With so many siding options available for residential and business purposes, it can be difficult to decide which one is best. Property owners looking for green, sustainable options now have alternatives to wood, vinyl, and aluminum siding.
Wood siding, while providing a warm natural look to the exterior of a building, is not an eco-friendly choice. Deforestation for siding, furniture, and other lumber needs is unnecessary with so many sustainable options available. Trees destroyed for the siding project will take years to grow back, if replacement trees are even planted. Additionally, since it requires more maintenance than other siding options, lumber siding shrinks and expands, warps, rots, and changes color over time. Wood also attracts highly destructive pests such as termites and carpenter ants.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, "Vinyl has some environmental and health concerns, as do most exterior treatments. Vinyl chloride monomer, of which polyvinyl chloride siding is made, is a strong carcinogen and, when heated, releases toxic gases and vapors." Not only does this popular siding emit toxic VOCs, it is prone to warp and shrink. Vinyl also melts in high heat.
Aluminum siding can be easily dented and chipped. Over time, it will "chalk," meaning that the color fades and requires painting. Replacing damaged areas is difficult due to the way this siding is installed, and it can be difficult to match the colors of old and new siding.
Aluminum siding conducts electricity. This could be a problem if the siding makes contact with electrical wiring or downed power lines or is struck by lightning. This conductivity characteristic can also effect wireless Internet, TV, and radio reception. Additionally, aluminum provides virtually no insulation.
A new, environmentally friendly and sustainable product being installed on residential and commercial buildings is composed of bamboo fibers, post-consumer recycled paper, and recycled wood fiber. The exterior-grade product introduced by KlipTech is called EcoClad . The product is as durable as metal, brick, and stucco, and does not support bacteria or fungus growth.
EcoClad is free of VOCs and contains no benzene. KlipTech claims the product has seven different credits within U.S. Green Building Council's LEED building standards. "The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria." Participation in the program is voluntary.
According to the USGBC, LEED-certified buildings satisfy the following criteria:
- Lower operating costs and increase asset value.
- Reduce waste sent to landfills.
- Conserve energy and water.
- Be healthier and safer for occupants.
- Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
- Qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in hundreds of cities.
- Demonstrate an owner's commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.