New on the Scene: Environmentally Friendly Construction Materials
A hundred years ago, building homes with environmentally friendly materials wasn’t a thought anyone had. It’s only been in the past few decades we’ve started to think about how the things we build and manufacture impact our planet. Even construction companies are starting to take this into consideration. Here are a few of the most common changes in building construction to cut down on environmental damage.
House beams are traditionally wooden, but in recent years, it’s become obvious that the better choice is recycled steel. Not only is it better for withstanding earthquakes and heavy winds, but it uses far less material. According to Metal Roof Outlets Inc, a 2,0000-square-foot house might require up to 50 trees to supply enough wooden beams, but if those beams are made from recycled steel, it only requires about six cars’ worth.
Part of being environmentally responsible is lowering the amount of energy the house will need to run. Homes with “cool” roofs absorb less heat during the summer, so the air conditioner can stay at a lower setting. Light-colored roofing materials help offset heat absorption, as do special roofing treatments that reflect light, although those cost a little more. Toronto roofing suppliers have noticed the increase in demand for these kinds of materials.
Structural Insulated Panels
SIPs sometimes get looked down on by homeowners because they’re not terribly attractive, but these insulation panels have been estimated to halve some families’ energy costs. That’s a significant enough savings that more people should be using them. For anyone who doesn’t like the way they look, the panels can be made with a finished look, such as wood grain. Expect these to catch on as more people demand energy-efficient homes.
Wall insulation can do a lot to cut down on energy usage, but so can the type of windows installed. Low-E windows, as they are sometimes called, are coated with metallic oxide to keep heat from escaping the house in the winter and entering the house in the summer. This reduced heat flow can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 20 percent.
Paint with high levels of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs for short, contributes to air pollution and chemical-related health issues. Although the damage is worst immediately after painting, the toxins can continue to seep out for years afterward. Choosing low-VOC paint for the new home helps to reduce the dangers of these toxins, both for our planet and for ourselves.
As eco-friendly and energy-saving materials become easier and cheaper to manufacturer, their demand will grow. A hundred years from now, we will have more environmentally responsible cities, built on a foundation of respecting our planet instead of gutting it for resources.