As awareness of climate change and the need for a more environmentally friendly future grows, the construction sector uses sustainable materials to lessen their adverse environmental effects. The selection of building materials is crucial for architects, developers, and urban planners who want to design buildings that support the environment and endure over time.
At AAA Architects Inc., we’re interested in sustainable materials with lower carbon emissions, better energy efficiency, and longer durability. In this blog, we will explore three game-changing sustainable materials that have been top of mind for our team.
Bamboo – Sustainable Solution to Carbon Reduction
Bamboo, which has long been prized for its adaptability and quick growth, is experiencing a comeback in the architectural community. Thanks to recent advancements, this common grass can now be considered a structural marvel, with strength on par with steel. Bamboo's renewable nature, low carbon footprint, and visual allure make it an eco-friendly material of choice for architects looking to blend old and new.
Bamboo is an incredibly versatile renewable resource, with some species growing up to 91 cm per day. Its strength and durability make it an ideal replacement for traditional hardwoods in construction. Bamboo has a low embodied carbon and can absorb high levels of CO2, making it an excellent choice for reducing carbon emissions.
According to the report of World Green Building, timber and other biomaterials like bamboo sequesters carbon during growth, meaning they absorb rather than emit carbon. Also, by 2030, all new buildings, infrastructure and renovations will have at least 40% less embodied carbon with significant upfront carbon reduction, and all new buildings must be net zero operational carbon. Furthermore, new buildings, infrastructure and renovations will have zero embodied carbon, and all buildings, including existing ones, must have zero operational carbon by 2050.
Recycled Plastic: Transforming Waste into Architectural Elegance
Plastics possess remarkable versatility, yet our utilization of them often results in excessive waste. Based on a study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, we take oil and gas from the earth to make plastic products that are often designed to be used only once and then throw them away. Year after year, millions of tons of plastic, worth billions of dollars, end up in landfills, are burned, or leaked into the environment. A staggering 8 million tons leak into the ocean yearly — and that number is rising. If we don't rethink its use, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight) by 2050.
Recycling plastics helps save energy and landfill space. Recycled plastics are used in new buildings and construction applications every day. Recycled plastics can be blended with virgin plastic (plastic that has not been processed before) to reduce cost without sacrificing performance.
Reclaimed Wood in Modern Design
Wood is a commonly used construction material due to its attractive design and stunning aesthetic. However, it often becomes wasteful during project deconstruction. Reclaimed wood is a sustainable alternative for building materials in such situations. According to Reclaimed Flooring Co, reclaimed wood or lumber has a history and has been used for buildings and structures from the 18th to the early 20th century. Wood is recycled and reused to meet today’s ever-growing need for sustainable, eco-friendly homes and businesses. Using reclaimed wood could also lead to a reduction in carbon emissions as compared to processing new wood. Moreover, reclaimed wood technology can now deconstruct lumber from older structures while preserving its integrity.
Sustainability is a vital focus of the architecture and engineering industries. We can contribute to the industry’s Net Zero goals by designing with sustainable materials. At AAA Architects, we’re ready for the challenge!