Designing with Materials
Materials play a vital role in the overall carbon impact of a building. Green designers and builders advocate locally sourced materials for construction, as these can be more durable in the local climate. These strategies also support local economies, encourage vernacular building styles and reduce the environmental impact of transportation.
Another approach is using low-carbon building materials and products. Research and development have created many innovative building materials using recycled and by-products. Some examples of recently developed low-carbon products include:
Low-Carbon Bricks: Having a 40% fly ash content helps to reduce embodied carbon found in conventional bricks. Fly ash is a by-product of coal combustion and consists primarily of silica, iron and alumina.
Bamboo Composite Boards: Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants with a maturity cycle of 3-4 years. It is a striking substitute for hardwood in applications such as furniture, doors, windows and their frames, partitions, wardrobes, cabinets, flooring, etc.
Researchers are also looking at alternative materials that tread more lightly on the planet. Soon, natural materials like hemp and mycelium and synthetic ones like carbon fibre and high-performance plastics could play a more significant part in the construction process.