ARKit’s philosophy is founded on the delivery of intelligent building solutions that minimise impact on the environment.
At ARKit our emphasis is on sustainable design and construction. This focus is inherent to our design process, our building materials and construction techniques.
Prefabrication offers the following environmental and quality advantages over standard site based construction:
- Our projects are individually designed to maximise passive heating and cooling principles and natural light
- We use sustainable timber framed construction. This uses less embodied energy than other common building materials and has superior insulation properties as compared to brick, concrete, aluminum and steel.
- The building envelope is designed to optimise thermal performance and targets a 50% reduction in annual energy consumption. Approximately 14% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from the heating and cooling of buildings (AGO 2005).
- Prefabrication reduces construction waste, Australia’s largest contributor to land fill.
- The environmental footprint of our buildings is minimised through light weight construction and associated reduced site impacts. This minimises loss of vegetation and top soil and avoids the use of portland cement and coastal sand.
- Our material selections consider on environmental impact such as recycled content, renewable resources, low/ no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Our building system includes various environmental features:
- Vented cavity wall construction to minimise thermal bridging and enhance thermal performance
- Inclusion of air tightness barriers to reduce infiltration losses and create an air-tight environment
- Floor and roof structure laminated veneer lumber (LVL) plantation timber, FSC certified
- Thermally broken Western Red Cedar window and door frames
- Double glazing
- High density recycled polyester insulation wall, floor and ceiling batts
- Engineered timber flooring
- High performance air tightness and moisture resistant wall and roof membranes
- Oriented strand board wall bracing, formaldehyde free (EO), PEFC certified
- Oriented strand boards structural flooring, no formaldehyde, FSC and PEFC certified
- Western Red Cedar FSC and PEFC certified external cladding or recycled blackbutt
- Non CCA treated external timbers
- Low energy fittings and appliances
- Low/ no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) traditional hardwax oils and interior paint
+ Timber Construction
Timber is the perfect natural building material. Wood is environmentally advantageous over other common residential building materials (1):
- It is a renewable resource and stores carbon dioxide
- It is more sustainable than other common building materials such as concrete and steel
- Manufacturing in wood generally requires less energy
- Waste material from the processing of wood can be reused in a variety of positive ways
All ARKit buildings use either plantation or sustainable managed and forested timbers.
Wood grows naturally and is renewable and costs less to produce than steel and concrete and has been a primary building material within Australia for the past 150+ years. Only 6% of Australia’s native forests are potentially available for timber harvesting. Timber is harvested from about 1% of these public native forests each year.
Low Embodied Energy
Embodied energy is the energy consumed during the production process, from acquisition of natural resources to product delivery. It is expressed in gigajoules per tonne (GJ/t), megajoules per MJ/m3 or megajoules per kilogram (MJ/kg). Embodied energy is a significant component of the life cycle impact of a building. The below table represent the fossil fuel energy during the manufacturing of common residential raw construction materials used in Australia.
The below table depicts estimates of the energy embodied in wall assemblies of different residential buildings, highlighting the initial construction and ongoing maintenance stages:
Recent research by the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting compared the amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated by the manufacture of timber products, with the amount of emissions generated by other common building materials. The results showed that by substituting timber in the construction of a typical family home, greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to up to 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide, could be saved.(2)
The below table highlights indicative Embodied Energy values for common building elements:
Carbon storage considers the amount of carbon released during the production process as compared to the amount stored in the material itself. Growing trees absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and can store carbon so effectively that about half the weight of dry wood is carbon. An average timber house frame stores around 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This carbon remains locked up for the life of the wood.
(1) Wood Solutions http://www.woodsolutions.com.au/Why-Wood/Environmental-Credentials/
(2) Wood Solutions http://www.woodsolutions.com.au/Articles/Why-Wood/Low-embodied-energy