Environmental Assessment of House Cladding Products

Lead Author: Dr. Jim Bowyer

Publish date: 09.16.2019

 

Dovetail Partners Consuming Responsibly Report No. 11
 

 

Homeowners have a wide array of exterior cladding options. Among the alternatives are brick, stucco, vinyl, polypropylene, aluminum, fiber-cement, engineered wood, and solid wood siding products of various species. This report examines the relative environmental impacts of these various cladding options considering a number of categories of impact.  Impact estimates are based on full life cycle assessments beginning with raw material extraction, through product manufacture, use, and end of life disposal.

 

Over a 60-year time frame or less, the house cladding products linked to the greatest overall environmental impacts are polypropylene siding and those products that are cement-based. These products also generate the greatest climate change impact potential. Vinyl, solid wood, and engineered wood siding products have lower overall environmental impacts, including climate impacts. Over longer time horizons than 60 years the relative impacts of cement-based products would be lower, reducing considerably the impact differences between these and vinyl, and wood cladding.