“ECO” : adj : “not harming the environment; eco-friendly”.
It is doubtful that humans can ever be truly have no detrimental effect on the environment, but why should that stop us trying. There is a baffling amount of product and information available for eco friendly construction, however unfortunately it is either entirely unsuitable for the projects we have, or at a cost totally outwith the reach of most purchasers.
Our home packages create low impact dwellings using timber frame, and we recommend cladding these from a choice of natural wood finishes, which creates truly eco timber kit home designs.
A huge factor in making a home eco-friendly in the ongoing sense, is to minimise it energy use. Heating is probably the main factor of this here in the UK.
The level can be varied, but our key material, timber, is the friendliest mainstream material by far.
Key features of a ‘eco’ material are :-
- Low embedded energy
- Requires minimal treatment during its lifespan and/or treatment is not harmful to the environment
- Natural material
We would add features to this list such as :-
- Ease of availability
- Ease of transport
- Ease of workability
On searching the web, a site dedicated to sustainable design highlighted a list of 11building materials that are “way better than concrete”. These included straw; grasscrete, rammed earth, hempcrete, bamboo, recycled plastic, mycelium, ferrock, ashcrete, timbercrete and of course, something as simple as WOOD !
Wood in any of its forms, ticks all the eco requirements, it is also the one that fulfils the additional features we also listed.
Timber has a proven much lower embedded energy than any masonry products, and hugely less than steel product.
Fully sustainable, modern forestry stewardship ensures that it is commonplace, that for every tree harvested, 3-4 are planted to replace it. Forestry is now closely managed in the industrialised countries of the world, with the likes of the PEFC and FSC organisations setting very high standards.
And wood is so natural. The timber you see used in your home, whether it is in the structure, or in the finishing pieces, not only is easily recognisable to the harvested tree, but feels it to. How many of the mainstream building materials can you say this about ? Wood is also a healthy material, being totally natural it is generally accepted now that the environment it creates, whether indoors or outdoors, is healthier as it less of a ‘processed’ material. And now with the availability of many water based, toxin free stains and finishes, timber need not be left in its ‘bare’ form to be just as environmentally pure.
Do remember as well, that the forests that are planted to replenish the stocks of timber. They not only clean our air, but provide a fantastic habitat for our wild flora and fauna. Something we are sure you will agree, does not occur in quarries; mines and other extraction.
We added our additional points, since there are many products that can be ‘eco’, but we are in a world which it may not be easy to obtain, or afford some of ultimate types. This is where simple everyday timber scores so high …. while very much being an ‘eco’ material, it is also …
- Easily available – there are plentiful timber merchants and DIY stores supplying timber of all types
- Affordable – it is one of the most cost effective construction materials available, and there are also wide choices you can make within your specific need.
- Ease of transport – Light, clean and able to be packed efficiently, timber can be easily and cheaply transported, and is very cost efficient per tonne.
- Workability : whether you have state of the art woodworking machinery, or a basic hammer and saw, wood can be transformed easily into structural components (timber frame), carpentry products or joinery items such as doors, windows and finishings.
- Waste : wood waste is not harmful or toxic, and can be easily used for a number of other purposes whether used to fire heating/cooking appliances, or reformed into another timber based product …. Virtually every part of the harvested timber is fully used with ultimately negligible waste.