When going green, one of the best places to start is in the home, though possibly not in the ways you might think. One of the biggest ways to have an impact on your home’s energy usage starts at the very beginning, with construction. As fighting climate change becomes more and more important, more unique materials are being used in construction to maximize the energy efficiency of homes everywhere. Check out these four unique building materials to see if one might be right for your home.
- ICF: ICF walls, or insulated concrete form walls, can be incredibly energy efficient. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, ICF walls can save homeowners 20% to 25% on annual heating and cooling costs. Additionally, this newer method of building is incredibly low-waste, as all pieces are formed to fit, meaning fewer materials that end up sitting in landfills.
- Strawbale: Yes, you read that right; you can build your home out of bales of straw. Strawbale homes make use of what would typically be a waste product in grain and hay production and turn it into usable building material. When properly sealed, these homes provide strong insulation and are great for both hot and cold climates, making them excellent energy-efficient choices.
- Bamboo: Bamboo is great for more than just flooring. What you might initially think of as a wood is actually a type of very fast-growing grass; some species can grow up to three feet high in as little as one day. With the right kind of treatment, bamboo can be a perfect replacement for wood in your construction.
- Earth: Sometimes, building materials don’t have to be complicated to be efficient. The ancient method of building with adobe or rammed earth works just as well, if not better than many modern building methods, at insulating your home. Using the right materials and techniques, an adobe home can keep your home plenty warm during the winter and cool during the summer.
Which of these unique, eco-friendly building methods is your favorite? Which can you see yourself using in your new home?