When trying to build or renovate in an environmentally friendly manner, it can be difficult to tell which option is best.
This is particularly true of cladding, where there are a number of product types to evaluate before you even consider which brand! As such, here are our top five things to consider when evaluating the green credentials of your cladding options:
What is the lifespan of the product?
When assessing the environmental costs and benefits of a cladding product, its lifespan has to be a key concern.
After all, it may have a small environmental footprint- but if it only lasts a third of the time of its competitors, then it may not be appropriate if your building you expect its lifespan to be long.
The lifespan of cladding requires particular scrutiny, as many products on the market were not designed for Australia’s harsh climatic conditions, which may include large temperature extremes, hail, salt air, and high winds. This can severely limit the lifespan of a product. For example, vinyl cladding may become brittle, warp, or crack under high temperatures.
A sustainable produce will cope with these conditions, ideally with a long term warranty and lab or field testing to back it up.
Is it recyclable?
Reducing your waste output is a key part of going green. This extends beyond just how you manage your building site, but into what products your pick and how they can be disposed of and the end of their lifespan. There are some recyclable cladding options available- including vinyl and Palliside cladding.
Is the supplier sustainable in its manufacturing processes?
Sustainable businesses aim to reduce their environmental impacts throughout both the collection of materials and product manufacturing process. For timber cladding that may include sediment control measures during harvesting, and ensuring offcuts from timber hewing are utilised. When you opt for Palliside cladding, offcuts from the process are reused in the next batch, making it one of the most efficient cladding manufacturing processes available.
How energy efficient is it?
In addition to ensuring that your property is airtight, cladding can also help regulate the temperature of your home- meaning less heating or air conditioning required. Not only does this make it more environmentally friendly, but it’s good for your wallet too. Look for products that advertise their thermal capacity or insulation properties.
Does it require painting?
In addition to being time consuming, paint can be harmful to the environment- from its manufacture and disposal, to the fumes released in application and the contaminants leaching out as it degrades. Products that don’t require painting (i.e. Brick, Vinyl, and Palliside) may be a better option as a result.
In addition to the aforementioned criteria, cost will likely play a major factor in which cladding material you choose. For those new to the industry, balancing the various economic and environmental costs of vinyl cladding, Palliside cladding, and other options can be overwhelming. If you need further advice, contact an experienced local cladder, who can offer insights into how different products perform in your local conditions, and the installation costs of each for your project.