Climate-adaptive features, plus easier installation and maintenance, distinguish these facade materials. Read about new architectural products from CalPlant, Shildan, Echelon Masonry, Atlas Roofing, StoCorp, Iko, James-Hardie, and Icynene-Lapolla.
CalPlant 1 MDF
What looks like conventional wood MDF is actually a new low-carbon alternative made of rice straw—the leftover stalks of the harvested grain. The agricultural waste is sourced from farms within 25 miles of the plant, and the panels are fabricated using a process the company says emits 20 times fewer VOCs than the average manufacturing of traditional MDF. It is one of Building Green’s Top 10 Products for 2020.
Designed to simplify customization of the color, shape, and glaze of its terra-cotta panels, the Shildan/Moeding Alphaton rainscreen system is also built to withstand strong winds and seismic activity, and resist fading, frost, and corrosion. Its extruded double-leaf clay panels can be easily installed on a marine-grade aluminum substructure, and are said to require no maintenance for up to a century.
Aria Slim Stone
Measuring 3⅝" wide and approximately 36" long, this solid cast-concrete veneer can be installed easily on exterior walls with mortar, to mimic the look of modern stone on a building skin. Available in four textures and five colors, it can also be applied indoors.
Atlas Roofing, a manufacturer of rigid polyiso roof and wall insulation, now offers the panels with a proprietary non-halogenated fire retardant instead of those commonly used throughout the industry. Atlas’s ACFoam and EnergyShield products labeled NH (for non-halogenated) feature the new formula, making them eligible for certain sustainability credits. All are Red List–free and come with a Declare label.
This biomimetic, fast-drying exterior paint is one of Sto’s IQ Technology Coatings, which are modeled on surfaces found in nature. It features a rough finish, like the shell of the African fog-basking beetle, to enable building skins to shed rain and condensation rapidly. Recently available in North America, the coating comes in white, which designers can tint in an array of custom colors.
This self-adhering vapor barrier can be applied to gypsum, plywood, and concrete substrates without a primer, which is said to enable faster-than-average installations. The membrane sticks using a special pressure-sensitive acrylic to keep wall assemblies dry and airtight.
What appears to be a cedar shingle is actually one of James Hardie’s latest fiber cement alternatives. In the company’s Aspyre Collection, this wood impersonator is also part of its Engineered for Climate program, products specially developed to withstand severe heat and humidity (HZ10) and wet, freezing conditions (HZ5). Units are ⅝" thick, pre-primed, and available in six woodlike profiles.
Low Pressure Spray Foam
Formulated in two sizes (OC-450 and OC-1350) to provide efficient insulation, this polyurethane foam was also designed to help deaden sound, reduce structural vibrations, and create a moisture barrier within building envelopes. Recommended for substrates made of wood, masonry, metal, and drywall, it expands as much as 100 times the initial sprayed amount, provides an R value of 4.3 when applied in a 1" thickness, and features a UL GreenGuard Gold Certification.