Globally, the threat of climate change and the struggle to manage non-recyclable products means sustainability needs to be at the forefront of everybody’s minds. Engineering, innovation and forward-thinking will each play their part in defining our future housing policies, in turn helping to design for inevitable climate change while also minimising and slowing down its effects.
It’s a material world

One way to combat climate change is to choose construction materials that are low-carbon, a carbon store, reusable or recyclable, creating a circular economy. Recent reports show that materials such as cement in concrete contribute up to 8% of total global carbon emissions. Therefore, choosing materials like timber, which sequesters carbon, as a primary construction material helps the fight against carbon emissions. Materials such as concrete and steel will continue to be used but using timber as part of a hybrid structure can help to offset the negative effects.

Vancouver’s Terrace House, designed by Shigeru Ban, is a stunning example of hybrid timber on a grand scale. Due for completion in 2020, the 19-storey apartment block is set to be the tallest hybrid timber structure in the world and will be constructed from locally-sourced wood, concrete and glass. Mass timber was chosen for its sustainable and renewable credentials. Building in a city the developer struggled to find land, a common issue in urban areas, so building up was the logical answer. An intriguing geometric design, the timber used in the tower will be behind a glass exterior, removing the need for treatment over the years.

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