If you’re in the process of building a new home, whether taking on the process yourself or with the help of a contractor, you’ve likely already started to do a great deal of research on how to make your new home as energy efficient as possible. New homes can often mean higher efficiency all around, especially when special attention is paid to using the best performing materials, appliances and systems. As you probably know, these high efficiency materials often cost more than standard materials. However, in most cases, these costs can be made up rather quickly when taking a look at the month over month energy costs that could be saved because of using them in your new build.

Many materials used to build homes are also now developed from recycled or reused materials, which means you may be able to minimize the overall impact your new home build has on the planet. In this blog series, we’re going to list some materials and tips that will maximize your new home’s overall efficiency and limit it’s environmental impact.

Support your home with recycled steel. Traditionally, large wooden beams have been used for support in homes. Today, steel beams developed from recycled materials are a great alternative. While more durable than wood and great for use in high wind or disaster-prone areas, they also reduce the number of trees that would need to be cut down for the build. Recycling scrap metal also reduces the amount of space needed for landfills, making it a smarter decision for the environment all around.

Use plant-based polyurethane rigid foam insulation. First developed for use in surfboards, plant-based rigid foam insulation can provide an earth-friendly insulation alternative to toxic alternatives. This type of insulation also provides high moisture resistance, great acoustics and protection against insects and pests. Not to mention, it also has a higher R-value than fiberglass insulation, meaning it has a higher thermal resistance and insulates better.

Select the right roofing materials. The material you use on your roof can have a huge impact on your home’s efficiency. The ideal roofing material reflects sunlight to prevent heat from getting trapped in your home. New technologies also allow for these high efficiency reflective materials to come in any color, even dark, which means style sacrifices no longer have to be made.

Install insulating concrete forms. This is an old technique that is seeing a resurgence of use the home construction industry due to its energy efficiency qualities and benefits. Using concrete and part of the frame of a new build can help produce energy savings of up to 20 percent when compared to traditional wood framing.

Do you know of other great materials to use when building an energy efficient home? We’ll be following up this post with a few more energy efficient material tips to keep in mind when thinking about building a new home. Stay tuned!

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