The ideal is to use natural building materials

indigenous to a setting. However, some traditional

or natural building materials may be too expensive

or scarce to consider using today. Nevertheless,

the careful selection of materials creates buildings

that are more ecologically sound and a better

match for particular settings.

• Use natural, nontoxic building materials that

require little maintenance.

• Celebrate, but do not overuse, wood—especially

scarce species or sizes.

• Use materials that are energy-efficient to

produce and transport.

• Draw from local geology by using local stone as

a primary material or as an inspiration for


• Employ materials with integral colors that

weather rather than materials that must be

painted or stained.

• In appropriate settings, use

recycled materials such as

recycled, plastic-lumber


• When using synthetic materials,

select materials that resemble

natural materials, are durable,

and complement the ROS


• Consider wildfire potential

when selecting building

materials, especially roofing.




Chapter 4 Table of Contents

Reader’s Guide