home siding

Which Home Siding Options Are Most Eco-Friendly?

in Sustainability by

These Home Siding Options Are Best for the Environment

Siding is one of the most important features for comfort at home, thanks to its ability to trap air inside. However, it doesn’t always do its job. When your utility bills start to rise, it can be a sign that your siding is no longer properly sealed, and you’re wasting precious energy as a result.

Replacing your siding with an eco-friendly option is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and stand up for greener construction tactics. Sustainable siding options increase a home’s efficiency and limit the emissions created in the production and installation of the product.

When looking for eco-friendly siding, consider the criteria the Green Building Council uses for their LEED certification. They look at things like the material, labor, energy efficiency, recyclability, manufacturing, and local sourcing.

As you examine each of these criteria, here are some highly recommended sustainable siding options for your consideration.

Fiber-Cement Siding

Perhaps the most popular form of eco-friendly siding is fiber cement siding. It’s commonly referred to as James Hardie siding or Hardie Siding since James Hardie is the most popular fiber-cement siding brand.

It has the look of wood but is more long-lasting and durable. It comes in a variety of colors and is baked on, so it won’t fade over time and will rarely—if ever—need repainting. It gives the homeowner a lot of flexibility and control in designing a personalized siding experience that will last for years to come.

It’s also great for the environment when compared to vinyl and other manufactured siding choices. It’s a combination of natural materials, wood pulp, sand, and cement. Fiber-cement siding also emits fewer toxins when destroyed and is manufactured to resemble wood and vinyl siding without cutting down trees or manufacturing plastic.

Brick and Stone

Brick and rock products are one of the more energy efficient siding options. They’re a hard, protective substance that will effectively seal your insulation and trap air inside. The lifespan of these natural products is lengthy—up to 200 years. The installation is expensive and very labor-intensive, but it’s easier to repair than other forms of siding and is also fireproof.

The use of these types of siding supports the environment because of the highly energy-efficient nature of the products. They’re also recyclable, biodegradable, and easy to source locally. You can also purchase brick and stone products that use even less energy if that’s your wish.

Reclaimed Wood

Wood siding adds an element of beauty that’s unparalleled. It’s easy to paint or varnish so that it’s customized to your color choices. Wood is not the most durable or long-lasting choice, since it’s flammable and easily destroyed by the elements. However, it’s fairly simple to repair and makes a beautiful choice for your home’s exterior.

Wood is better than other non-renewable materials for your siding, but it’s best to avoid cutting down too many trees. Instead, you can use reclaimed barnwood, reclaimed lumber, or bark siding. It gives you a look you desire without cutting down excess trees. It’s one of the most sustainable building methods out there.

Metal

Metal siding is a low-maintenance option. It usually has a textured coating to make it look like wood. It can handle the effects of snow, wind, rain, sleet, and frost, and does a good job of keeping out insects and resisting fire. It’s not the best for durability, it doesn’t insulate as well, and it won’t last you decades, but it can still be a good alternative to other non-sustainable housing options.

Metal is considered very sustainable because it can be recycled. Steel is currently the most recycled material in the United States. The siding is usually made from junked cars and scrap metal. It’s a great way to save trees and support the world’s recycling efforts.

Stucco

Stucco, which is made from all natural materials, is a very popular siding choice, especially in hot-weather areas. It expands and contracts with the weather, which reduces the risk of cracking in areas of extreme temperatures. The installation is extensive, but it pays off in the end. It’s an excellent insulator, as well, which increases the energy efficiency of the home.

Stucco is made from cement, water, lime, and sand, which are easy to obtain and mostly chemical-free. This eliminates problems with leakage and chemical emissions. A lime plaster stucco blend is recommended to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Jeff is a contractor specializing in residential construction and construction management in Chicago, Illinois for over 20 years. He deals exclusively in new construction and remodeling for residential projects and can act as designer, builder, and general contractor as well as preliminary estimates, cost vs. benefit analysis.

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