5 Must Have Innovative Materials to Build an Energy-Efficient Home

The days when brick and mortar were the only suitable options for building durable homes are coming to an end. Nowadays, modern homes are built with energy-efficiency in mind, which allows contractors to explore and play with a variety of materials. As a result, due to the use cutting-edge materials and construction techniques employed, homes today are more energy-efficient than ever before.

With that in mind, here’s a list of innovative home building materials that can help you save money when building a new home.

1.   Insulated Concrete Forms

Insulated concrete forms (ICF) are a system made of two layers of insulating material used to hold between them, a cast-in-place concrete wall. Although ICF has just recently become commonly used in residential constructions, this type of formwork has been around since the mid-1940s, after World War II, when it was first used to rebuild damaged structures with smaller costs.

Insulating concrete forms have many constructive advantages: they can be built easily and quickly, they are energy and cost-efficient with high thermal resistance and reduced air leaks, and provide strong, resistant walls with a low rate of acoustic transmission and a good fire resistance rating.

2.   Plant-Based Polyurethane Rigid Foam

Another cutting-edge material on the market is plant-based polyurethane rigid foam. Despite its long name, it is exactly what it says it is – an insulating material made out of plants, such as bamboo, kelp or hemp, with excellent constructive properties. Great acoustics, protection against mold or pests and moisture and heat resistance make it a top eco material.

Moreover, plant-based polyurethane rigid foams can be used both in building and in appliance insulation, becoming a very versatile material. If used as a construction material, the foam will still need to be coupled with flame retardants to comply with fire regulations. But, with technology advancing at an incredible pace, we can expect further developments soon enough.

3.   Cool Roofing

You’ve probably heard about how it’s better to wear white rather than black on hot days, as they reflect, not absorb heat. Well, cool roofs work the same way. They are designed to reflect sunlight and absorb and transfer less heat than regular roofs. Cool roofs usually have coatings, shingles, tiles or sheets with highly reflective properties and work in almost any type of environment.

The benefits include decreased roof temperature which in turn increases its service life, improved indoor comfort in spaces that do not benefit from air conditioning and last, but not least, reduced energy bills.

4.   Recycled Wood or Plastic Composite Lumber

Wood or plastic composites are materials made out of recycled plastic and wood waste. They represent a subcategory of natural fiber plastic composites. As an eco-friendly material that replaces real wood applications, it is extremely versatile and is most commonly used in a variety of industries, from agriculture to commercial.

One of the main advantages of recycled wood or plastic composites is efficiency. Products made out of WPCs are also very well suited for outdoor uses since they are weather, water and mold resistant. They are also recyclable, inexpensive, durable, and available in a vast range of finishes, making them very adaptable.

5.   Vacuum Insulation Panels

Vacuum insulation panels are a type of insulation made of a core panel enclosed in a gas-tight envelope. VIPs have recently seen a growth in popularity due to their ability to be tailored to any type of construction and their ultra-thin design that provides an optimum insulation performance and high thermal efficiency.

Experts argue that the use of energy-efficient materials when building a home will benefit not only the environment but the homeowner too. With decreased energy costs, these types of materials offer good payback to homeowners.