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Here are the construction materials commonly used in the walls of a typical house today (as well as the reasons why I don’t want to use those materials):

Vinyl siding- made of PVC, which has been linked to several negative health/environmental issues

Tyvek- consists of high-density polyethylene, which is made from petroleum (various negative aspects)

Wood 2×4 framing- usually cut from young trees, which makes it especially susceptible to warping and shrinkage (bad for many reasons)

Oriented-strand board (OSB)- very susceptible to water damage, and it contains formaldehyde (danger to lungs)

Fiberglass insulation- performance severely affected by moisture, and it’s rarely installed correctly

Plastic sheeting- made from petroleum, and it traps moisture inside the wall

Gypsum board- high embodied energy, and the paper facing provides food for mold growth.

Here’s a preliminary detail showing the materials that I want to use:












My goal is to construct an envelope that is durable and efficient, while using sustainable materials.  I’m sure that some of my design/build friends have opinions on this, so let me know what you think.


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