I was working on my house the other week, fixing up some drafty rooms, while the DIY channel was on in the background. They were harping on the "new fad" of building with steel and discussing the resiliency and benefits of building like with tougher materials (like in steel frame homes) than pine 2 x 4s.
I thought to myself: what are we doing, still building with wood? How come this is the norm here in America? Why, in an area prone to hurricanes, nor'easters, hot, humid summers, and cold, wet winters, are we building with wood?! It's not efficient, it's certainly not sustainable, and it's definitely not resilient!
The show was focusing on a particular vendor of steel frame homes, and made it appear that the concept of a home made from steel is both a hot, brand new idea, and your 100% best bet when building a new home. The discussion really focused on resiliency in the face of bad weather, the overall durability, and how it costs more than conventional construction.
Got me thinking... Here I am, fixing my wooden home, spending money heating and cooling my home, because I chose to save money by going with wooden construction many, many years ago. What was I thinking?! Sure I saved a few bucks back in the day, but I'm living in a home with high energy usage which won't stand forever. It's definitely not a sustainable choice.
By the way, this is what the inside of a steel frame home looks like. Looks like a fortress! And below that is the final home. Looks beautiful!
I'm sold. Where do I sign up. That's an awfully nice looking steel frame home.
So, resiliency, stormproof, long lasting structures, are a very important trait if you live in an area ravished by tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, or any other manner of bad natural events.
So can we have our cake and eat it too? I couldn't help watch this and think "can we have resiliency AND additional benefits? Does resiliency by default mean sustainable?" Is there such a product out there on the market today for construction, particularly for construction of homes in areas with bad weather or other bad natural events? How about concrete homes?
Forget steel, concrete homes are a genius idea! They're strong, last forever, have great thermal properties... and if a concrete home can withstand Hurricane Katrina, it can withstand anything.
Okay, so a concrete home is comparable perhaps to steel frame homes in terms of resiliency. Great. But WHAT ABOUT ENERGY USE?
Can a steel frame home - one that was reported to be pricey on this show - deliver the kind of energy efficiency and savings that a concrete home can? Do I even have to answer that?
Concrete homes are much more energy efficient than steel frame homes. And don't even think about wood frame construction; there's no competition versus a concrete home. Think about it. Solid concrete walls retain heat better, so less air conditioning in the summer and less heating in the winter means less energy used, less energy production needed, and a smaller carbon footprint from building use. In a way, resiliency in this case does equal sustainability.
In other words, more concrete homes are more sustainable. And, disaster-proof, as well. Resilient.
Okay, so with a concrete home, I can have all those attributes that were touted on the television show, but with tremendous energy savings as well. But is it going to look like a WWII bunker? Take a look for yourself.
That's a beautiful concrete home.
So next time you hear about a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake, think to yourself what a difference a concrete home could make. And, the next time you hear about the upcoming heat wave, cold spell, or view your gas or electric bills, also think to yourself what a difference a concrete home could make to your bank account. Is there really any choice when it comes to a concrete home vs a steel frame home? I know I would be looking for a concrete home if I was in the market for a new house.
That's the thing about sustainability. It's beyond just saving the planet with LED bulbs and driving a Prius. It's about making changes in how we collectively think. Let's stop cutting down trees for cheap lumber, and start building more long-lasting concrete homes. Want to learn more about sustainability? Click here to contact us or give us a call at 609-693-8301 to discuss sustainability today.