The drive for energy-efficient building comes down to a quest for the so-called tight envelope. In builder lingo, the better a structure keeps out the wind and the rain, the tighter its envelope.
And if you can achieve that tight envelope while using some kind of renewable, recycled material, then that's all the better. But while many new energy-efficient products enter the market each year, some builders shy away from them because of higher costs. In many cases, just adding a layer of insulation or a specially glazed window can increase the cost of materials by 20 to 30 percent.
But in most cases, experts in energy conservation argue that more efficient materials will lead to lowered costs of heating and cooling a house, so the homeowner will recover that money, usually within several years.
Let's take a look at some of the latest energy-efficient building materials on the market right now.