World Environment Day: Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.
Climate change is the challenge of our time, and this year’s World Environment Day kicked off with the UN’s Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) – a global mission to revive our ecosystems. The take home message is that we can’t go back in time, but we can grow trees, green our cities and rewild our gardens. “We are the generation that can make peace with nature.”
With the built environment accounting for 45% of the UK’s total carbon emissions and 32% of landfill waste, our commitment to resources in construction needs to be a commitment to sustainable resources, and one of the most sustainable building resources readily available is wood.
Choosing sustainably sourced, FSC certified wood that comes from climate smart forestry programmes can be used to green our cities and bring nature back into our day-to-day environment.
For every cubic metre of wood used instead of other building materials, 0.8 tonnes of CO2 is saved from the atmosphere.
Up to 80% of a building’s embodied carbon comes from structural materials, by choosing less carbon intensive options such as, wood products, less energy is required to manufacture them than other materials, and more carbon is stored through the useful life of the product.
Why is wood good?
A more sustainable and cost-effective construction material of choice.
As a natural building material, wood emits lower volatile organic compounds than other materials choices. Being 100% biodegradable, it has a lower environmental impact during the manufacturing process, with by-products being able to be used as a biofuel, it also costs less to produce. At Quattro, we recognise the need for more sustainable supply chains and construction practices.
The implementation of wood boasts: Higher insulation ratings and is a hygroscopic material – boosting energy efficiency. Wood has high tensile strength, good thermal properties, sound absorption and biophilic design qualities that provide a calming influence having a positive effect on your mental health. Wood can also be grown and grown again removing C02 from the air as it does so. It can be reused and recycled.
Wood has plenty of application options in sustainable design.
At the forefront of innovative Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), wood can be used in prefabrication and modular construction, as well as modern parametric design – it’s a great low carbon alternative.
Striking and Sustainable Design
Materials for the new pavilion containing a Café and Community Room within the historic setting of Page Park, needed to be vandal proof and also reflective of South Gloucestershire Council’s passion for sustainable architecture.
Delivered to a tight budget, we implemented wood in our sustainable design by emphasising natural light with tall areas of glazing and vertical timber cladding, mirroring the sylvan setting. An inverted butterfly roof brings in daylight, maximising light but at the same time, reducing the visual impact on the park. With timber and stone facing; this is a durable design and ensures that the building captures the vernacular of the park.
Yate Youth Café, Bristol, is another example where Quattro introduced innovative walling materials to achieve the client’s sustainability brief. The bio-composite material hempcrete was used in conjunction with timber frame to provide a highly insulating, vapour permeable external wall construction. Similar to the life cycle of wood, it has a better than zero carbon footprint, absorbing more carbon from the atmosphere as it grows than it produces in the manufacturing and application process.
Multiple applications across multiple sectors
More recently our Healthcare Architects are incorporating wood products into Quattro’s Healthcare designs, not only for its biophilic design qualities, but also for its sustainability ratings. Gloucestershire Royal Hospital’s Courtyard Development utilises timber SIPS with further projects looking to utilise timber as well.
Quattro’s Care Home Architects have used timber frame in Moray Lodge, Northampton where the provision of high quality, high performance, low carbon housing is paramount for the client. Using timber frames, specialist insulation and a range of innovative techniques, this Later Living development is a more environmentally conscious scheme than traditional structures.
Lime Grove in Gloucester, where our Housing Architects have recently achieved planning, is now already achieving the Government’s Future Homes Standard to be introduced by 2025, incorporating the use of timber to create eco-friendly homes with heat source pumps and a sustainable energy model, similar to our various housing schemes in Stroud, where Quattro is implementing ground source heat source pumps as part of sustainability efforts.
At Quattro, we incorporate timber into striking and sustainable design across multiple sectors.