and shingling materials. Bark siding can last 75 to 100 years without any painting, sealant, or regular maintenance. (Unbelievable, right?) The absence of paint or stain means there’s never any chemical runoff. Plus, the kiln- drying process sterilizes it against fungus and pests (meaning no pesticides or other harmful chemicals are required). Also, bark that is kiln-dried will never warp or shrink upon installation. Incredible!