When you are planning your house renovation or extension project the aesthetics of the products used for internal and external finishes are often the deciding factor, over cost.
What you may not know is the choice of materials has a wide ranging impact on the environment. Cost and environmental impact are always linked but good early consideration in material selection can help control both, whilst also achieving the aesthetic you want.
A lot of building materials are hidden within the structure, walls, floors and ceilings, so the aesthetic value in those elements is not important. It is these elements that can often have more environmental impact.
If you can save money and identify ways of using lower environmental impact materials as well, then it is a win win.
Below are a few points for consideration when selecting materials, and/or in discussion with your builder about where they source materials;
- Is it possible (or appropriate) to use locally sourced materials?
- If not, how responsibly sourced are the materials – e.g. sustainably sourced timber (Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified timber)
- Is it possible to get a material with a high recycled content?
- Can ordering quantities be more precise to reduce waste and recycling?
- Is it possible to use non-toxic materials and refrigerants with a low environmental impact potential?
- Use of materials with a low embodied energy; timber windows and doors, and less PVCu.
- Can a more durable material be used?
Further details are provided in this useful BREEAM document.
Most of the above points can be considered without impact on the design and with a controlled impact on the cost. They will all improve the environmental performance of the property.
Materials used in building works impact on the environment. By considering the environmental impact and choosing those materials which have the minimal impact you will be helping to reduce not just your personal environmental impact but also the environmental impact across the construction industry.
Contact Team SJA on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 228 8522
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