What Makes a Building Material Eco-Friendly?

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More and more consumers today are seeking environmentally friendly building materials for their remodeling projects. The increased demand for green building products begs the question, what makes a building material green?

1) Material Composition

The biggest determinate of the eco-friendliness of a building material is what the product is made out of. When searching for a green building product, here are the questions you need to answer:

What percentage of the product is comprised of recycled material?

What nonrenewable resources are used in the production of a building material?

Is the material sourced and manufactured in nearby locations?

2) Product Life Cycle

Product life cycle refers to how long a material will survive on the exterior of your home. In other words, how often will the material need to be replaced? A good example to compare and contrast is vinyl siding vs Hardie Board Siding. Vinyl siding may need to be replaced up to three times as often as hardieplank. This equates to more waste in landfills, more fuel consumption during manufacturing and transportation, and more consumption of raw materials to produce new siding.

3) Production Efficiency
This metric refers to how efficient a manufacturer’s plants are in producing new material.

Questions to ask:

How much energy is required to produce a square foot of material?

What materials, other than energy, are needed to manufacture the product?

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