Building materials, environmental impact and detailing
This report shows the results of an exercise in the studio “Sustainable Building part A” in the master’s programme “Design for Sustainable Development” given by the dept. of Architecture at Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden. The first outcome of the exercise is a number of different approaches concerning the architectural consequences from choosing different material systems in the design of a climate envelope that can ensure energy efficiency. The second outcome is a wide investigation of materials that shows new options for structural systems with a low environmental impact. The results in this report are meant to be used both as inspiration and information for architects and architectural students who want to develop the building sector’s transformation towards sustainable building. The aim of the exercise is to train a combination of research and design and the architect’s ability to formulate proposals under limited time conditions. The exercise ia carried out in groups.
The starting point for the material exercise is that there are pro’s and cons with every material. The best decisions should be based on comparisons. Hence, the students have been given a simple building “box”, from which they have been given the assignment to design a structural system with different material systems. The U – values in the walls and roof are given; 0.1 W/m2 °C. The exercise has its focus on insulation and details. The insulation is a crucial performance in sustainable building, and it has consequences for both the architectural and structural design. New materials also call for re-thinking several details. Detailing is a crucial step in ensuring the performance of sustainable building (actually it is crucial in every architectural task, but especially in architecture that claims to be sustainable).