Planning green timber frame homes is, if anything, easier than planning to build a conventional home. Timber frames and structural insulated panels take the project well into “green” territory before any other decision is made. Using minimally processed materials (heavy timbers) and an unsurpassed enclosure systems makes green building less stressful.
As you do plan your new timber frame home, you’ll need to consider if you want to build as green as possible, whether to seek green building certification, and where to concentrate your efforts. The possibilities are endless, as are the questions and the answers. If you consider these questions early on, you’ll have a big picture understanding and can make other decisions based on these answers. Timber frame homes allow you to answer “yes” to these questions.
Energy efficiency, durability, and renewability are key to evaluating any building system. And buildings are a system and should be planned as such. The answers will help you to determine your path to having a home that will serve you and generations well. Answering these questions for each component will give you the “greenest” home, but answering them for the timber frame package takes you a long way toward an energy efficient, sustainable home.
- Does it have a long life? Timber frame homes that were built over a thousand years ago are in place and living well today.
- Does it save energy? Timber frames, enclosed in insulated panels are hard to beat. The reduced consumption of energy is good for your pocket and for the earth.
- Does it minimize contributions to the waste stream? Timbers are minimally processed. Panels are built offsite, minimizing site waste.
- Is it renewable and recyclable? Many timbers are grown as a crop. They are a naturally renewable resource and can easily be recycled. Today many barns built hundreds of years ago are being repurposed as homes, flooring, and other building materials.
Plan carefully, considering your site and how to best place your home, the size of your home (don’t over or under build), the materials you use to finish your home. Each step brings more questions, but these four questions will help you to gauge the sustainability of the materials your using.
And when you build, build for generations and…build boldly!