The Discussion on Sustainable Materials Is Shifting (Slowly But Surely)


Over time, consumers become more familiar with the vast options for high-quality, sustainable building materials, but how is the conversation coming along on an industry-wide level? On this episode of the AEC podcast brought to you by Marketscale, host Tyler Kern sits down with Andrew Legge, founder of Havelock Wool, and Mike Horgan, design-builder and certified Passive House Consultant for a candid discussion about high-performance building materials.

Legge, the founder of Havelock Wool building material, says the conversation about high-quality, sustainable building materials is getting easier and more frequent, but there’s still a long way to go.

“The gap is still wide between what needs to get done and what’s actually getting done,” Horgan agrees. “There is still a large education gap, but it’s closing.”

Andrew Legge saysSpecifically, homeowners are helping narrow that education gap by asking more questions of architects and builders. They’re educating themselves about more environmentally sustainable building materials and perhaps most notably, they’re showing their willingness to pay more for these products.

“Homeowners want healthier homes,” Horgan says.

But the veteran design-builder offers an interesting piece of advice for architects and homeowners building a home: Specify what sustainable building material you want in your blueprints or risk leaving it up to a builder to choose the cheapest material.

“Architects and designers know these materials exist, but they’re not putting them in their drawings to spec them and detail them,” says Horgan. “So when the plans get out to the field, a builder may see ‘R20’ on the spec and throw in fiberglass there because it’s the cheapest.”

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