This book includes a plain text version that is designed for high accessibility. To use this version please follow this link.
Feature Eco materials for 2015

Going green in 2015

“We need innovation across the board. Every material used in a building needs to be developed to reduce its impact” Kristian Steele

WHEN IT COMES to sustainable building, the march of progress is less a straight line than a meandering path with many forks, frequent hairpins and quite a few dead ends. The result is that 2015’s product landscape is an unlikely combination of the very new and the very old. High-tech solutions such as LED lighting and 3D scanning will reduce the energy use of buildings, whereas low-tech materials such as clay and wood will enjoy a renaissance as people search for renewable materials with low embodied carbon. Considering how far the construction

industry stills needs to go – the government’s Construction 2025 strategy is seeking a 50% cut in emissions – it can’t afford to leave any stone unturned. “We need innovation across the board,” says Kristian Steele, senior materials consultant at Arup. “Every material used in a building needs to be developed to reduce its impact, and I think we need change across all of the supply categories.” As for what makes a sustainable

product, Steele identifies two categories: “First, it’s got to do the job it was specified to do, whether in a column, a wall, a lighting system or as a flooring material. If you get that wrong, it will burn, crack, fade, fail and you will need to replace it before its time is out.” This is


Specifying truly sustainable materials that tick every box is a specialism in itself – but Katie Puckett has canvassed the experts to find out what should be on the list

9 2 4

familiar territory for specifiers and it’s the side of sustainability that the industry generally does well. The second aspect – and it remains a

distant second – is the effect a product has on people and the environment over its lifetime. Manufacturers have already begun to decarbonise their supply chains, and to compile environmental product declarations (EPDs), a harmonised EU standard for life-cycle assessments: “But there’s a long way to go before we have all of the information we need about all of the impacts of all of these products,” says Steele. “In Europe as a whole, there are millions of products on the market, but only about 2,000 EPDs so far.” Sustainable building technologies may

have come a long way in a short space of time, but even the latest innovations are just small steps towards the goal of a radically different industry. For


example, today’s zero-carbon new builds and green retrofits are not end products in themselves, but stages towards the much more ambitious goal of buildings as components of integrated energy networks – a point made by Professor Chris Gorse, who leads the building performance and sustainability research unit at Leeds Beckett University. “Before we can get there, we’ve got to have greater control of the building stock. We need to know how buildings behave and how to control them, how quickly they

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56