Danny Phelan, National Sales Manager at Panel Systems, looks at how building designers and architects are using innovative cladding materials, such as timber, to create modern and environmentally sustainable building designs.
“There have been great leaps forward made in green building techniques over the past decade and, as a result, we have seen building product manufacturers adapt to develop innovative and sustainable new products to meet demand.
In 2013, it was reported that around 28 per cent of architects, engineers, contractors, building owners and building consultants around the world were focusing construction work upon sustainable building design. The UK specifically has embraced the idea of sustainable construction, with UK developers expecting to complete at least 60 per cent of their construction projects using green materials by 2018. The top developments which plan to do this include:
· New low-rise residential (40%)
· Retrofits (44%)
· New institutional buildings (37%)
The increase in production of green building developments within the UK is leading to a rise in demand for construction materials that require much less energy to process, such as timber. The exterior of these buildings plays a major part in making them attractive whilst still achieving the energy efficiency ratings required, therefore the choice of cladding material is very important.
Materials like timber are now more popular than ever with building designers and architects and a growing number of timber clad buildings can be seen within our towns and cities. With naturally appealing tones and the ability to reduce the overall carbon footprint of any development, Timber is favoured in order to create aesthetically pleasing building designs that achieve a green status. Modern timber clad panels are regularly used on a range of construction projects and can be pre-fabricated to incorporate insulation which enhances the thermal properties of a building.
As a very strong and renewable source, timber is 100 per cent recyclable meaning that it can be re-used at the end of its life. Aside from timber’s desired sustainable properties, its visual appeal helps architects and building designers achieve a finish that can help a building to complement its surroundings.
This was one of the many reasons why timber clad panels were chosen for a recent new build project in Glasgow. The £15m Eastwood Health Centre project serves the Eastwood area of East Renfrewshire and houses five existing GP practices and community health and care services. For this project, we supplied over 140m2 of Aluminium insulated panels which were clad with Siberian Larch to the front face. The timber facing was also given a special fire retardant coating, for added safety. In order to meet the intricate shape requirements of the insulation and panel, the core was carefully fabricated using 3 and 5-axis CNC equipment, meeting the architect’s design aspiration’s and ensuring the panels could be easily installed on site.
The centre now sets the standard for affordable, quality and sustainable healthcare facilities across Scotland.
As the popularity of timber cladding increases, we continue to invest in our fabrication facilities to ensure we can meet market demand and provide architects and building designers with innovative cladding materials.”