Conquering the sustainability challenge

When it comes to saving the environment, it can seem like your contribution is just a drop in the ocean, making little effect to the wider issues. However, one of the biggest ways you can contribute to sustainability is by choosing to design and build a home that reduces its carbon footprint both in the building process and while living in it.

A home designed and built with the environment in mind has the potential to reduce fossil fuel and natural resource consumption, change the amount of waste we generate and restore your natural surroundings. Initiatives like installing compost facilities, greywater systems and if your budget allows, solar power, can make a huge difference to not only the environment, but your household bills!

However, it’s not just in the end design where sustainability comes into play. Choosing how to build your home can also make a huge difference. The first decision to make is which materials to use. While this may seem simple, there are plenty of elements to consider – for example, while sustainably harvested timber might seem like a better option than concrete, the thermal mass abilities of a concrete floor are far more superior than wood, meaning it can store more heat from the sun and reduce the need to heat your home in the winter.

The right materials should first and foremost suit their purpose, but it’s also worth making sure that it ticks as many of the following boxes: non-toxic, sustainably sourced and recyclable/biodegradable when it is eventually replaced. Of course, aesthetics also come into play – the end product has to suit your tastes.

One way to establish a material’s true sustainability qualifications is to perform a lifecycle analysis, considering how it is made, moved, used and disposed of. Questions to ask include ‘where does this come from?’, ‘how far does it travel to get to the site?’ and ‘what type of maintenance does it require once installed?’. Once you have the answers to these, you’ll be able to make an informed choice on what to use.

One material that continues to satisfy many of these requirements is cross-laminated timber (CLT). We are one of the few builders in Australia that specialise in this method, which sees layers of parallel timber beams glued together, before being cut to size and installed on your site. This method is cost-effective, quick to install, has minimal disruption and is sustainable, as we choose to only use material with a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) rating.

CLT is an effective alternative to traditional building methods and one that is becoming more and more popular, as homeowners and builders come to understand its benefits. Should you be looking to build sustainably in 2019, it’s well worth investigating for your home. Get in touch today to see how we can help!