08 Jun Using a Greener Stucco
Some stuccos are greener than others and we’re just wrapping up work with one of the most sustainable stuccos available. If you’ve been following the Desert Rain project, you know that every material that goes into the construction of this home has been carefully chosen. The exterior stucco is no exception.
Lower Environmental Impact
While concrete, stucco, and other mortars and plasters have a wide variety of green benefits, there are always possible improvements. For example, most stuccos are made with Portland Cement. Instead, we’re using a mixture of lime, sand, straw, and bentonite. Lime has been used for thousands of years as a binder in mortars and plasters. Lime was the most popular binder until the post-World War II housing boom, when the use of quick-setting cement (Portland Cement) became widespread.
Though not as commonly used today, lime has many advantages over cement. It is a nearly carbon neutral material. The lower environmental impact of lime is definitely important in the construction of this Living Building Challenge project.
A Healthier Home
After construction is complete, the use of lime will have the additional benefit of making the stucco breathable – meaning it allows air-borne moisture to travel freely through, instead of being trapped inside the wall systems. Breathability is important to the air quality within the home. Breathing walls can moderate indoor humidity and practically eliminate the potential for fungal growth on building surfaces. (There are a growing number of studies that link allergies, immuno-depression, and illness to the amount and type of fungal growth in a building)
We strive to make every home we build a healthy one for the environment and for the people who live in it. By using this lime-based stucco, we can provide a non-toxic material surrounding the house, that contributes to the air quality within the home as well. What’s more, lime offers unique light-reflection qualities within the stucco, making it a smart choice all the way around.