What does eco-build mean? What do eco-build architects do that is different? Is Eco-build a style, like modernism or gothic?
Ivan Jordan’s architectural practice takes the view that eco-building is about an informed, careful approach to design and construction that seeks to minimise carbon emissions created through construction and use of the house, while, we believe, also seeking to minimise the nasties that are not readily carbon-tariffed.
Consider this: eco-build architects can argue that timber built windows are carbon neutral in their framing: for every tree that is sacrificed to a window, we can plant enough new trees to sequester the carbon back out of the atmosphere. Simple. And it looks eco. But what happens when the window needs repainting or treatment – what is the carbon cost of that? What are the volatile compounds that released by the treating agents? What about of the timber window warps and does not seal draughts effectively, because a future occupant has not maintained it?
These are the sort of long-term issues that eco-build architects should be considering for every aspect of every project they undertake. It simply isn’t enough to give buildings the “eco look”.
To return to the window question, Ivan Jordan architect generally prefers to use aluminium, ensuring that its recycled content is as close to 100% as possible. That means very little energy was used in its manufacture, and the window will last indefinitely with no maintenance required (double glazed units failure notwithstanding!). Perhaps best of all, it can be any colour you like, and it will still be green.