How Wood & Wool are Intersecting in Sustainable Design

 

Globally, there are 2.4 trillion square feet of constructed environment, a number slated to double in the next 40 years. Instead of racing to build faster and cheaper, there is a growing demand to build better and more ecologically responsibly. What better material is there than two age-old renewable resources that are finding popular use as high-quality building materials: wood and wool.

Today on the Marketscale AEC Podcast, host Tyler Kern sits down with two company founders in this burgeoning renewable materials space: Andrew Legge, founder of Havelock Wool, and Andrew Linn, co-founder of BLD.US.

“There’s a very simple but important notion in building: materials matter,” said Legge. Havelock Wool is a Nevada-based insulation manufacturer which uses 100% sheep wool as its natural and high-performance home insulation.

Havelock Wool recently teamed with Linn’s BLD.US to build its ecologically-sustainable home office. The Washington, D.C.-based company creates durable and affordable buildings built mostly of renewable materials like wood and bamboo as alternatives to steel and concrete.

“Wood is a technology that’s being rediscovered,” said Linn.

As unlikely as wood and wool seem for durable building materials, Linn says these Mother Nature-developed materials are helping minimize the need for drywall and fiberglass insulation– two particularly ecologically-taxing materials to produce and install.

While high-quality, sustainable materials may cost more, the worldwide customer demand is more than a trend; it’s a movement, Linn said. Though it seems the needle moves more in commercial high-rise buildings, Linn said he hopes builders will start shifting the tide to sustainable materials in smaller buildings and single-family homes.

“For builders, it’s a differentiator,” he said. And in a market where builders are desperate to differentiate themselves from similar home builders, sustainable and ecologically-sound building materials could be the real change-maker.

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