As new data and construction practices shape the building industry, sustainable construction takes on new and improved forms based on expanded ways of thinking. Resilience in building construction also comes into play as contractors seek to build intentionally from both sustainability and strength perspectives.
We caught up with Neil Freidberg, Building Science Manager at LP, to get his take on sustainable building, how resiliency ties into the conversation around green building, and much more.
Sustainable building is an approach to construction that prioritizes increasing resource efficiency while also decreasing construction’s impact on the environment.
In his work, Freidberg emphasizes a holistic view of sustainable building. "Many components in a wall, for example, may individually be sustainable, but when you build a home, you build a system," he says. "When you build sustainable homes, you have to consider how the pieces work together."
Sustainable building practices include practical steps building professionals can take to make their processes more efficient and reduce the impact of their work on the surrounding areas.
"For a builder, sustainable building practices mean they can continue building in the future," Freidberg adds. "Building a business that is sustainable means that materials keep coming in, for example." When he consults builders, Freidberg recommends hiring someone to go through their waste piles as one way of increasing sustainability. Often, builders throw away plenty of material that could be reused.
“As a company, LP can take steps to help improve future products,” he mentions. “We can make sure products are easier and faster to install, simplifying the system in general.” See more ways LP works toward sustainability here.
A high performance building envelope helps protect the interior of a home from exterior elements, and it contributes to indoor air quality as it prevents allergens and pollutants from entering the home. A tight building envelope is key in terms of sustainability because it determines the home's energy efficiency to a degree.
Here are a few ways to create a tighter building envelope:
Though sustainable construction can, at times, mean higher upfront costs for builders, there are many benefits to ensuring your builds have a low impact on the environment. Additionally, when you use sustainable products like those in the LP Structural Solutions portfolio, you'll also practice resilient building along the way. Here are some ways sustainable construction benefits your finished product:
With LP engineered wood products, “you’re looking at a sustainable product to begin with,” Freidberg says. “Wood is a renewable resource; it’s not technically finite.” LP also sources fairly young trees and manages their forest resourcing responsibly, which helps reduce the company’s carbon footprint along the way.
Beyond being a sustainable product, "OSB has both structural benefits to the home and the ability to persevere through the elements, such as moisture exposure," Freidberg adds. By combining an inherently renewable resource with the strength and stability builders need for resilient structures, LP creates a win-win product that can be useful for builders across the country.
Check out more insights from LP Building Solutions as 2021 takes shape.