The Environmental Impact of Home Exterior Materials 1

Introduction: Why the Type of Exterior Material Matters

When someone generally considers building a new home or performing a remodel, the evaluation is focused on the cost, design, and perceived longevity of the materials. What is often not considered is the potential environmental impact when determining the exterior material. The type of material used in building can significantly influence the environment as a result of the lifecycle of the material. In this article, we will explore the different materials commonly used in homes and their environmental impact.

Wooden Siding and Shingles

The most traditional and widely used material in homes is wooden siding and shingles. While it has a warm and beautiful appearance, it does require extensive maintenance, and as such, it may contribute to deforestation and habitat loss. Another environmental issue with wooden siding is that its disposal can release hazardous chemicals that contribute to environmental pollution. However, wooden siding and shingles are biodegradable, which makes them the most environmentally friendly option on the market.

Brick Masonry

Brick masonry has always been admired for its durability and timeless appeal. It is a low maintenance option, making it a popular material for a wide range of projects. However, the creation of bricks and the transportation of construction materials contribute to carbon emissions and climate change. The massive amount of energy used to create bricks means brick masonry is not an environmentally friendly option. Additionally, bricks can collapse during an earthquake, causing injury or death.

Stone Veneer

Stone veneers are an alternative to traditional bricks that minimize the environmental impact because they are only a few centimeters thick. They reduce the amount of carbon emissions during transportation and have a lower cost and less energy consumption to install, making them an environmentally friendlier and cost-effective option. However, the production of them may still contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.


Stucco is a relatively low maintenance exterior material composed of cement, fine sand, and water. Primarily used in the Southwest region of the United States, as it is highly mold and pest resistant, making it a popular choice for energy-efficient buildings. Nevertheless, stucco does require extensive amounts of water during the manufacturing process, which can be harmful to the environment, and it does not do well in areas with frequent earthquakes.

Engineered Wood Siding

Engineered wood siding is an environmentally friendly alternative to wooden siding. It is typically made from wood chips, sawdust, and adhesive and does not require the same maintenance as wooden siding. This material is lightly processed and uses fewer natural resources when compared to traditional wooden siding options. It also has a lower cost than many traditional options, including wood siding, stone veneer, and bricks. Discover more about the subject using this recommended external source., find extra information and new perspectives on the subject discussed in this article.

The Environmental Impact of Home Exterior Materials 2

Conclusion: Choosing an Environmentally Responsible Exterior Material

While many of these materials have an impact on the environment, it’s important to consider the entire lifecycle of the material and the size of the environmental impact when deciding which is best for your home. Engineered wood siding and stone veneer are two of the most popular options, as they are cost-effective while minimizing environmental damage. By choosing one of these alternatives, you can help protect the environment and reduce your global carbon footprint.

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