In an increasingly conscious world of the importance of sustainability and environmental conservation, ecological construction has become an essential option for those seeking a greener and healthier future.
As our communities grow and evolve, it is crucial to consider the environmental implications of our construction decisions: ecological construction is the most responsible response to this call for environmental awareness and improvement in the quality of life for its inhabitants.
The use of sustainable techniques and natural materials not only reduces the environmental impact of construction but also helps decrease the energy demand of buildings, creating a healthier and more comfortable environment for those who live or work in them, and controlling construction costs and timelines.
A passive house allows for a very low energy demand, resulting in economic savings and a reduction in environmental impact.
These constructions are globally designed to be more efficient, with special attention given to thermal insulation, envelope tightness, and the use of natural materials and high-performance systems.
Buildings with natural and renewable materials leave a very low carbon footprint on the environment.
The use of sustainably produced materials that allow for recycling and/or reuse reduces construction waste during the building process and at the end of the building’s useful life.
COST AND TIME CONTROL
The lightweight structure allows for a reduction in foundation sizing and helps minimize wood waste. These two aspects result in a cost reduction for the project.
It is worth noting that, given its faster construction compared to traditional methods, this system significantly reduces construction time.
HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
By controlling air quality, thermal comfort, and reducing exposure to harmful and contaminating materials, we enhance the health of those who inhabit an ecological home.
Different exterior and interior finishes are allowed. The versatility of the materials facilitates architectural design flexibility. The use of natural materials provides an attractive and welcoming appearance, as well as a sense of warmth and comfort for its occupants.
Wood is treated with a fire-resistant treatment to comply with the Technical Building Code (CTE). The exterior cladding used can be External Thermal Insulation Composite System (ETICS), ventilated facade, or dry cladding to ensure waterproofing and thermal insulation of the facades.
The countries in Northern Europe such as Sweden, Finland, Austria, Norway, Switzerland, or Germany are pioneers in the use of lightweight timber frame structures within the typology of ecological constructions. The use of laminated wood and other advanced techniques related to construction with natural materials has allowed them to evolve in low-energy-demand construction and passive architecture.
One key to this success is the structural strength that wood can currently provide. New technologies and treatments enable an increase in wood’s strength, meaning that wooden structures can be as durable as those made from more traditional materials.
Wood construction contributes to improving sustainability as it is a renewable natural material that requires less energy in its production compared to other commonly used building materials like cement or steel. Additionally, carbon dioxide emissions during wood production are low, and wood is easily recyclable and reusable, promoting waste reduction and environmental impact mitigation.
Also noteworthy is the promotion of sustainable forest management and the promotion of the bioeconomy that accompanies the use of wood in construction. Proper management can ensure the sustainable exploitation of forest areas, contributing to the maintenance of resources in the long term and generating economic opportunities for local communities.
Moreover, there are many other advantages to using wood in construction, such as speed and ease of assembly, implying cost reduction and a potentially negative impact on the environment. Additionally, the natural touch and visually pleasing qualities of wood create a sense of warmth and comfort, which can have a positive impact on the quality of life for occupants.
Along with lightweight wood framing, natural thermal insulation becomes a key element in enhancing efficiency and sustainability in construction.
Insulation is responsible for maintaining a stable and pleasant indoor temperature for building occupants.
When thermal insulations are of natural origin, such as rock wool, cellulose, or wood fiber, they provide a healthier and more comfortable indoor environment. In this way, the synergy of the wood structure with natural thermal insulation provides evident advantages in terms of energy efficiency and environmental control, actively contributing to the reduction of environmental impact and the creation of healthier and more sustainable indoor spaces.
These are the advantages provided by natural thermal insulations:
Many natural materials have the ability to absorb and release water vapor, helping regulate indoor humidity. This prevents issues such as condensation and the formation of mold, which can negatively impact indoor air quality.
Natural materials allow walls to ‘breathe,’ meaning that air can circulate through them. This is important for the health of structures and can prevent issues like humidity and material degradation.
LOW THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY
Many natural materials have low thermal conductivity, meaning they are effective in insulating against the transmission of heat or cold between the interior and exterior of the building.
CARBON FOOTPRINT REDUCTION
One of the most prominent advantages of natural thermal insulations lies in their contribution to reducing the carbon footprint of construction materials. Compared to synthetic counterparts, these materials often have a lower ecological footprint. The production of natural insulations frequently involves fewer chemical processes and lower energy consumption, thus contributing to a more sustainable approach to construction.
These materials contribute to maintaining a more constant temperature inside buildings, offering protection against cold in winter and heat in summer. This ability to provide a more comfortable indoor environment not only improves the quality of life for inhabitants but also reduces reliance on other climate control systems, with the positive impact this has on energy consumption.
ABSENCE OF TOXIC SUBSTANCES
The use of natural thermal insulation materials also contributes to creating an indoor environment free of toxic substances. Unlike some synthetic materials that may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other harmful chemicals, natural materials generally do not contain toxins and allergens. This feature not only improves indoor air quality but also creates a healthier environment for building occupants.
We design and construct homes with passive criteria, using sustainable materials that reduce energy consumption and environmental impact. Drawing on construction experience from Northern Europe, this building system enhances the thermal and acoustic comfort of its residents.