How do you define sustainable building? From low-flow plumbing to energy-conserving windows, sustainable building has come leaps and bounds in the past two decades. By working with a contractor that uses eco-friendly practices, you can significantly lower your construction or remodeling project’s carbon footprint.
For your home’s long term environmental impact, you’ll have to think about the pros and cons of different interior fixtures and appliances – and make sure the home is built with these in mind to ensure you can install energy-saving items. Before you get there, you’ll need to talk about how to lower the environmental impact of the building project itself – which means choosing eco-friendly building materials.
Why Choose Sustainable Building Materials?
The root of the word “sustainable” is “sustain” – which means “to last a long time.” By choosing sustainable building materials, you’re not only committing to a longer life for the planet, but you’re also choosing to invest in products that will last you for many years to come. Given the choice, would you rather build your home out of fragile materials that can’t be easily recycled or repurposed, or materials with staying power that require less upkeep?
In addition to their durability, eco-friendly materials will also save money. When you choose these products for your home, you contribute to the massive project of conserving energy on a regional or national scale. The manufacturing process for these materials produces less waste, resulting in less strain on our landfills and oceans.
But their real money-saving power comes in their ability to make your home run more efficiently. For example, low-flow plumbing, green insulation, and energy efficient windows mean you use less water and less energy produced by fossil fuels – reducing the monthly strain on your wallet.
A more sustainable home is also a healthier one. High quality sustainable materials emit fewer carcinogens and volatile organic compounds. They don’t harbor mold spores and other allergens, and they won’t leach harmful chemicals into the groundwater when it rains.
How to Narrow Down Your Choices
When choosing between eco-friendly building materials, you’ll have to ask yourself a number of questions to determine which features are most important to you. Durability, makeup, design, and sourcing are all important considerations.
Consider the following criteria as you assess your options:
Are the materials durable?
Eco-friendly construction has a lot of components, and as a result, durability is sometimes overlooked. Some products boast environmentally conscious manufacturing processes, for example – but if they don’t last a long time, are they really that good for the environment? By choosing higher quality and higher performance materials, you’ll make sure your investment doesn’t degrade over time.
Where do the materials come from?
Locally sourced products have less distance to travel before they arrive, which means less money has to be spent on extraneous costs like fuel. These products are more environmentally friendly because they don’t contribute to fossil fuel consumption and air pollution. Take a look at the manufacturer’s practices. If the company operates on a national level, where are its facilities located? Do they serve the regional market?
How are the products designed?
Eco-friendliness shouldn’t come at the cost of style or appearance. One of the foremost complaints about environmentally friendly products is that they’re unattractive – so make sure you find a manufacturer that offers the best of both worlds.
What are the materials made up of?
Volatile organic compounds are dangerous compounds like formaldehyde and other toxic solvents. Their low vapor pressure point means they easily form gases that enter the environment. They’re found in many different products for home building and maintenance, which is why homebuilders need to take particular care to protect themselves and their families through their choice of building materials.
Consider what the products are composed of – and the process that goes into making them. It’s a good idea to check up on the company’s manufacturing practices. Does the company recycle? Are the materials non-toxic and all natural?
Why Fiber Cement?
Fiber cement is one of the best material choices for home siding projects. James Hardie is the premier fiber cement manufacturer across the nation. This brand’s commitment to excellence and sustainability has incited great strides in the exterior building industry – so it’s not hard to identify the advantages.
James Hardie fiber cement siding is made of a combination of cement, sand, wood fiber, and cellulose. The company uses recycled materials whenever possible and even recycles the water used in the manufacturing process four times. This simple combination of natural materials makes up one of the most flame-resistant siding options on the market.
Perhaps the foremost feature of fiber cement siding, however, is its durability. James Hardie backs up this product with a warranty of 30 years, so you know you’re choosing a material that’s built to last. Additionally, fiber cement siding is more resistant to wind, water and insect activity than other materials like wood and vinyl.
For a material that has the charm and attractiveness of wood without any of the upkeep, go with fiber cement. While other options (vinyl, for example) are cheaper upfront, fiber cement will last longer without the harmful effects of PVC and other plastics on the environment. These features make fiber cement siding from James Hardie the obvious answer for eco-conscious homebuilders and remodelers.
Work with Iron River Construction
When it comes to your home’s siding, fiber cement can’t be beat. From an eco-conscious manufacturing process to an extremely durable product, fiber cement by James Hardie is the material of choice. When you work with Iron River Construction, you partner with the premier choice for siding contractors in the Minneapolis area. We proudly stand by our partnership with the James Hardie brand and its breadth of products.
We’re excited to bring your home remodeling or construction project to fruition. With more than 20 years of experience, we’re the contractor of choice for all things fiber cement. Contact us today for a free consultation, or schedule an appointment with one of our roofing, siding, or window experts. We look forward to working with you.