WIT Press

Renewable And Durable Building Materials


Free (open access)





Page Range

345 - 354




321 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


L. Brock


Present ecological circumstances call for severe and immediate action. The debates that raged in Copenhagen at the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference in 2009 spoke to the enormity of the problem as well as the complexity of the solutions. While many initiatives have begun to create public awareness and, in a few cases, have had a minor effect on decreasing our continuing consumption of natural resources, it is not nearly enough. The construction, occupation, and disposal of buildings should be a critical focus of any discussion on sustainability. This paper explores the efficacy of renewable building materials used in construction in Canada and the United States. The discussion centres on two examples, engineered wood products and earthen blocks. This paper assumes that the durability or long-life of the material in service is a key component to sustainability and that the construction of housing has a substantial role to play. The emphasis is on materials used in the building envelope or structure. Keywords: sustainability, renewable resources, durability, LEED®, engineered wood, adobe, pressed earth blocks. 1 Introduction University of British Columbia professor William Reese wrote about our \“massdelusion in consumer culture,” arguing, \“that most mainstream approaches to sustainability today – hybrid cars, green buildings, smart growth, the new urbanism, green consumerism – do not, in fact, address the fundamental problem. Instead, they attempt to reproduce the status quo by other means. Consistent with our prevailing cultural illusion, today’s global society essentially equates sustainability with maintaining growth through technological innovation and greater material and economic efficiency.” [1]


sustainability, renewable resources, durability, LEED®, engineered wood, adobe, pressed earth blocks