Building Materials - New

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return to Sustainable Materials Management

What is It?

  • In some instances, new building materials may be the best decision with regards to the health, safety, comfort, and sustainability of the community. Considerations of the life cycle, embodied energy of components, and local availability all contribute to the decision making process in choosing acceptable products.

Why is it Important?

  • Strengthens our relationship to the earth. Materials and components can be selected with regards to sustainability, renewability and local impact on both the environment and the economy.
  • Helps promote a healthy community living environment within the building and within the neighborhood.
  • Promotes local economy, and contributes to the overall mission of net zero energy design.

When to Use It?

  • Best used when existing materials or reuse of existing materials would have adverse affects on community health, safety or well-being.
  • New materials can be chosen for their sustainable manufacturing process, minimum embodied energy, and amount of recycled content.

Green Garage Use of New Materials

Sustainability Goals
  • Limit use of new materials as much as feasible. First goal is to reuse 90% of existing materials on site. Building Materials reuse on site
  • Research alternative finishes and creative reuse of existing materials in all areas. Building Material reuse from off site
  • Use manufacturers that adhere to sustainable practices.
  • Use products manufactured within 500 miles to help limit the energy expended in transportation.
Strategy and Conceptual Design
Material  % Use
Insulation 100 Cellulose wall insulation
Limestone 100
Any additional brick needed will be used, reclaimed brick
Structural Wood TBD

Areas that require verifiable load capacities

Windows & Doors 100 Provide natural ventilation and daylight
Drywall New wall board for wall and ceiling surfaces.
  • Good for thermal mass
  • Sound deadening qualities
  • Fire resistance

Thinner, cosmetic layer used over existing board.

Paint 100 Decorative and reflective finishes throughout.
Piping/PEX 100 Radiant floor heat and connections from solar panels to thermal water storage tanks.

(Structural Insulated Panels)

100 New panels for insulation and roof deck over existing historical bow trusses.
Roofing 100 White reflective weather barrier to minimize heat gain typical of existing black roof.
Electrical 100 New wiring as required for safety and code compliance.
Hardware 0 Door knobs, hinges, bath hardware.

Development Story

  • Weekly meetings were held at the Green Garage with with discussions on the materials, their (re)use , sustainability, and life cycle of each of the materials.

The Sustainable Materials Management - Development Story has images that document the Green Garage's processes involving materials.

Proposed Materials / Suppliers
  • Insulspan Manufacturer of Structural Insulated Panels with Michigan manufacturing plant.
  • Kenco Energy Services- Specializing in cellulose insulation and moisture control/indoor comfort systems.
Related Internal Links


To do

  • sustainable facts?

Open points

  • Edited by Ashleigh