Sustainability is a hot concept in modern construction. Every homeowner wants to take pride in and enjoy the benefits of a sustainable living space. As sustainability entails everything from energy efficiency to long-lasting durability, it takes close attention to detail to ensure that a renovation toward sustainability is successful. With this in mind, keep reading as we explore some leading renovation trends in material selection for sustainable homes. 

Durable Roofing

The roof is the home’s first line of defense against the elements. It must be able to stand up to projectile impact, extreme temperatures, and ongoing UV exposure. As such, it plays a critical role in promoting the sustainability of the structure. 

Traditional roofing projects use basic asphalt shingles or choose between wood shingles vs wood shakes. However, these products will not offer the most long-lasting protection. They need meticulous upkeep or risk breaking down in as little as 15 years. Better options for sustainable roofing are composite shingles or metal. These materials offer the highest fire and impact ratings on the market and do not degrade in the face of incessant UV exposure. This helps prevent problematic roof leaks and keeps the building envelope fortified against unwanted air transfer. 

Greater Window Area

Sufficient window area is necessary to leverage natural sunlight to the fullest. This is essential to the open interior concept and any other design styles that aim to reduce reliance on artificial lighting sources. To ensure that conditioned air does not escape through cracks in the window-to-wall transitions, it is important to choose the most high-quality window solutions. Aluminum frames are an upgrade over wood or vinyl, as they stand up better to sun exposure and impact. Hurricane-grade storm windows are the next step in quality in areas prone to extreme weather. Fabricated from structural steel frames and reinforced glass panels, these robust windows offer the highest wind and impact resistance on the market, guaranteeing that the windows remain unscathed even during the most violent storms. 

Innovative Siding

Much like roofing, siding is a key element of the building envelope that faces direct exposure to the forces of nature. Also like roofing options, traditional choices are not the best when it comes to sustainability. Wood planks must be painted or stained every other year to maintain their protective properties. Brick needs to be regularly sealed to prevent moisture absorption and the numerous threats that water damage poses.

Modern composites, such as fiber cement siding, provides far more utility in the realm of sustainability. Fabricated from a mixture of cement, sand, cellulose fibers, and other weather-resistant additives, fiber cement is one of the most long-lasting siding products on the market. It is completely fire and pest resistant. With little more than a light power wash each year, it is rated to last 50+ years.

Radiant Floor Heating

Insulation is a critical component of sustainable homes. It prevents unwanted air transfer and increases the R-value of the structure. This limits the amount of time that the HVAC system needs to work. While the majority of conditioned air escapes through cracks in the walls, windows, and doors, the floor is an often overlooked area of heat egress. Up to 20% of heat loss can occur through the floor, especially with hardwood and other hard flooring types. As a result, below grade insulation is an important component of a holistic insulation infrastructure. 

For greater efficiency, consider adding radiant floor heating mats in conjunction with below grade insulation. Radiant floor heating releases heat in a controlled manner throughout the day. This provides even heat distribution and prevents rapid temperature fluctuations, adding far greater efficiency than forced-air heating systems for eliminating the bite on chilly mornings. 

Functional Exteriors

A great way to curb energy consumption in modern homes is to turn off the lights and air conditioning and get outside for the day. However, this is not possible without the proper exterior environment. Decks with pergolas are a quick and convenient way to pass some hours outdoors. An outdoor kitchen is perfect for hosting large get-togethers and limits energy transfer from constantly having to bring food from inside. Fire pits create a focal point in the backyard and are great for spending morning and evening hours. 

Efficient Renovation Processes

When renovating a home for sustainability, too many people only consider the end result. Does the project enhance R-value? Will utility consumption decrease after the project is finished? While these are obviously valuable considerations, the process for arriving at sustainability is very much a part of the quest for net-zero. It can take years of energy-efficient living to make up for wastefulness during renovation.

Therefore, it is crucial to make the remodeling project as efficient as possible. Carefully plan each step of the process. Leverage the latest modeling software and have all necessary tools in place beforehand. Rework scenarios are not only costly, but they are a drain on material resources. Keep the renovation area clean. A cluttered project increases the risk of fire, pests, rot, and catastrophic accidents. Consider residential dumpsters for efficient waste management during remodeling. Have carefully marked bins for old materials that are trash and those that can be recycled. 

Achieve Sustainability Through Careful Material Selection

Modern homes must be designed with an eye toward sustainability. They should improve the energy efficiency of the house while guaranteeing long-lasting performance to meet the mark for eco-friendliness. By exploring the ideas outlined above and other leading insights at Construction Daily, homeowners can start on the right path toward creating a sustainable home.