Materials and Resources in Sustainable Building: A New Approach

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As the world moves towards sustainable practices in all facets of life, the building industry is no exception. This shift necessitates a closer look at materials and resources, making sure that each building project not only meets the functional requirements but also adheres to sustainability principles.

  • Materials and Resources: An Overview

In the realm of sustainable building, the category of materials and resources holds significant importance. It addresses all aspects of building materials, from the sourcing and manufacturing processes to their impact on the environment throughout their lifecycle.

  • The Drive Towards Increased Uptime
  • Building Life-cycle Impact Reduction

Recent updates in sustainable building standards are encouraging greater uptake of all Materials and Resources credits. One critical aspect is the reduction of building lifecycle impact. This principle focuses on minimizing the environmental footprint of a building from its inception to its eventual decommissioning, encouraging the use of materials with lower environmental impacts.

  • Building Product Disclosure and Optimization Credits

Also taking the limelight are the Building Product Disclosure and Optimization credits. These credits incentivize transparency in the building industry, promoting the use of materials for which reliable information about their environmental impact is available. It motivates manufacturers to reduce the environmental impact of their products, thereby pushing the entire industry towards sustainability.

  • Fine-Tuning Requirements for Different Project Types

To make the guidelines more adaptive, thresholds for various achievements, such as the number of products, cost, and separate manufacturers involved in a project, have been revised.

  • Accommodating Smaller and/or Less Material Intensive Projects

These revisions are particularly beneficial for smaller or less material-intensive projects. By adjusting the credit thresholds, these projects can now aim for sustainability credits that were previously unachievable.

  • Warehouses and C+S Project Types

Specific project types, such as warehouses and Core and Shell (C+S) projects, have also been given special consideration, making credits more achievable for these types of developments.

  1. Revised Construction and Demolition Waste Credit

The Construction and Demolition Waste credit has also been updated. This change is a significant boost for projects located in challenging sites, as it relaxes the total waste reduction thresholds, making it easier for these projects to meet sustainability standards.

  1. Greater Emphasis on Embodied Carbon Reductions
  2. Building Reuse and Salvage

One of the most notable changes in the guidelines is the increased focus on reducing embodied carbon. Building reuse and salvage have been emphasized, encouraging developers to preserve and refurbish existing structures rather than constructing new ones.

  1. Whole Building LCA and EPDs

Similarly, whole building Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) have been given increased weight. These tools allow for a more detailed understanding of a building’s environmental impact, promoting designs that reduce this impact.

  1. Conclusion

The recent changes to the Materials and Resources category within sustainable building standards illustrate a conscious move towards a more holistic approach to sustainability in the building industry. By encouraging transparency, adjusting requirements for different project types, and placing greater emphasis on embodied carbon reduction, these changes are set to revolutionize sustainable building practices.

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