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Marc Ojanen and Shen-I Chiou’s Opinion of New Composite Wood Siding Products

Marc Ojanen and Shen-I Chiou , founders of Ojanen_Chiou Architect, LLP in San Francisco, are considered LEED Accredited Professionals with experience in residential, commercial and education projects in green building. One of the firm’s current projects targeting a Gold certification is renovating the Branson School science building in Ross, California.

Alice Nelsen, from St. Charles, MO., posed a question to Mar and Shen about the durability, ‘green’ labeling, and their overall opinion about a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified composite wood siding made by AMI, called Revolution. This is what they had to say:

Revolution siding, a wood composite only recently introduced to the market, is worth considering as an option. Part of a next generation of wood composite product, Revolution siding is made with combined materials such as waste wood and cellulose with various plastics. This hybrid material would make for a much more durable product in comparison to older composites. Any problems associated with water infiltration (such as mold and swelling) is also addressed by including ‘strong polymers’ in the development of the product. Additionally, other co-polymers have been introduced to prevent the cracking and breaking that occurs with the changes in temperature.

As for ‘green’ characteristics, the polymer finish integrates color, eliminating the need for painting, which in turn reduces the need to prime, stain, or caulk, cutting down on air pollution from VOCs. This is also beneficial since it reduces the carbon footprint (i.e., vehicle trips).

LEED materials are not certified but can contribute to LEED credits. Revolution’s product is credited for Materials and Resources credits 4.1, 4.2 and one ID (Innovation in Design), reusing plastics and wood products that would otherwise end up in landfills. In turn, they create a long lasting and useful product.

On a side note, just as beneficial and long-lasting as this siding can be, the flip-side is that this product has to be reused for similar purposes, since it will not decompose, endlessly lingering in landfills.

If AMI’s claims are accurate, siding made by Revolution is environmentally friendly, preventing the depletion of natural resources. This product seems to be preferred over fiber cement siding, since the latter is susceptible to cracking (which occurs often when installing) and Revolution siding does not include silica, a hazardous substance released when cutting cement siding.

Last but not least, it’s important to find a qualified company to handle and install Revolution siding, that can also provide quality control and a manufacturer’s warranty.

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