James Hardie Cement Fiber Siding = Sustainability/Durability


One of the most common questions we get from home buyers and clients is, “What is cement fiber siding?” It is a product that looks like and can be installed like wood siding, however, it is much more durable and sustainable. UIC’s carpentry division, Blackbird Carpentry, installs tens of thousands of square feet of James Hardie Cement Fiber siding a year on most of the homes and some commercial projects that we build. It is a product that we stand behind in not only because it looks great, but it has up to a 30 year warranty and can be installed in a multitude of ways from the more traditional “lap” siding look to a more contemporary panelized look.

How does James Hardie Siding contribute to the sustainability and durability of a project?

  • Local manufacturing facilities support the regional economy and reduce transportation of materials costs.  We utilize a production plant in Peru, IL where our siding materials are manufactured.  Additionally, JH localizes their raw materials of sand, cement, recycled wood pulp and water, again reducing transportation and energy costs in the manufacturing process.
  • In the manufacturing process, JH recycles their water up to 4 times prior to returning the waste water to local treatment.
  • The materials used in cement fiber are long lasting, low maintenance which require less replacement and less post-installation waste.
  • James Hardie has committed their manufacturing processes on first-run quality, zero to landfill goals of reducing waste in manufacturing.
  • JH siding offers high durability, is rot resistant, pest resistant, and fame resistant, lending to homebuilding voluntary green guidelines, and greatly reduced cost of ownership.
  • After many years when paint starts to wear off, JH siding will maintain its water resistance until it is painted again. The cement fiber product will not absorb water, like wood.

Compared to vinyl, it is a much more substantial product. In a very strong wind, vinyl can detach, unlike Cement Fiber. It can also be painted and re-painted many times in any color and installed with a larger variety of trims than vinyl, giving it a more classic or modern look.

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Visit our build page to see more homes and projects that utilize fiber cement siding, and see how design and function meet to give a greener, more sustainable product that is beautiful.

Green Machines

When we combine state-of-the-art HVAC systems with our top-of-the-line insulation package and building envelope, the result is spectacular energy performance.

Geothermal heat pumps are among the most efficient HVAC devices produced today.  These systems are standard(!) at our Model 1, 2, and 3 homes and rehabilitated homes in the Botanical Grove neighborhood.  Here’s a primer on how we install our systems (with thanks to Ed Wieman of Hauser Mechanical for his design expertise):

1.  Drill two 150’ deep ground wells and insert looped piping (see diagram below).  The conditioned water we run through the piping absorbs the earth’s free constant 60ish temperature.


2.  Run pipes into basement below grade and fit to the heat pump.

3.  Install house ductwork to supply tempered air to the house, tightly seal all duct connections.

4.  Connect energy recovery ventilator (ERV) to the ductwork to supply fresh air into the house and remove odor and moisture from the bathrooms – no wasted bathroom air vented out the roof.

tumblr_inline_n40youTM281riyb9nFresh air in, stale air out

5.  Pipe the electric water heater into the Desuper connection loop inside the geothermal heat pump – free hot water when the air conditioner is running!

6.  Wire the programmable thermostat and startup the system.  Enjoy the low utility bills.

Take a look at the HVAC system comparisons from our supplier, Bosch, for the great energy savings and carbon footprint reduction you can expect from our systems.

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Based on the HERS rating measurements that our independent energy auditors have calculated, our new homes perform almost 50% better than a typical new home.  If you’d like to know more, please visit our display home at 4258 McRee and we’ll show you in person.

jps  #thenewstlouis