Updated: Jan 13
The definition of sustainability is; 'the degree to which a process or enterprise is able to be maintained or continued while avoiding the long-term depletion of natural resources - Oxford English Dictionary.
As part of the current ongoing debate on climate change, it is only comparatively recently that the world has become aware of the need to embrace sustainability to minimise further depletion and damage of the planet's resources. This will need to apply to everything we do; including what food we eat, the type of car we drive, the goods and products we buy, how and where we holiday and the type of house we inhabit or the building where we work.
Since the industrial revolution, the construction industry has been one of the greatest culprits of depleting the earth's resources through the extraction of raw materials, the huge amounts of energy used in their production and manufacture, transportation and the non-ecological use of land. Whilst the majority of companies are now adopting sustainability as part of their core values through the registration of world recognised schemes, for example the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), BES6001 (Responsible Sources) and the Carbon Trust Standard, there has so far been little dramatic change in the method of constructing new residential and commercial buildings.
There is however now a growing trend by Architects to adopt sustainability as an essential part of the design process through accredited schemes, LEED, (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) and BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). Through these schemes, it is necessary to use only those materials and building methods that are ecologically friendly and it is this that is beginning to influence the way we are constructing new buildings.
An example of this is the increasing popularity of cross laminated timber (CLT) where the majority of the building is pre-fabricated under factory conditions and assembled rapidly on-site. Through the use of timber sourced from sustainably managed forests, manufacturing processes that use energy from renewable sources and the benefit of the timber structure being a carbon sink, this form of construction provides an ideal sustainable solution. It is this type of construction that has been chosen for the new educational project, mont21school.