(BPT) - In the last 10 years, televisions have become flatter, video rental stores have nearly disappeared and phones have become devices that are more like a computer than a phone.
There’s good reason that when most people think about changes in technology, they tend to think about the digital world. After all, with the news full of reports of driverless cars, it’s easy to forget that some of the most important technological advancements are happening around us in ways we may not be aware of — namely — in our homes.
From drywall to windows to insulation, home building materials have developed in a way that might seem like something from a science fiction movie. But as more homeowners are getting accustomed to living with these comforts, they wonder how they ever did without them. Here are five of the most exciting innovations.
Sound-dampening drywall – Everyone wants to go home to some peace and quiet, but in a busy household with televisions, video games and music playing out of surround-sound systems, it can be hard to find quiet. Some look to noise canceling headphones or sound-muffling curtains, but engineers at CertainTeed Gypsum have discovered that something as simple as the right drywall can do wonders in canceling out noise. Their SilentFX(R) QuickCut noise-reducing drywall puts a blanket over sound energy and significantly blocks the amount of sound carried through walls and ceilings.
A new lease on lumber – Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a material made by gluing together smaller pieces of timber to create large slabs that serve as an alternative to steel and concrete. As strong as steel, and in many ways even more fireproof, CLT allows for contractors to put up incredibly durable buildings incredibly fast. With computer-aided design programs, architects can design a building and send the exact specifications to robotic routers that cut the exact dimensions for each piece so that the entire building can be assembled like a big piece of furniture.
Quartz, an engineering miracle – While granite countertops and marble bathtubs may be at the top of everyone’s list, the cost can be prohibitive. Quartz, which is a name for stone that has been engineered by grinding quartz with resins, polymers and coloring, has emerged as a substitute that outperforms granite and marble, for a fraction of a price. Extremely durable and virtually maintenance free, modern engineered quartz comes in a variety of colors and patterns that mimic the erratic design prized in natural stone.
Air-quality control – People spend a lot of time and money ensuring their home has good air flow. However, most people aren’t aware of the role the right drywall can play in ensuring clean, breathable air. Common household products such as carpet, perfume, hairspray, candles, flooring and more actually give off formaldehyde that affects the quality of the air. As part of the new “smart” generation of drywall, AirRenew(R) with M2Tech(R) technology is a drywall that is not only moisture and mold resistant, but actively removes formaldehyde from the air and converts it into safe inert compounds, contributing to a healthier home environment.
Bio concrete – Though it's the world’s most common building material, concrete ages quickly. Changes in temperature, the shifting of the earth, weather and chemicals all contribute to the inevitable cracks and deterioration. Several years ago, scientists in the Netherlands developed a kind of concrete that can repair itself by integrating limestone-creating bacteria that “heal” cracks. This process is similar to the way bones heal themselves when broken. The result for home builders is stronger foundations, less seasonal repair and more overall value.
While people may not line up outside a store to get these materials the way they do with the newest phone release, these technologies will have positive effects on people’s daily lives. So if you’re curious about what innovative drywall solutions are available today, visit CertainTeed.com/Silent-FX and CertainTeed.com/CleanTheAir.
(BPT) - If you are planning to build a new home or add on to your existing home, you likely take for granted that it will be constructed with "sticks." For more than 100 years, homes in North America have been built using hundreds of individual pieces of lumber, wall studs, floor joists and similar framing pieces.
Although so-called "stick-built" homes are the norm, the resulting walls and roofs are notoriously drafty and difficult to insulate well.
As homeowners become more interested in saving on home heating and cooling costs, more are turning to higher performance building methods, such as structural insulated panels (SIPs). SIPs are large wall and roof sections made of wood panels laminated to a solid insulating foam core.
Because the insulation in SIPs is continuous across the height, length and width of each panel, they are more energy efficient than stick construction, which consists of hundreds of pieces of lumber dividing portions of insulation every 16-24 inches, resulting in numerous gaps for energy exchange and pollutants to enter a building. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) tests show SIP structures are up to 15 times more airtight than stick-built construction, and therefore offer higher insulating values. As a result, building with SIPs can reduce home heating/cooling energy use up to 60 percent, saving homeowners money year-after-year for the life of their home.
"Everyone is so amazed by the energy efficiency SIPs provide," says Scott Bergford, a DOE Energy Value Housing Award Builder of the Year, based in Olympia, Washington. "It only costs an average of $200 to $300 a year to heat one of my homes. That's anywhere from one-fifth to one-six the typical costs for this region, so the savings are pretty significant, and the homeowners love that."
"As they learn what is now possible in construction, more homeowners are asking their builders for high-performance, energy efficient materials like triple pane windows and SIPs," says Joe Pasma, Technical Manager for Premier SIPs, North America's largest SIP panel manufacturer. "To further boost our panels' energy efficiency, soon all of our SIPs will be made with insulating foam enhanced with graphite - a product called Platinum GPS."
At first glance, a SIP might not look very strong given the rigid foam core. But, extensive testing shows SIPs are structurally superior to lumber framing. When a devastating earthquake struck Kobe, Japan, in 1995, the SIP-built structures were some of the few homes that remained standing, despite the severe ground shaking.
And, despite being a manufactured component, SIPs can be adapted for use in any architectural style - from Colonial to contemporary.
Many homeowners wonder about the cost of SIP construction, given the range of benefits the panels provide. SIPs generally cost about the same as stick construction, considering that they enable faster home construction, reduced heating and cooling equipment and reduced disposal costs from construction waste.
Interested in Publishing on The Home Idea?
Send your query to the Publisher today!