Selecting building materials/building green

My husband and I are both very concerned about the impact of our personal decisions on the environment. That being the case, we made building green one of our top priorities. Concurrent with our search for a builder, we began looking at various building materials/processes. During the course of this search, my husband found two different materials that caught our attention: Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) and Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF). I’m making each of these links, in case you’re in doubt as to what exactly these products are.

After speaking with various SIPs and ICF manufacturers, and after many hours of research on the web, we decided to go with an ICF home. This is for several reasons:

1. The builder who specialized in ICF construction was our favorite of those we’d looked at.

2. ICF homes are extremely durable, according to the Texas Tech University debris impact report. Basically, the researchers shot 2×4’s at various construction materials, to observe the impact. A 2×4 going 119 mph was unable to do more than penetrate the vinyl siding around an ICF wall in this study. This wasn’t necessarily a huge issue for us, since our land isn’t anywhere near the coast, but it was definitely a factor in our decision.

3. The ICF home bid was comparable in cost to the SIPs construction bid.

4. ICF homes are extremely energy efficient.

5. ICF homes are very fire- and termite-resistant.

We have made some decisions about other materials to use in our house.

– Our roof will be of white metal, the most durable, reflective, energy efficient roofing material to use in new home construction in Florida, according to the Florida Green Building Coalition.

– Floors will be covered in bamboo flooring. This is a very renewable and environmentally friendly material.

– The kitchen cabinets will be made from maple, and our counters will be either Silestone or Zodiaq. We chose a quartz countertop because, unlike granite, it would not have to be sealed yearly. It is nonporous, so resists bacteria growth. It is very strong, so resists scratches. It contains Microban for antimicrobial product protection.

We’ve also chosen (mostly) our appliances. Of course, this is subject to change as new editions, etc. are developed, so I won’t post those until it comes closer to the time when we need to purchase them. We selected our appliances earlyl to get an estimate for the product allowance in our contractor’s bid.

I will update this with additional energy efficient/green building materials as we continue the construction process.  We plan on having our house certified as a “green” home, according to the Green Home Designation Standards from the Florida Green Building Coalition.


4 Responses to “Selecting building materials/building green”

  1. keupa Says:

    I have a question about your porch. What material did you use for the ceiling? Is that a Wainscotting or some type of a bead board? Any information about it would be wonderful! My wife and I built a front deck with a roof over it and the ceiling panels (white bead board) got wet from a hard rain and a failed gutter installation from a contractor. We will need to replace is soon and would like to have that paneled look to it. Thanks! Your house looks fantastic!

  2. hmp2z Says:

    Hi! Our porch ceiling is just vinyl, but it works better for us here than wood. We get a lot of rain, humidity, and mildew here in Florida, and the vinyl has stood up better, we think, than wood would have.

    I hope this helpls!

  3. keupa Says:

    Heather, THanks for responding. Is it a vinyl soffitt? Or some type of a vinyl paneling other than soffitt? Thanks again!

  4. hmp2z Says:

    It is a vinyl soffit. Most of our materials were purchased from CBS Builder’s Supply in Clermont, FL, so they may be able to give you some options.

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