Choose Perfect Cladding For Your Sustainable Home

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Cladding represents a non-load-bearing layer attached to the outside of the home. Its purpose is to mitigate the impact of the weather conditions. Apart from being a functional piece of the building puzzle, cladding also determines the aesthetic appeal of the home. As such it has an impact on the building cost and property value. Finally, the cladding is nowadays perceived as an element that makes or breaks the home sustainability.


Green Winds Of Change

Maintenance and durability are the prime concerns when selecting the right cladding option for your home. Yet, many people overlook the opportunity to lower the environmental impact of the building with cladding. Namely, one can opt for various eco-friendly materials and systems. Their environmental impact is calculated based on the total life cycle of the material, from manufacturing processes and environmental emissions to the depletion and recycling potential.

For each side of the home, a careful assessment must take place. It all depends on the exposure to the sun, wind, and rain: Sun-protected north and south often involve weatherboard, while west-facing gable walls are clad in durable steel. Sometimes, the envelope of the building needs to be fully sealed, but at other times, a highly breathable cladding is preferable. Also, bear in mind that the performance is affected by the quality of the installation.

Therefore, as you can see, choosing the best possible option is impossible without taking into consideration a number of elements. Besides, there are plenty of products that can enrich the landscape of the green-building industry. Although we lack category-wide certification programs that could serve as guidelines, many manufacturers have managed to obtain third-party verification. In addition, some cladding qualify for points under reputable LEED standards.


Spoilt For Choice

So, let us start with some widely used solutions.First, a pre - finished fiber cement cladding is a go-to product for numerous green builders. Its durability and appearance replicate wood, but with the added benefit of lower maintenance.This affordable solution usually comes with a 50-year warranty and possesses high resistance to rot and termites. The elements it contains (cement, sand, and cellulose fiber) are not toxic, and the only drawback is the high-embodied energy during manufacturing.

Furthermore, wood is still considered to be the great paragon of sustainable materials. Indeed, life-cycle assessments show that wood has superior qualities, which makes it better than most of the alternatives in the sustainable department. Types of wood like Western red cedar are naturally durable and can pose a long-lasting, lightweight option. Other viable wood options are cypress, redwood, pine, Douglas fir, etc.

It is worth mentioning that vinyl is a popular choice as well, but also a subject of lively debate. The siding made from this material is low in cost and maintenance and high in durability. The problem, however, is the use of PVC, the ingredient that many green advocates frown upon. Then again, others claim that the suitability of vinyl is rooted in its ultimate recycle - ability. What is more, in many assessments, it performs better than options like brick or stucco.

Of course, the list of possibilities does not end here. There are pros and cons of using the aforementioned brick, steel, and stucco, as well as EIFS (exterior insulation finish systems), natural slate, and manufactured stone. Finally, there are companies that offer innovative materials such as recycled paper. So, do not miss your chance to do the legwork and embrace sustainability at its finest with the highly sustainable cladding.


The Best Of Both The Worlds

The cladding is the cornerstone of the home environmental performance and it provides both sturdiness and visual appeal. Beyond external walling being one of the most important variables in residential construction, it also affects the sustainability of the whole building. Each product comes with its set of benefits and properties, so make your decision carefully. It is clear that the cladding should be used not only to protect our homes from the worst that nature can throw at us but also the other way around.
Image courtesy Home Building, James Hardie, Decoration Trend

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