How To Make Your Building More Sustainable

The environmental crisis is driving more and more architects, self-builders and contractors to seek out greener ways to build. From design to material choice to ongoing energy usage, there are many factors to consider when it comes to creating a sustainable building.

NORclad supplies industry leading timber cladding solutions to a range of project types across the UK. Economical, durable, eco-friendly and aesthetically stunning, timber makes a great addition to your project.

In this article, we suggest some great ways to make your building more sustainable, whether you’re starting from scratch or renovating an existing structure.

What is a Sustainable Building?

A sustainable building is the result of an imperative in design and construction to increase the efficiency of resource use and reduce the impact of the built environment on the planet and human health. It involves thinking through all aspects of siting, design, construction, functionality, maintenance and demolition in order to minimise the negative effects of the building on its environment. A sustainable building will minimise waste, use renewable energy and non-toxic materials, consider environment factors in its design, adapt to changing environments and climates, and provide a healthy internal environment for users.

What is Green Architecture & Why Is It Important?

7 Ways to Make Your Building More Sustainable

Passive Solar Design

Passive solar design harnesses the building’s relationship to the sun to facilitate key functions like heating and cooling. By considering location, orientation and size, architects can plan a project from the initial stages to minimise the energy required to heat, cool and light the building.

Depending on the season and climate, windows, walls and floors can be used to collect, store, reflect or transmit solar energy. In the summer, sunshades and brise soleil can provide much needed shade to limit reliance on air-conditioning, without restricting natural light too much.

Passive solar design offers numerous benefits to users of the building, providing optimum thermal comfort and less variation in temperature. Moreover, incorporating plenty of natural light will create a pleasant internal environment, and reduce the need for electric lights in the daytime.

Learn more: The Ultimate Guide to Brise Soleil >

Modular Construction

Producing large elements of buildings in factory settings can assure their quality, eco-credentials and streamline construction. It’s for this reason that modular construction is becoming more and more common in building projects across a range of sectors. Prefabrication can reduce the amount of waste produced and give builders better control over the process. Many building materials can be used for prefabrication, including timber cladding.

Explore Our Full Range of Timber Cladding >

Churchward Siberian Larch

Install Exterior Insulation

The quality of a building’s insulation has a significant impact on its energy consumption. Whether you’re designing a new building or working to improve the sustainability of an existing one, installing insulation on the outside walls can provide the ideal solution. Timber has a naturally low thermal conductivity, making it the perfect material choice for this endeavour. When installed as exterior cladding, the air pockets in wood’s cellular structure enhance the thermal comfort of the building – keeping it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. And, it provides great acoustic insulation too!

See more: 8 Benefits & Advantages of External Building Insulation for Your Property >

Use Eco-Friendly Materials

Whether you are renovating an existing structure or starting from scratch, it’s important to opt for eco-friendly materials where possible. This choice can help safeguard sustainability during the construction process, and throughout the building’s lifespan.

Some examples of sustainable building materials include reclaimed and recycled materials, bamboo, earth and wood. With so many options on the market with a host of benefits, it’s easier than ever for architects to design with the planet in mind. Wood, for example, has excellent eco-credentials; it’s totally renewable, biodegradable and even extracts CO2 from the atmosphere during growth.

Examples of Eco-Friendly Building Materials

Minimise Waste

Minimising waste at every stage of your construction or renovation project is crucial to its sustainability. There are various ways to achieve this. Firstly, design for fewer, more durable materials, and don’t overorder. If there is waste on the construction site, create strategies to reuse the materials in creative, original ways. Or, only work with materials like timber that will naturally biodegrade.

It’s also a good idea to consider the building’s end of life and design for the recovery of demolition waste. Architects can plan for ways to reduce waste during the building’s lifespan as well – for example, water waste can be limited by installing rain-collecting and low-flow technologies.

Read next: Benefits of Using Wood for Your Next Project

Integrate Renewable Energy Sources

With a section of the National Grid’s electricity created through burning fossil fuels, partial or full independence from this network can help minimise your building’s carbon footprint. This can be achieved through incorporating solar panels or wind turbines into the design of the building. Not only will this reduce energy costs and CO2 emissions, but it might also provide a potential revenue stream if more energy is produced than you need.

A Beginner’s Guide to Sustainable Construction >

Incorporate Nature

Finally, incorporating nature into your building design is a great way to boost sustainability and support local ecosystems. In urban environments, the presence of green walls and rooves will provide much needed food sources and habitats for pollinators. The plants will also absorb CO2 from the surrounding environment, improving air quality and creating a pleasant environment to spend time in.

With biophilic design becoming a popular architectural and interior style, incorporating nature into building design isn’t just about sustainability. In fact, it’s an aesthetic statement, and provides a host of health and wellbeing benefits to users. Even if living walls and rooves aren’t realistic for your project, there are plenty of other ways to evoke this trend such as using natural materials like timber and stone.

Related: Inside Outside Architecture – How To Leverage This Trending Design Style

Sustainable Timber Cladding for Your Building Project

NORclad is a leading supplier and manufacturer of high quality FSC and PEFC certified timber for building projects all over the UK. If you’re looking for ways to boost the sustainability of your building project, timber makes a great addition. From design flexibility to ease of installation, timber cladding has plenty to offer.

Talk to us about your project today or explore our full range!

See more: Why Do Architects Use Wood?

See more: Eco-Friendly Cladding Guide – Everything You Need to Know

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If you’re stuck for inspiration and want to see working examples of our expertise, feel free to browse through our case studies.

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2022-05-18T11:06:24+01:00February 25th, 2022|

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