Fast fashion, single-use plastic and harsh chemical; we know these things aren’t great for our planet. As a nation, we are shifting towards brands and products that actively embrace green credentials, but what about our homes? Is there a move towards sustainable construction and what does it involve?

Circularity in Architectural Design

Circular design focuses on quality, longevity and excellent resource management. It embeds the reduce, reuse and recycle principle into everything we make and use. It applies as much to architectural design and sustainable construction as it does to the packaging industry or fashion houses.

The shift towards green building has been growing momentum in recent years. Being able to evidence environmental management, a sustainable supply chain and steps towards Net Zero solutions are now a prerequisite for winning major contracts. This change in focus has challenged many of the longstanding methods and materials used in residential and commercial projects.

As manufacturers of premium charred timber cladding, we have seen an increase in interest in the sustainability of Shou Sugi Ban®. Architects and builders want to ensure they are specifying materials that support their environmental aims.

What is Sustainable Construction?

Sustainable construction is designing and building in ways which reduce energy consumption, waste, inefficiencies, carbon footprint and ongoing costs. It can include one or more of the following:

  • NetZero Building – using technology including solar panels and rainwater harvesting to generate the resources used in running the home.
  • Passive Design – The best use of natural heat, light, air and orientation, combined with air tightness to minimise the use of purchased energy to keep a home comfortable to live in.
  • Renewable Building Materials – selecting natural, durable and recyclable materials that are grown, harvested and regrown including timber, bamboo and cork.
  • Green Roof – From bus stops to building tops, using this space to grow plants can enhance air quality and habitats. It also offers a means of absorbing excess rainwater.

Switching to sustainable construction needs to be viewed as a means of improving build quality and performance. That means no compromise on structural integrity or safety.

Sustainable construction

Is Timber Cladding suitable for Sustainable Construction?

Not all timber cladding is equal, so it is important to stress that we are referring to premium-quality external cladding, that has been correctly weathered, finished and installed.

Our Shou Sugi Ban® charred cladding is specified by architects that are invested in green building principles. They see our product range as a viable option because of the following five credentials:

  1. Use of Renewable MaterialsTimber is a renewable resource and we work closely with sawmills and timber merchants to ensure that every larch, oak or Douglas fir delivery has been responsibly sourced.
  2. Designed for longevity and easy maintenanceWe use the Japanese timber charring technique of Yakisugi to preserve the timber. This process is carried out on-site by our skilled workshop team. The heat alters the cell structure to weatherproof the timber and make it resilient to rot and insect infestation. Rather than a surface coating, which can peel off, yakisugi penetrates the wood for a permanent, minimal-maintenance finish. Yakisugi finishes have timeless appeal and offer longevity.
  3. Aids thermal efficiency to reduce ongoing costsTimber is a naturally insulating material, so timber cladding can support the building’s thermal efficiency.
  4. End of life is considered, with waste seen as a resource, not landfillWithout the need for regular applications of chemical preservation, varnish or paint, the timber can be reused or recycled when removed. Even offcuts can be repurposed; we know that some have been used to create hard landscaping features and planters.
  5. It’s straightforward to deconstruct items to separate materials for reuseWe offer systems to simplify the installation of timber cladding. This also makes it possible to remove planks or sections of the cladding for additional building works, rather than demolishing the entire finish. This also makes recycling easy.

Discover more about the environmental benefits of timber construction in a previous blog:

Specify Shou Sugi Ban® for your Sustainable Construction Project

Exterior Solutions Ltd developed a range of Shou Sugi Ban® cladding solutions, using tried and tested timbers and finishing techniques. We offer the traditional blackened timbers with a textured finish, along with options that enhance the natural wood grain. If you prefer pale, smooth finishes or a hint of colour, we can also meet those requirements.

The Shou Sugi Ban® brochure can be downloaded from the charred timber cladding page on our website or contact us on 01494 711800 to discuss requirements and request samples.