We are striving to reduce the footprint in producing our products over traditional home building materials. They are higher in initial cost, but most of our components virtually never need replacing, so in the long term, it just makes sense. Composite based products that save our forests and reallocate oil usage for permanent items gets us so much more in the long run and saves trees for more noble purposes like producing oxygen for our atmosphere and for fine furniture and guitars! Not only is it better from the standpoint of embodied energy, which is the amount of energy needed to build something from scratch, but also better from ongoing energy efficiency standpoint.
We applaud those that take the time and have the skills to build their own tiny house. For another group that are engaged in employment or otherwise that takes most of their time, this may not be an option. This is where we fit in to provide a home that structurally can have a warranty and be expected to perform with longevity in mind. We believe a home needs to perform with high levels of efficiency so the person owning it can contribute to conservation of our planet.
Here is an example...one of our customers wanted to use pine planks for the exterior of her house and did not want to treat them with any finishes that would be harmful to the atmosphere. She was willing to replace the siding every 5 years due to breakdown of the pine. Here is where we must discuss embodied energy. How much in labor, diesel fuel to transport, electric to cut, mill, and finish the new siding will be used up every 5 years? Not to mention tree removal equipment, maintenance, and mobilization to acquire all the raw material. The summary of those items falls into the embodied energy equation. If you have a product that lasts 50 years instead of 5 years then that is an order of magnitude better! Which is a fancy way of saying 10 times better. Also, if you can create a product that uses dramatically less energy day to day, then you have a long term solution. As we have said before, it saves energy in the long term with efficiency. Foam, as in a styrofoam cup, is a bad thing because it will not bio-degrade for hundreds of years*; however, a foam wall for a house with those same characteristics of longevity is an excellent thing.
Lastly, why we consider the science behind the products is to be sure a home can be counted on under extreme conditions. Those include high winds, hurricanes or micro bursts, as well as freezing temperatures and snow or ice. Products need to be used that have proven structural qualities. In other words, a house must have assurances that it will stand up to the unexpected. Interestingly enough, this composite wall we use does not rot, mold or mildew, and it handles tropical high humidity without decomposition. Another plus, is termites do not eat it. Since we are significantly lighter we use less energy to transport when needed or to a permanent location.
In order to be a responsible individual in society we comply with planning and zoning. Along with our individuality we cannot infringe on the rights of others. Building responsibly includes making sure that we conform to local codes and ordinances, fire codes, wind loads and general safety because your life, along with lives of your neighbors, depends on it. From a structural stand point, repurposed materials many times cannot be verified for the requirements of the IBC (international building code).
* Wikipedia, polystyrene bio-degradation
Randy Marmet, CEO