Material Selection Print

Design Outcome

Desi​gn Checklist​

  1. New developments use sustainable construction materials and methods

Better Design Practice

There are several issues to consider with material selection, including:

  • ​Life cycle cost, or the cost of the material over its lifetime, including installation, maintenance and removal. Higher quality materials, which may cost more in the short term, will often save money over the life of the building.

  • Ongoing maintenance is also a significant cost. Specify durable, low-maintenance materials by considering the future maintenance and repair costs associated with proposed materials at the design stage.

  • Consider materials with low embodied energy. Embodied energy includes all the energy that was used to create the material in its final state and includes extraction, manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance and disposal.

  • ​Existing buildings have a large amount of embodied energy, therefore buildings should be adapted and reused where possible rather than being demolished.

  • Energy consumption over the lifespan of the completed building. In some cases a material with high embodied energy, such as heavy construction materials, may have a positive environmental benefit in the long term due to the thermal mass of the building reducing the overall heating costs. 

  • Ensure raw materials come from renewable and sustainable sources. For example, specifying timber that is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified will ensure that it comes from a managed and sustainable source. All of these issues are connected and should be considered together to achieve the best outcome for the building and the best environment benefit.

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