How Constructing Your New Home with Green Building Practices Can Save Money
The last decade has seen the development of a number of green building systems that conserve resources, reduce waste, speed construction, and create homes with lower heating and cooling costs. Foundation, wall and roof construction are the primary components of your home’s envelope, so the use of Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) have become a great green building component used by a number of custom home builders in PA.
Most brands of ICFs consist of two parallel panels of foam held apart by rigid plastic spacers. The ICF blocks are stacked, braced and then filled with concrete delivered by a pumper truck. They provide a lower possibility of air infiltration, higher thermal mass, high strength and better fire resistance than conventional wood frame construction. Whether it is used for a foundation or framing interior walls, ICF provides far more insulating value than standard masonry construction.
Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are a major time and energy saver in construction while providing the makings for a much tighter home envelope. SIPs combine structural framing, insulation and sheathing into a single product to be used for roofs, walls or floors. Since they are constructed to individual specifications in a factory, the SIPs can be easily transported to the construction site where they can be easily assembled. With fewer air leaks as well as greater strength against high winds and seismic activity, they have become a product embraced by many custom luxury home builders.
In addition to sprayed foam insulation, which can provide a significantly higher R value than traditional wood frame construction and rolled insulation, custom home builders in PA have begun to use rigid foam insulation panels derived from plants such as bamboo, hemp and kelp. This can be a great green building alternative as it provides greater thermal resistance and insulation than fiberglass or polystyrene. All of these green construction materials make for homes that are well insulated as well as tight, strong and quiet so home owners will save on HVAC systems and energy bills throughout the life of the home.