Use of Natural Resources
Most building materials have an adverse impact on the environment
However it is possible to lessen this by careful choice of the materials
Ensure any timber you use comes from a sustainable resource. Provided
the forests are protected and responsibly managed, timber is a renewable
resource which can be used again and again. Look for the Forest Stewardship
Council (FSC) certification and logo.
- Avoid all tropical hardwood unless it carries the FSC logo. Such
wood is often harvested from natural ancient forests and destruction
of these forests can lead to environmental degradation, including
loss of wildlife habitats and climate change.
- Remember bricks, slates, tiles, cement and aggregates all have
environmental implications in terms of quarrying, manufacturing and
transportation, so use reclaimed materials instead wherever possible.
Most builders merchants carry stocks of reclaimed second-hand materials.
Using products like these slows the rate of extraction of raw materials
and reduces the amount of waste going to landfill Not only that,
but reclaimed bricks and tiles are usually already weathered and
you can often get them to match your existing building. This could
be important in a conservation area.
- If you are demolishing a building or part of a building, remember
you may be able to use some of the materials again, or others could.
- PVC is widely used for products such as replacement doors and windows,
drainpipes and guttering. There are arguments for and against its
use and as the possible impacts of its production and disposal are
not yet known, no definitive advice can be offered. However, we believe
the use of PVC in the long term is unsustainable as the manufacturing
process is heavily dependent on petroleum based products.
- Buy local products whenever possible. Local products need less
transportation and therefore result in lower energy consumption.
- Avoid the use of peat in landscaping schemes as peat is often taken
from important wildlife sites. Other options are available and your
garden centre can offer advice.
- Be aware of what trees and shrubs you may be removing when building,
as some trees are protected. For information on protected trees contact
your district council's planning officers.
- If you are buying stone, for a rockery perhaps, make sure that
it has come from a quarry. Water-worn limestone should never be used.
- Avoid disturbing wildlife, especially birds during the breeding