Fiber Cement Siding - For a Greener Home

Hardie Board Siding

According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), green-remodeling practices have immense benefits for a homeowner such as reduced operating costs due to increased efficiency, reduced waste, reduced harmful emissions, and an improved quality of life. As such, many homeowners are increasingly using several green or ecologically friendly materials during home remodeling exercises such as fiber cement siding. The siding is a practical remodeling material that offers excellent green exterior siding coupled with immense environmental, health and social benefits. Read on to discover why you should go the green remodeling way.


About Fiber Cement Siding

In general, the material is an eco-friendly and functional home exterior addition. Apart from being functional, this revolutionary material is practical and aesthetically appealing. In addition, it enhances the insulation of a house. In other words, it enhances a home's heat retention capability during winter, as well as heat expulsion capability during the hot summer months. According to NARI, fiber siding is not intended for use as a primary home insulation material. Instead, the siding is ideal as a component of an already existing insulation system. The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) assure homeowners of immense savings in terms of energy costs they stand to make from a well insulated home.

Composition and Benefits

This material consists of 45% silica, 45% Portland cement and 10% wood fiber. Since silica is relatively inert and melts at 1610°C, it is ideal for widespread industrial applications. Portland cement, on the other hand, is malleable and plastic when wet, and hardens into a strong and durable mass known as concrete. This forms a formidable mixture by any standards.
Because of the chemical properties of the two mentioned base materials, the green exterior siding is extremely durable. In fact, it is capable of lasting for upto 50 years depending on the weather conditions of your locality, and it is virtually maintenance free. Other materials used for the same purpose such as aluminum and vinyl sidings often do not last that long. The 10% wood fiber component gives it some characteristic of wood. However, it is termite and fireproof. Moreover, fiber siding materials that incorporates recycled material actually reduces the total carbon footprint. Because of it's near-zero maintenance requirements, fiber cement siding is an ideal example of a sustainable home remodeling or improvement option.

Emissions Associated With Fiber Cement Sidings

Chemical inertness is another advantage of the siding material. This basically means that when a homeowner installs it, it does not emit hazardous organic compounds. While it is true that the production of Portland cement (one of the main components of the siding) involves limestone decarbonization, which is a process that releases CO2 into the atmosphere, the manufacture of vinyl sidings also involves significant release of the same gas into the atmosphere in quite substantial volumes. The power plants that generate electricity for the manufacture of vinyl sidings release a tremendous amount of CO2 to the atmosphere. Some processing plants use sulfur-based fuel that emits sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere causing smog and acid rain. When cutting fiber cement siding, it is advisable to always wear safety gear including a respirator, and to use proper cutting tools.

Fiber Cement Siding and Occupant Health

As far as the health of the occupants is concerned, the inertness of fiber siding material ensures zero emission of hazardous organic compounds or fine dust after installation.

The Approximate Value of Fiber Siding's Embodied Energy

This green exterior siding consists of three materials each with different values of embodied energy. The wood fiber component contains approximately 2,812 mega joules of embodied energy. Portland cement has approximately five times the value of woods embodied energy. Since fiber cement siding is approximately 50% cement, the total embodied energy for Portland cement enough to clad an average house is approximately 70,300 mega joules.

Fiber cement siding is an excellent green product that has a long lifespan. At the end of its useful life, the material undergoes recycling for reuse. In addition, it also makes a good material for road or landfills due to its inert nature. If you are truly committed towards a greener and cleaner planet, then this should be your green siding exterior material of choice.

Hardie board siding is a great way to go green when considering upgrading your exterior siding. This type of siding option is fire resistant because it’s comprised of cement and fibers, it’s also rot resistant and the termites don’t want to eat it. What’s also wonderful about Hardie board siding, is that it resembles real traditional wood siding without the crazy maintenance, and it also has the best features of vinyl siding, without the problems commonly associated with it.

What’s not to love about Hardiplank siding? It’s fire resistant, bugs don’t want to eat it, and the warranties are the best in the industry. Furthermore, Hardi plank is has the benefits of vinyl siding, without melting or warping, and polished look of real wood siding. So what’s the drawback? Prices. This type of siding with all of it’s benefits still costs a pretty penny. But, is it worth it?