Green home building has been on the rise in the U.S. for a while now. Annedel Builders, Inc. is proud to have been a sustainable home builder in Sonoma and surrounding counties for several years now. We believe that green home design and construction are essential to the future of not only Northern California, but the state and country as a whole. We also know that eco-friendly home construction and design are constantly evolving and changing, especially as new green materials are discovered and developed each year.
Check out these five green home-building materials you may or may not have considered when it comes to designing a sustainable home:
Yes, wood seems like a common material used in houses for centuries now, but knowing where this wood comes from can make all the difference for green home designs. It is crucial that sustainable home builders ensure their wood comes from the correct sources, such as wood that boasts a Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) accreditation or has been salvaged from previous buildings, which can add great character and charm to any design when utilized correctly.
As a natural product, lime is extremely versatile, utilized traditionally for mortar and plaster binders as well as render and washes in many of Britain’s older structures that still stand today. We’ve now discovered that lime-based materials can be incorporated to maintain low-carbon construction designs, allowing buildings to breathe and move naturally, which is why so many older buildings have remained sturdy. Incorporating these materials into home designs means it will be a property built to last, with lime-based products allowing for moisture control, minimizing dampness and improving internal comfort and providing health benefits to those who live within.
Though cork has been commonly used in Europe for a while now, it is just starting to become a go-to resource for green building in the U.S. the past few years. Cork is frequently used as a green insulation alternative, providing excellent thermal insulation thanks to its unique air cushion design — 50% of cork cell volume is made up of air! It is also mold-resistant, as its porous makeup helps to ensure a home is much more resistant to unwanted mold and mildew. Harvested from the bark of cork oak trees, it is a renewable natural material that can be recycled and maintains biodegradability. It can also be used for flooring and provides additional thermal and acoustic insulation for homes.
4. Reclaimed & Recycled Roofs
When builders approach a green home project, they can’t just go for materials that offer flashy labels like energy-efficient or carbon neutral. An important aspect of green home design is also incorporating materials that are known to be long-lasting and durable. The maintenance and repair of certain roof materials, such as asphalt shingles, can be anything but environmentally friendly. Not only does this drain resources, it also adds to landfills with materials that don’t hold up over time. Similarly, wood shakes not only require more maintenance and care than green materials, but also can allow air and moisture to escape the house, providing poor insulation and protection in the long run. This is why many builders now consider more durable and green materials that require much less maintenance and resources over the course of a home’s lifetime. Green-friendly roofing materials to consider include metal manufactured from recycled materials, as well as reclaimed slate or clay, or recycled rubber.
5. Smart Glass Windows
Dreaming of a wide open living space with tons of natural light? Of course, this sounds like every potential homeowner’s dream — but what about maintaining energy efficiency with so much window space? One of the latest trends in luxury sustainable buildings is incorporating smart glass to enhance the beauty of the natural light in a space while maintaining necessary insulation. Smart glass is designed to change its heating properties based on the heating and air conditioning in a home. This means that when it’s the middle of summer and all that natural light — and heat — could be streaming in, you won’t have to close your curtains or blinds all day because the glass will block any heating wavelengths that could cause your AC to kick it into high gear, which could have resulted in a spike in your electricity bill and caused your home to be less efficient. Likewise, the glass can become transparent in the winter months, allowing the sunlight to boost heating in the home, rather than blocking it out.
As green homes continue to increase in popularity over the years, our fine home builders are dedicated to maintaining sustainable designs crafted with beauty and luxury in mind. Designs like ours start with knowing what materials can be utilized to maximize design aesthetics while still meeting green standards.