Structural Engineers in Cumbria, England, U.K. JS Engineering Design Ltd.
Consulting Structural Engineers

Ecological Building

Tel: 01768 890261

The consideration of sustainable building and construction covers a wide range of topics. Energy demand and the energy efficiency of buildings is vitally important. But other considerations are important too. What materials we use, how we use them, and where they come from all need to be considered.
  Environmental considerations
  Material source

Where does the raw material come from?

How 'sustainable' is it?

Conversion to a useful product

What energy is used in taking the raw material and turning it into a building product?

Are there any environmental costs to by-products from the process?


How far is the product transported and at what environmental cost?

Answers to these questions can be difficult to find, but manufacturers and trade associations are a good place to start.

  Good practice
Good practice can be summarised by the following points:

Good design can reduce the quantity of material used by increasing its effectiveness.


Ecological building often concentrates on new buildings. Making good use of existing buildings can make environmental sense, using and enhancing what already exists.


Many building materials from demolished buildings can be simply re-used, particularly bricks, stone, steel beams, and timber joists. If you are U.K.-based, you may like to try SalvoMIE where you can buy and sell used, second-hand and un-utilised construction materials over the internet.




Other materials can be recycled e.g.broken masonry and concrete can be used as hardcore; building boards and artificial slates can be made from recycled materials.

If you are U.K.-based, try the Building Research Establishment's Smartwaste which provides details of firms involved in recycling and disposal of construction or demolition waste.

Designing ecologically
We strive to make the best use of our natural resources. Timber is the main renewable material that we can use for building structures. We are involved with projects that make extensive use of timber and engineered timber products such as glulaminated timber beams, plyweb beams and masonite beams. Careful design of timber construction is particularly important to prevent deterioration and decay.
Useful contacts:

Association for Environment Conscious Building, P.O. Box 32, Llandysul, SA44 5ZA. Tel: 0845 4569773.

Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9AZ. Tel: 01654 705950. Fax: 01654 702782.

UK government's sustainable construction section:



NetRegs,, environmental guidance for your business in Scotland or Northern Ireland on the regulations governing waste, energy and water use, as well as specific guidelines for the construction industry. If you are in England and Wales, go to the website.

JS Engineering Design Ltd., The Office, Mardale Rd., Penrith, Cumbria, U.K. CA11 9EH.
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