Some Options in Green Building Materials

Many perspective homebuyers are looking to have homes built that are energy efficient and created using green building materials to lessen their impact on the environment while also saving money on their monthly energy expenses.

One option in green building materials that more and more perspective home owners are considering is insulated concrete form also referred to as ICF. This is a system of formwork designed for use with reinforced concrete with a rigid thermal insulation that is a permanent part of the walls. Floors, and roofs.

The forms are locked together without the need for mortar and filled with concrete. They go together sort of like Legos allowing them to be built in the needed shape and size. Fairly common in high rise commercial construction projects, the same methods are being used in low rise buildings and homes due to the overall efficiency of the material.

ICF is highly energy efficient and resistant to many natural disasters making it ideal throughout the United States. One report suggests that ICF concrete can save between 20% and 25% on monthly heating expenses due to the high insulating factor. Additionally, it can reduce overall construction expenses.

Other green options that many people are looking into include metal roofs, which have been found to provide more consistent internal temperature for the home. They offer better insulation and a longer life than traditional asphalt shingle roofs.

Another option is ensuring that the windows and doors are all energy star rated to ensure they are the best option for reducing energy waste. Doors, windows, and roofs are the primary areas that drafts are created and energy is lost from a home. This causes increases in the monthly energy bills, as well as higher maintenance costs for the HVAC system.

There are generally two motivations behind wanting to use green building materials in your home. The first being to reduce the carbon footprint of the project. This includes the production of the building materials, the construction of the home, and the ongoing maintenance required due to the materials used.

For some, it is important to know that they are not further damaging the environment while constructing their home. While not everyone understands the full implications of new construction, it can be very detrimental to the local ecosystem, as well as the global ecosystem depending on the materials being used.

ICF concrete has been used all over the world for roughly 60 years. The benefit of using the system are threefold; environmental, cost, and durability. For people building in areas prone to earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes, they need to think about the durability of the materials they use when building their homes. Sometimes, green building materials are also the most practical due to their lasting durability.

The second primary reason people consider the materials used is the short- and long-term cost effectiveness. As mentioned, some materials are more energy efficient than others, so even if they cost more initially, they provide long-term savings.

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