Good Sources for Cool Building Materials that May Help Green Your Project

The exhibition catalog for the PNC SmartHome Cleveland (the Passive House I wrote about in my last post) – included a list of companies that provided the materials for that project. In an effort to spread the Sustainable Building Gospel, and make lighter work of specifying green choices, I’m duplicating selected parts of that list here. As a disclaimer, I don’t necessary agree that polystyrene is a green product – particularly from a health perspective –  but as it was used in this Passive House, I’m including it. The EPS panels in combination with the cellulose provided walls with an R-value of 50 – a tremendous benefit that is undeniable from the standpoint of energy performance. Use the list at your discretion – the concept of “green” can mean so very many things depending on your perspective. If nothing else, it provides a great starting point for further exploration of other good products. Many thanks to the kind people behind the PNC Cleveland SmartHome for sharing!

Prefabricated panels with expanded polystyrene (EPS) rigid foam core, sandwiched between two structural skins of oriented strand board (OSB). Manufactured in western Pennsylvania.

AIR-BARRIER SEALING – Grace Construction Products
Self-adhering water vapor permeable sheet (VPS) membrane and Perm-A-Barrier wall flashing tape.

Illmod Trio sealing tape

SEALANTS – Tremco Sealants
Mono 555 one-part acrylic sealant and Tremsil 200 silicone sealant

Dense-packed cellulose insulation


Fomo Products
Polyurethane spray foam insulation

WINDOWS AND EXTERIOR DOORS – Energate, imported by H Windows,
Energate 1202 wood-aluminum clad – casement and fixed. Energy-efficient, triple-pane windows and doors with high performance glass for solar heat gain and frames that minimize thermal bridging. The windows achieve an amazing insulation value of R-11 at the center of the glass.

Mr. Slim Hyper Heat ductless mini-split air-source heat pumps. Super-efficient heat pump with variable-speed compressor, variable heating and cooling output, environmentally friendly refrigerant, superior air filtration, wireless remote control, and quiet operation. Provides heat down to -13 degrees Fahrenheit.

ComfoAir 350 EX L Luxe energy-recovery ventilation (ERV) unit. Exhausts stale air and brings in fresh air  while capturing approximately 84% of he heat, controlling humidity, and filtering the air.

LIGHTING – GE Lighting,
Energy-efficient LED bulbs and fixtures.

Emerald Safe ‘N Sound solid core paint-grade masonite doors


B & B Wood Products
Made from wheat straw, a rapidly renewable resource, with pre-consumer recycled content and low formaldehyde emissions.

ROOF – CertainTeed
Landmark Solaria fiberglass-asphalt roof. Shingles with solar-reflective granules for a cooler roof.

SIDING – James Hardie Building Products
Durable, fiber-reinforced cementitious panels and siding, not made of petroleum-based chemicals.

Energy-conserving Hunter Douglas Duette blinds.

Durable surface made of 100% recycled glass in a cement matrix. VOC free. Only durable surface in the world to receive Cradle to Cradle Gold certification for lifecycle sustainability.

Lancaster Eco-Performance faucet in stainless steel. Users can easily switch between water-conserving, low-flow stream or spray at 1.5 gallons per minute, or a full flow option at 2.2 gallons per minute for tasks that require a set amount of water, such as filling a pot.

Toto Aquia dual-flush toilets. It’s estimated that toilet flushing accounts for more than 25% of home water use – which means that a lot of purified, potable water is used just to flush away waste. Newer low-flush toilets (1.6 gallons per flush) conserve water and have been engineered to flush more effectively. Dual-flush toilets allow further savings by offering the choice of a 0.9 gallon flush when less water is needed.

Eva high-arc bathroom faucets meet EPA’s WaterSense standard for water efficiency and performance. Moen received the WaterSense Manufacturer Partner of the Year-award for 2010.

Level One Eco-Performance  shower head is designed to use up to 30% less water, yet maximize the power of water to provide a thorough rinse. Meets EPA WaterSense criteria.

TOWEL RACK – Zehnder
A heated towel bar radiator provides efficient heating for warm, dry towels – and supplementary heat for the whole house. SmartHome requires so little heating to maintain temperature that a heated towel rack can be a major heat source.

Insulated concrete forms

GARAGE ROOF – POWERply T24 membrane roof from Tremco
Reflective membrane roof on which a solar panel array can be installed.

PERMEABLE PAVERS – Eco-Priora permeable unit pavers from Unilock
Pavers have wide joints to allow water to infiltrate into the ground. A stone base under the pavers  increases water retention. The entry ramp surface was made with porous concrete. The courser mix of aggregate creates voids allowing water to drain through, thus reducing storm water run-off and increasing groundwater re-charge.

RAIN WATER CISTERN – A 500-gallon above ground tank made of high density polyethylene – from Rain Brothers.
Cisterns and smaller rain barrels prevent water pollution by preventing storm water from running off -site and overloading city storm water capacity. Not the most beautiful barrel in the world, but whatever vessel you use, harvesting rain water is a very rewarding practice in preparing for hot, dry summers. This project also sported rain chains and a rain garden planted with Ohio natives. All are great solutions and the combined effect adds up quickly.

EXTERIOR LIGHTING – LED light post from Holophane Lighting.
Efficient LED lighting, with full cutoff, downward fixture to reduce light pollution at night.


About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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