The future of healthy materials in construction

Sustainable architecture is one of the fields with the greatest future prospects within the construction sector. The use of materials that respect the environment and the application of constructive solutions aimed at greater energy efficiency, is gaining ground little by little in architectural projects, and not only because developers, architects and builders are more aware, but also because the regulations begin to force to take into account these criteria in any project.

But we can go a step further. Respect for the environment must include us (the human being), who after all are also part of this medium and we are the end users of many of the constructions we carry out today. The immediate step together with the sustainable and efficient architecture is the respectful construction, not only with the environment, but also with its occupants, the people.

With the development of cities and construction techniques, a multitude of materials have appeared that facilitated the processes and streamlined the execution of the projects. Many of them have been used for years without taking into account if they were sustainable, but neither if they were harmful or beneficial to humans.

In the materials used today, many paints, coatings and additives, release into the air certain substances that have been proven, favor the appearance of diseases, many of them respiratory, such as asthma.

To date, there are more and more individuals and companies interested in the development and use of sustainable and healthy materials for people. These are those that do not generate harmful or polluting emissions, neither in the manufacturing process, nor in its use phase, nor for the environment, nor for the human being. Or, at least, those that are less harmful to others.

It is true that we already have at our disposal many materials that meet these requirements and which we have already discussed in previous post. Materials such as natural stone, baked clay, wood (from responsible felling), cork (a magnificent thermal-acoustic insulation), lime mortar, or polypropylene (for plumbing) are just some of the materials that meet these conditions. These materials, many of them totally natural or with a minimum previous treatment, help to improve the internal environment of our homes basically because they do not produce any kind of emissions or transformations harmful to the environment or to people.

But what happens if we try to combine these properties of healthy and sustainable materials with the technologies and construction systems available in the construction industry of 2018? The Osirys project, led by several Spanish companies, such as Tecnalia and Acciona, has been investigating in this regard for several years and have already obtained some results. Its objective is the creation of different types of panels that can be used in multiple parts of buildings, which will be sustainable and that at the same time will have properties that will improve the environment in which they are located, creating healthy environments and spaces for human beings . It is not that these materials are harmless for people, but that they contribute to improving the interior and exterior environment of buildings, that is, they affect us in a positive and healthy way.

The panels developed in the Osirys project are modular, multi-layered, lightweight and formed by biocomposites, many from wood. These systems will be usable both in the new construction and in the renovations and renovations and will improve the quality of the air and the environment in several ways:

  • Eliminate microorganisms from the indoor environment (neutralize VOCs).

  • Improve thermal-acoustic insulation (compared to traditional systems).

  • They control the permeability of the building (humidity control).

To achieve these objectives, the technologies and materials used to manufacture them are very innovative.

The facade panels are formed by a resistant core with pultruded structure from bio-composites to which several layers of thermo-acoustic insulation (formed by cork and bio-foam) are joined, the outermost layer is customize-able and is formed by resins Epoxy and wood fiber panels with 3D development, finally, the inner face, combines bio-surfaces with panels of light wood fibers treated with an active coating, which acts by eliminating the VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), thus improving the quality of the indoor air.

The multi-layer interior distribution system developed at Osiris is made up of lightweight panels of wood fiber, bio foam panels and cork panels forming something similar to a sandwich panel. These multi-layer panels greatly improve the acoustic properties of the partitions used today (drywall or brick), offer the same mechanical strength and include a halogen-free flame retardant treatment.

All these systems are currently being tested at the Tecnalia facilities in the Basque Country and will be incorporated into an apartment and part of the facade of a building developed by VArquitectos, which is already in the final stages of construction in San Sebastian.

From Arrevol Architects we bet on a quality architecture, close and trustworthy. This includes making available to our clients the incorporation in our projects of the latest technologies, solutions and materials to always guarantee their maximum welfare.

Fibo Development

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