Sustainable building is now high on the agenda. There is currently social, political, and legislative pressure to ensure that any new school buildings are seen as “sustainable”. This is a part of your drive to be an Eco-School. This includes any shelters and gazebos, as well as new classrooms.

With so much to think about whilst primarily focused on budget and deadlines, how can you ensure that your school building is truly sustainable, and causes minimum impact on the environment through manufacture, construction, life span; and, at the very end of its life, demolition. Our recommendation would be to choose timber for sustainability, and off-site manufacture for budget and speed of delivery.

Timber is the planet’s only natural, renewable, recyclable construction material: it has been used in construction for many thousands of years. Now with FSC or PEFC certification you can be confident in its sourcing as well.

In order to keep the focus on the budget at the same time as sustainability, we would suggest you look at off-site manufacture: buildings which are factory prepared prior to delivery to site, and consequently provide large savings on construction costs through reduced build periods and site disruption: systems such as Cabinco’s MPL shell buildings. The logs are precision factory engineered and then delivered to site ready for speedy, accurate, construction of an individually designed sustainable building.

The larger the proportion of timber in your new school building, the more chance of a fully recyclable building envelope. Timber does not have to be restricted to just the outer skin which gives the appearance of sustainability, but can extend to the inner walls, floors, windows, doors, roof structure and even the final roofing material through such options as cedar shingles. A solid wood solution.

Checklist for Sustainable Buildings

  • Sustainable sourcing of materials
  • Noise, Odour & dust during construction
  • Waste to landfill during manufacture and construction
  • Maintenance and energy required during use of the building
  • Recyclability after the end of the building’s natural life.
  • Overall Carbon Footprint

Carbon Footprint

The carbon footprint is an assessment of the impact of the school building on the environment. It looks at all aspects of the processes involved in delivering your built solution in great detail, and includes such things as the energy used in manufacture, where that energy comes from, whether it is renewable energy; energy used in transportation of materials, including the fuels used; construction phase energy and waste; in service energy consumption; and, finally, end of life energy use – or NOT in the case of timber, which can be reused as fuel.

Research shows that timber buildings have the lowest whole life carbon footprints of all.

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