The lifecycle of a building and its materials is a fundamental principle in sustainable architecture.

“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.”

– Annie Leonard

What are sustainable materials?

These are materials that have minimal environmental impact in terms of production, transportation (carbon footprint), lifespan and end of life recyclability and biodegradability.

ARCO2 are dedicated to sourcing and using sustainable materials to minimise environmental impact. Both of our practice and our clients. Where possible we try and source materials locally in Cornwall, then look to the UK and finally from Europe. We try to avoid specifying materials from further afield.

Materials with benefits

Sustainable materials work in symbiosis to create a healthy, natural building. Some of these materials are able to:

  • Absorb toxins from the air
  • Lock in carbon
  • Regulate humidity

It’s also good for everyone involved in the project to know that they are all doing their bit to help minimise the buildings environmental impact. Using these materials gives a sense of moral integrity, righteousness and satisfaction.

Top 5 sustainable materials

We use a lot of locally grown timber from Cornwall, especially for cladding which is sourced from sustainably managed woodlands where harvested trees are replanted. This helps to support the local economy, in turn, helping to minimise carbon emissions. See ARCO2‘s top five sustainable materials:

  1. Green roofs creating biodiversity which also reduces rainwater run-off
  2. Bi-products that are upcycled such as waste sheeps wool from the rug making industry for insulation
  3. Recycled products such as newspaper insulation, wood fibre insulation boards, sheathing boards (low embodied energy)
  4. Natural products such as paints, plasters, stone and timber
  5. Timber from sustainable sources which is FSC or PEFC certified.  Generally this is softwood grown in Europe or locally grown here in Cornwall