So we know that green is all the rage…its sooo much cooler to be green, build green, work green, live green etc. It’s no new concept. But how practical slash feasible is it to really build green.
I mean its not too hard to live and work green…recycle, switch things off at the wall when not using, buy biodegradable instead of whatever the other stuff is called. But you can also do that without hurting your pocket.
But if you are a builder, renovator, developer or interior designer…how realistic is it that you can be green on the job? Especially when we are experiencing a new, skinnier (for want of not using a negative word like ‘downturn’) economy?
Well we looked into some real products on real sites to see what the results were on the pocket, and if they really are green.
The main product we looked at is composite wood materials. For thousands of years wood has been used to build homes, and it still is today. Yet in recent years it is being replaced with what is now known as composite wood or plastic wood. There are several products out there: mod wood, biowood, timbertech.
For traditionalists and hardcore wood lovers (does that sound wrong?) you may scoff at the idea of plastic wood, but don’t discount it entirely. We have seen it in all its glory and it ain’t too shabby. In fact it can look kinda, really hot.
As with any products, some brands are superior and it will come down to the finish, color, grain and look you are going for.
Biowood has a great range of products and styles. They can produce small battons, thick beams, shutters, louvres, decking, wide planks…and all in some pretty impervious real-like grains and colors. When you get close you can tell its not timber, but you need to get close.
Some composites such as Biowood need to be sealed first, but once its sealed you’re done. Unlike timber which you will need to do every 6-12 months if you want to retain the color as opposed to the weathered grey timber look.
Some brands such as modwood don’t need to be sealed and come ready to roll. Modwood’s silvergum looks like a very neat, evenly weathered natural timber. So why would you buy it if it looks weathered? Well it wont leach stains, sap or color onto nearby tiles or other materials, its very neat, smooth and even and again its less maintenance moving forward.
So why are these products considered green? Well they mostly use recycled plastics and that is what’s giving them the “green” title. Modwood for instance is made up of 70% plastics which largely come from recycled milk bottles. I suppose it gives a new meaning to having breakie on the deck.
Now for the bottom line. It is more expensive upfront. Shop around as different stockists will give you different prices on the exact same product. However you do save on maintenance moving forward – you don’t need to keep sealing/coating it in future. (Some composites do need to be upkept annually, so make sure you choose one that doesn’t).
Verdict. We Like. Its looks good, its low maintenance, it’s a talking point, it’s feel good with its green tag and over time it fits the budget.
~ Carly Crutchfield.