Engel & Völkers Potchefstroom - Project Green Update

Part One and Two covered the location of the green home and insulation of the home. In this update we take a look at the building materials.

Catch up on Part One and Part Two
Step 4: Building Materials

As we continue with the building of the first green home in Potchefstroom, our next step is to look at the material used to build the actual home. “Building materials are a fundamental factor when it comes to the energy efficiency of a house. Even with the ideal design, correct orientation and additional green features – a house can still be very inefficient when it comes to energy consumption and usage” says Carl Venter, Licence partner of Engel & Völkers Potchefstroom and also the brain behind the green home initiative.
“The possible loss of energy has a lot to do with the materials used in the construction of the project” Carl continued.
In the booming construction market that we have today there are hundreds of options when it comes to building materials and each type of material has a unique reaction towards heat and cold. It is exactly this reaction of the materials towards the outside temperature that will either cause your home to be uncomfortable and uninviting or work towards creating a welcoming and comfortable interior. By choosing the building materials for the Energy Efficient house carefully we are opting for the latter. 
Ideally an Energy Efficient house should absorb the winter sun rays during the cold months and use that heat to warm the interior. And of course the opposite during the warm months: the house should deflect the sizzling summer heat and create a cool and inviting interior for its occupants.
Basically all of the materials used in the project play a role in the outcome and for this reason we have to do a lot of research before choosing each of the products and materials used. Everything has to be considered. From the more basic materials: the type of cement, type of steel and type of bricks used right to the materials used for the floors, the walls, and the paint on the roof. Every piece material for the project has to be carefully reviewed from an energy point of view.
The R-value of each of the materials used has to be taken into consideration in order to ensure that we use building materials that will be sufficient in the cold conditions that are one of Potchefstroom's trademarks. The R-value of a product or material measures the thermal resistance of the material. This value describes the resistance of the material to heat flow and the higher the number – the better the insulation properties of the material.
We are not only considering the energy properties and R-values of the materials, but we are also looking for materials that are 'green'. This will be materials that are manufactured using energy, waste and water saving principles; materials that are manufactured with low Carbon emissions and materials that are locally produced – eliminating the need for extensive transport.

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