If you want to use wood in an exterior application, your options are wider than ever. While durable tropical hardwoods have been decimated by unsustainable logging, there are several methods of preserving wood that produce even more durable and sustainable products. These are not woods infused with toxic chemicals or metal compounds that can leach out. Rather these woods are transformed to be more durable and decay resistant.
I recently noticed this chromatic modular wall tile system called Flock from London-based Hive. The tiles are modern and geometric like Hexagon, though they’re made with 100% wool felt and attach to the wall with a non-toxic acrylic adhesive. Flock is available in 10 colors and packages of six or 22 tiles. Each tile is 6.3″x 10.2″ (16 cm x 26 cm) and a six pack sells on Bouf (UK) for about $42 (£26.00 GBP).
Portland-based Clayhaus Ceramics is now offering handmade ceramic tiles in a modern array of colors and several shapes and sizes. The new company, founded by the husband and wife team of Jason and Megan Coleman, was formed out of Stardust Glass tile when the Colemans left the glass business. Now with a focus on ceramic products, Clayhaus is offering beautiful tiles to order in a studio and facility that is completely powered by renewable energy.
We’ve seen roof tiles that eat smog, but Alcoa Architectural Products is introducing an architectural panel that the company claims can clean itself and the air around it. Reynobond with EcoClean is what it’s called, and it’s a combination of Reynobond, which is a pre-painted, aluminum, coil-coated panel, and EcoClean, a proprietary coating with titanium oxide.
Resysta is an attractive, sustainable, and non-plastic alternative to wood. With the look and feel of wood, Resysta is very durable, water-resistant and most comparable to the typically unsustainable, tropical hardwoods; however, it contains no wood. Suitable for decking, cladding, interior wall cladding or marine applications, Resysta is flexible enough for all projects.
While green homes often sport all manner of technical solutions to keep them optimized and efficient, the landscaping can have a significant effect on the building and its energy use. Site orientation and landscape can also be powerful tools to control the energy needs of a building. While it’s not practical to reorient most homes, in many cases you can still make improvements by planting trees.