A big decision with regards the house was what to use for the cladding of the house. While looks were of course important, carbon footprint of the materials, cost, use of toxic wood stain and preservatives were all considered.
The final choice was what is called in Japan, Yaki-sugi, which is cedar cladding that has the outside burned to leave a protective charcoal coating. The charcoal acts as a natural preservative and also rapels insects. In addition, the wood was from Japan – a bonus for minimising the embedded energy (carbon footprint) of the chosen material.
Traditional buildings in Japan often have yaki-sugi, and a similar technique is used in the Swiss Alps where chalets last for generations.