In With the Old and In With the New
Everyone can do their bit for sustainability - even in the ceiling business. It's just a matter of combining old and new to create something great for the years ahead.
Rest assured, this isn’t yet another take on sustainability – you’ll know the practices, processes and implications inside and out. You’ll know your BREEAM from your LEED, and you’ll have some idea of the role your ceilings can play in enhancing sustainability. Here, however, we’re serving as something of a refresher, looking over the big focuses for sustainability, and at the possibilities for recycling and reusing old materials and styles to create something entirely new – and entirely sustainable.
Minimising our environmental impact while optimising our use of Earth’s limited resources, resource efficiency involves doing more with less within a circular economy. More productivity, less waste. More creativity, fewer materials.
Ceiling design can play a big part in this, diverting materials from landfill and ensuring full, 100% recyclability within ceiling systems. This is already playing a key part in Knauf Ceiling Solutions. But more can always be done.
It’s more important than ever to see how sustainability goes beyond reusing and recycling materials and resources. It’s also about safeguarding quality of life. Wellbeing is one of the key categories of BREEAM certification, and ceilings can play a vital role in this through everything from aesthetics to light, sound and thermal performance – creating spaces that can sustain happiness as much as our environment.
So, how does this work in practice? One technique for ensuring resource efficiency, circular economy and wellbeing is that of integrating old ceiling structures with new styles to create unique and sustainable fusions of old and new. For example, an increasingly common approach to sustainably addressing the need for lighting is to create a ceiling to channel natural light through creative use of sun tunnels or ceiling portholes.
While green materials and options abound for modern construction, from metal to wood, recycling is the true test of a sustainable ceiling. And thankfully, ceilings are highly recyclable, with closed-loop processes taking them from manufacturer to building, and around again. And again…
Aside from Cradle to Cradle Certified® status, and zero waste to landfill targets, ceilings with high levels of recycled content have a range of other benefits. No landfill or skip costs, for example, plus plenty of support for diverting waste from landfill, as well as additional credits for LEED, BREEAM, DGNB and other accreditations.
However, the end benefit must be for the environment. It’s our mission to enhance the spaces where people live, work, learn, heal and play – but it’s ultimately the mission of everyone in construction to play their part in building a better world.