4 Sustainable Material Trends for Your New Construction Home
A desire to save money on utility bills and become more environmentally friendly has led many homeowners to seek alternative materials for their new construction homes. Because the demand has grown in recent years, many sustainable material trends are now surfacing. If you're a homeowner who would like to reduce your home's carbon footprint, protect your local environment, and boost your home's value by using sustainable building materials in your home, here's what you need to know.
Cork is a natural material made from the bark of oak trees. Though traditionally used in wine bottles and bulletin boards, cork can be used in many other furnishings and surfaces in the home. Cork flooring is rising in popularity among homeowners seeking hardwood look-alike products.
Although cork does not look exactly like hardwood, its coloring is similar to hardwood, and its texture is natural and unique. There are many advantages of cork that can make it more desirable than hardwood. For example, cork trees can be harvested for their bark up to 20 times in their lifetime. Additionally, the bark replenishes much faster than a hardwood tree, so it's a good renewable resource.
Cork is also not as hard as hardwood planks, which makes it a soft flooring material. However, homeowners hoping to protect their cork floor from stains should seal it. With proper sealer and regular cleaning, cork floors are an excellent material for an eco-friendly home.
Bamboo is another hardwood flooring look-alike product that is more sustainable than natural hardwood. Bamboo is not a hardwood at all, but a grass that takes only about six years to grow to harvestable height (versus decades for hardwood trees). Bamboo hardwood flooring comes in different styles. Homeowners who want to ensure that their floors are useable for years to come should install high-quality bamboo hardwood floors.
Not all types of bamboo can be refinished and stained. Stranded bamboo is the highest quality bamboo flooring available and is more similar to hardwood than engineered bamboo. Homeowners installing bamboo flooring should ensure the flooring they're installing adds value to their home.
Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
Energy-efficient light bulbs are an energy-efficient home improvement that save energy costs for homeowners, and they're readily available in home improvement stores. At one time, there were few energy-efficient light bulbs available. Now, they come in a variety of different types and colors.
LED light bulbs specifically can be up to 80% more efficient than standard light bulbs. They also last 25 times longer than standard light bulbs. LEDs can be sensitive to heat under certain conditions, and will not always work in certain enclosures or lamps. Homeowners who want to ensure that they get the best light bulbs for their home should do their research before making a purchase.
Low-E, Energy-Efficient Windows
Low-E windows can help homeowners save money during the summer and winter by preventing household energy leaks. Traditional windows were single pane and provided almost no insulation. Windows were also sometimes drafty, because they did not always fit well in the frames where they were installed.
Window design has been perfected over the years. Most windows are no longer drafty, and low-E glass has changed the way that windows insulate the home. Low-E windows reflect UV rays, which prevents the rays from entering the home during the summer and rooms from heating up when it's hot outside.
During winter, low-E windows also prevent warm air from escaping the house. By reflecting warm air back into the house, low-E windows keep the air warm inside. Double pane windows are the standard in homes now, although some homeowners opt for the extra energy efficiency of triple pane windows. This extra insulation helps keeps homes comfortable indoors whether it's summer or winter.
Work With a Builder With Sustainable Material Experience
Are you building a new home from sustainable materials? If so, it's important to work with a contractor who has experience working with these materials. An experienced builder will know which materials are the best quality, how to install those materials correctly, and will be able to advise you on the best ways to care for the sustainable materials. Contact a reputable builder in your area to find out more about how you can build a sustainable home made from the most durable and sustainable materials.