Two Eco-Friendly Ideas For Your Next Home Build

As 2018 continues to roll on, technology continues to advance giving us cool camera phones, smart home technology, and the BEEcosystem. Though the newest technology is always coolest, older types of technology still have benefits! And if you’re building a new home, the old and boring tech may actually be exactly what you need! We scoured and searched and found two methods that you should consider for your next build.

Installing A Metal Roof

No longer just for futuristic houses. A metal roof, though old technology, is becoming commonplace again due to its positive environmental impact and extreme durability. If you’re looking to include one on a new build, or even considering it for a renovation, there are a few things you need to know.

First off, you need to pick the material. Whether its copper, zinc, aluminum, steel, or tin, you need to pick your poison (not literally). Each material has benefits and drawbacks, and unfortunately, no perfect roof exists for your house.

To start, zinc is extremely malleable and can discolour over time if treated incorrectly. Aluminum comes recommended coastal houses because of its high resistance to the corrosive properties of salty air. Steel is an ideal because it easily retains heat which is perfect for colder climates. And if you decide to make a roof of tin, you’re an anomaly. This rarely-used metal features poor durability and will serve you better housing your baked beans, stewed tomatoes, and creamed corn. We promise.

Depending on your choice of material, you will be privy to many benefits of a metal roof. A common denominator of all metal roofing is the extremely energy efficient properties. Like, we’re talking about saving 40% in energy costs. Many of the metals listed above are made of 100% recycled material, which lends yet another helping hand to Mother Nature. This equates to metal being the most eco-friendly roofing solution in terms of a waste perspective.

I bet you’re wondering about the cost of a shiny metal roof. To lock-down a price, you need to factor in the current price of commodities, material choice, and whether local skilled labour exists to complete your project. However, you can generally price a metal roof at $8.50 CAD per square roof, which is 2 to 3 times more than one that of an asphalt variety. Though the expense is high, the benefits over time more than makeup for the initial investment.

Building with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF)

Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) is a style of home construction that increases the durability of a home, minimizes the upkeep, and above all, extremely energy efficient. ICF construction is simple. Large foam blocks are assembled together like LEGO and connect via a plastic framework. The blocks then get laced with rebar and filled with concrete.

One of the primary reasons for an ICF construction is energy efficiency. The foam and concrete combination offer uniform insulation on the entire exterior wall, ensuring that there are no hot or cold spots. Unlike ICF, a traditional wood construction will transfer hot and cold air anywhere fibreglass insulation may be light. This includes studs, windows, and outlets. A lesser-realized benefit of ICF construction is the extreme soundproof nature of the build. Rest assured your next-door neighbour’s band practice won’t get in the way of your Netflix binge.

With ICF, the focus should remain on how much you’ll save. Though the upfront cost can be a bit higher, the savings on the backend are enormous. Studies estimate that energy savings sit roughly between 58 and 60 percent. This translates to savings between $140 and $190 per month when compared to a traditionally-framed house.

In terms of finding ICF builders in Halifax, there are lots to pick from. Though we don’t have a favourite, we recommend finding one that is both experienced with ICF and has some level of certification, like NUDURA.