How to Choose Cladding System for Your Sustainable Home by Lana Hawkins
Cladding system for your sustainable home is a key element of the aesthetic appeal of a house which has direct impact both on property value and building costs. Cladding represents a layer that is attached to the outside of a house and its main function is to shed water and protect the structure from various impacts of weather. Also, the cladding you choose for your home can significantly affect your home’s environmental impact.
What to Consider?
Typically, cladding is made out of wood, vinyl, brick or masonry. You can directly attach it to the frame or intermediate layer of spacers to prevent condensation. These systems include vertical and horizontal boards, smaller panels that overlap or sheet materials, and each system has different methods of preventing weather conditions from entering your home.
There are ranges of colors, styles, finishes and textures that are available with these systems. Additionally, apart from the aesthetic outcome, the color and texture of the chosen cladding system will influence the capacity of heat reflection or absorption, thus providing the best green insulation.
Vinyl is often favorable because of its durability, low maintenance and affordability. Not only that, but its key environmental attribute is recyclability. You can recycle the vinyl siding a number of times and it can even perform better than brick and stucco. However, the chief concern with vinyl is its impact on the environment. It’s believed to release gases and dioxins if burned by accident, which represents a great hazard for the environment. But, this hazard can be controlled, because once the vinyl siding is made, the chlorine it contains is locked inside very tightly, making the vinyl siding perfectly safe, with no emission of chemicals and gases into the atmosphere.
Wood is often perceived as the ultimate sustainable material with plenty of renewable resources, which makes it one of the greenest architectural cladding choices. The first type of wood that comes to mind is the Western red cedar, because of it natural durability and low maintenance requirements. The siding made of cedar is resistant to insects and moisture, and all you need to clean it is a mild oxygen bleach solution in order to treat the patina it may develop. However, in order to preserve its original color, occasional maintenance and staining are required. Other options you have when choosing such cladding system include redwood, cypress pine and eastern white cedar.
Just like wood, brick cladding attracts potential buyers, because of its appeal and low maintenance. You can use clay bricks which are a combination of natural materials: water, shale and clay. These are also durable and resistant to mold and rot, and do not require staining or painting, which makes their maintenance low. Additionally, the life expectancy of a brick is between 100 and 200 years or more, which makes it one of the most sustainable materials for cladding systems.
Benefits for the Environment
The proper selection of cladding systems for your home can affect the impact of a building on the environment. First thing to consider is the life cycle assessment (LCA) which presents the overall impact of a material on the environment and its life cycle. This includes emissions and depletions, making processes, maintenance and disposal or recycling of the material. Also, the right materials will further determine the life span, durability and preservation of energy in your home. Besides these, the emissions of hazardous gases and chemicals into the atmosphere are reduced up to 20%, as well as the waste rates during the manufacture and installation. Another benefit of sustainable cladding systems is the potential for recycling and reuse of the materials and their contribution to thermal performance through incredible isolation and reflectance.
Just having the idea of installing the cladding system into your home is a big step towards better homes and healthier environment. Your choice should be based on prioritizing of the roles of cladding systems, but whichever your choice is, you will contribute greatly to both aesthetics of your home and the preservation of our planet.
Author’s Bio: Lana Hawkins is a student of architecture from Sydney. She writes regularly about home décor and landscaping. Lana finds the most of her inspiration in sustainability and green architecture and design. You can follow her on Twitter.