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Low Environmental Impact Building with
Timber and Lime-Based Alternative Mass Composites

An opportunity in low environmental impact building is to provide floor & wall elements using environmentally benign constituents as innovative composites. Social, communal buildings & dwellings are targeted. Layered composites will be developed, having lime-based compression zones & processed timber in tension. Managed forest resources will be utilised.

Conventional Portland cement-based timber-concrete composites have a high energy content & a poor life cycle environmental audit. Lime-based materials have sustainable environmental advantages and further attractions for small rural community groups & associated Small and Medium Enterprises (SME's).

The EU has supported a scoping study by Gaia Architects to look at opportunities to : -

  • Adapt the design, manufacture & building principles of "non-benign" composites.

  • Perform life cycle audits & economic benefit comparisons.

  • Develop innovative, safe & clean, construction-codifiable building elements - Timber and Mass Composites (TMCs) using lime mortars & wood.

  • Satisfy social & communal building needs in remoter regions of EU.

    The main deliverable is a "Resource Guide for TMCs" directed to owners & operators of such buildings, plus their professional advisors.

The study follows from work on composites undertaken by Gaia Research and Gaia Architects during a European study into the use of Roundpole in Construction. The new project will be undertaken with Scottish, Finnish and Spanish Partners.

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