If you are looking to build an energy effective home, it makes sense to use an insulative option for building materials. There are a growing number of products with spectacular insulative properties to help keep you warm in winter and cool in summer.
Cement coated polystyrene foam
Cemented coated polystyrene foams can achieve substantial insulative properties of traditional building materials such as bricks. These materials can also help to buffer out external noise which can be a great benefit in noisy location such as inner city homes. They can also be a great way to add second stories as the light weight material is easy to install and can be quicker than having to use traditional bricks. These styles of building walls, known as External Insulation Finishing Systems or 'EIFS', have been common in Europe for many decades but are only just starting to be embraced by the Australian construction market.
The cement coating is the covered in an acrylic coat which colour pigments incorporated. This creates an attractive 'rendered' style of finish on the panels.
Straw based panels
Another innovative and extremely efficient building material is straw panels. These are made by compressing agricultural waste straw at a very big compressive pressure and temperature. The high pressure releases an long chain polymer, which helps to bond the fibres together. The slurry is then mixed with more glue and sandwiched between two pieces of strong paper to create an extremely strong yet flexible material with excellent insulative properties. The production process is also waste free, making it an ideal choice for an eco home. Again this process has been used more overseas but is gaining popularity in Australian with a growing focus on eco friendly options.
The panels can be painted with external paint in any colour the home owners desired.
Paper based cladding
Another building material with great insulative properties is based on recycled waste paper which is slurried and compressed into a board. The board is then coated in a coloured bitumen mix which can be customised to suit the homeowners preferences. This is an easy to construct option as it has a similar style of construction as fibreboard on steel or wooden frame.
If you are open minded and want to try new materials for your new home, there is a range of attractive and high performing new materials for eco homes on the market. Talk to your construction contractor to explore your options.