5 Ways to Add Green Materials Into Your Custom Home

Sustainability is a top priority in 2021, with many buyers willing to pay a premium for homes that are eco-friendly. However, outside of installing solar panels, many homeowners are unsure of how they can make their homes more sustainable. Therefore, when designing a custom home, consider any of the following 5 methods of incorporating green materials into your build.

Use the Latest Window Technology

It is no secret that installing new, oversized windows that allow greater transmission of natural light is a great way to reduce a home’s reliance on electricity. However, you do not have to stop at adding a new bay, casement, or double hung vinyl windows in your quest to make a green custom home.

Consider the advantages of implementing smart glass into your new window choice. Smart glass refers to any type of glass or glazing whose light transmission properties change based on how light or heat is applied. In the summer months when you want to keep the home’s interior cooler, the glass becomes translucent, allowing the natural light to illuminate the interior while blocking heat waves that would lead to a temperature increase. During the winter months, when interior heat is necessary, the glass becomes transparent, allowing both light and heat waves from the sun into your home to create warmth, reducing the amount of work required of your HVAC system.

Make Use of Natural Products

As technology has improved, so too has our ability to manufacture old-fashioned, rudimentary building materials into sustainable, viable, contemporary products.

Strawbale is a great example of a product used by 19th-century pioneers that has seen a renaissance in recent years. In straw bale fabrication, agricultural waste products are stacked, plastered, and compressed to create a thick, insulative, and fire-resistant wall material that is 100% eco-friendly.

Rammed earth is another natural process building material, dating back to the Great Wall of China, that is increasingly being used in energy-efficient homes. Rammed earth walls and flooring have among the highest thermal mass of any building material, storing solar heat and slowly releasing it into a home’s interior to keep a comfortable temperature, year-round.

Install In-Floor Heating and Insulation

Despite the popularity of hardwood flooring in contemporary custom homes, there is no denying that they tend to get a bit chilly in the mornings and during the year’s colder months. Due to the amount of heat that is lost at the perimeter and slab of the home’s foundation, it is recommended to install below grade insulation or radiant floor heating to help keep hardwood floors from feeling so frigid. These innovative products will help eliminate cold pockets that can appear in the areas farthest away from vents, keeping the HVAC system from working overtime.

Choose Low Maintenance Materials

An underrated aspect of building a green home is choosing materials that will not require an abundance of future energy use for cleaning and maintenance. Therefore, durable, easy-to-clean products should be given top consideration. Look at wood floor trends that will allow you to cut the cord with the vacuum cleaner. In addition, consider durable, nonporous kitchen and bathroom counters that do not require the frequent application of sealers and toxic cleaning chemicals to maintain.

Add Siding from Waste Products

One of the fundamental aspects of living a green lifestyle is recycling and repurposing waste products. One way to accomplish this with your custom home is to choose a siding material made of materials commonly thought of as waste.

Old cargo crates are often retired from the shipping industry after 20 years in use, even though they usually remain in good condition. These inherently durable crates make a great choice for siding a green custom home.

Another popular waste product that can be turned into a strong siding material is tree bark. Tree bark is often stripped and discarded (sometimes used for gardening mulch) when lumber is being harvested, but it is a surprisingly beautiful, durable, and sustainable siding material that makes a great choice for an eco-friendly home.


Creating an eco-friendly home is a top priority in the 2021 real estate market. If you are searching for ways to incorporate green materials into a custom home construction project, the five ideas mentioned above are a great place to get started on the road to sustainability.

Jordan Swift is a contributor to the Innovative Building Materials blog. He is a content writer for the construction and home improvement industries with an interest in landscaping, outdoor remodeling, and interior design. Jordan is focused on educating homeowners, contractors, and architects on innovative materials and methods of construction that increase property value, improve sustainability, and create a warm and welcoming ambiance.