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sustainable materials

Trying to figure out what products are sustainable may not be as straightforward as you may first think

There are so many criteria to consider and it is unlikely you will find products that tick all of the sustainable boxes. Using a professional service with Ecohabit we can wade through the minefield of products to provide you with a suitable list of products for your home.

Let’s look at an obvious example such as wall construction.  A product like brick which has a high embodied energy may actually rate better as a sustainable product than a timber frame. This could be dependent on a variety of factors. Perhaps the brick factory is within 10km of your home and they quarry materials on site. Transport may be minimal compared to shipping timber frames from hundreds of kilometres away. A brick wall may only need mortar and brick ties to hold it together and maybe some internal cavity insulation.

 

The timber frame will need insulation, sisalation, internal and external cladding, nails, bolts and glue. The brick wall could be recycled at some point in its life. The timber frame would probably go straight to the furnace. Timber has many other benefits however. There are fewer pollutants during manufacture. As a tree grows it absorbs CO2 and produces oxygen. Which product would you consider to be most sustainable?

The Singaporean Government rate steel as being one of their most sustainable products for construction. There is no site wastage, it has a lower embodied energy than concrete, its recyclability and speed of construction are some of the key elements to making the product sustainable.

You can see that their opinion of what is sustainable could be different to someone living in Western Australia’s South West. The true impact of a product on the environment is quite a task to calculate and largely subjective in some cases.

We can help you select the right products based on what you consider to be the most important criteria. There are also plenty of good websites that specialize in rating products. You need to be careful though as many websites are driven by product advertising which means you may not be getting the true facts on a product.

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