Mar 312 min read

6 Materials That can Help Architects Combat Climate Change!

written by

Team Kaarwan

Climate change is an inevitable process of nature. Humans have fueled this process rather rapidly by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas.

The construction industry is responsible for 39% of carbon emissions globally, of which 28% is from energy consumed by buildings, which is called Operational Energy and 11% is from construction materials, known as Embodied Energy.

Building materials have a heavy carbon footprint which impacts climate change. But with the right materials for cladding facades, architects can help decrease the amount of carbon emitted from structures, thus making them more sustainable.

Read through as we take a detailed look at 6 such cladding materials.

1. Brick façade cladding

  • Maintenance: use a trowel or a brush

  • Durability: fire resistant

  • Sustainability: 40.5 kg CO2eq./m2

  • Costing: Rs 60 to 110/ square foot  

Source: Archdaily

2. Timber façade cladding

  • Maintenance: use a brush

  • Durability: waterproof coating available

  • Sustainability: 11kg CO2 eq./m2

  • Costing: RS 250/square feet  

Source: Archello

3. Natural stone cladding

  • Maintenance: use a brush

  • Durability: fire resistant

  • Sustainability: 15.5kg CO2 eq./m2

  • Costing: Rs. 45/square foot  

Source: Architizer

4. Aluminium façade cladding

  • Maintenance: use a cloth with water

  • Durability: recyclable and non-flammable

  • Sustainability: 79kg CO2 eq./m2

  • Costing: Rs. 225/square feet  

Source: Architecture & Design 

5. Concrete façade cladding

  • Maintenance:  cloth and water

  • Durability: fire-resistant and highly durable

  • Sustainability: 86kg CO2 eq./m2

  • Costing: Rs. 450/square feet  

Source: Archello

6. Stainless steel cladding

  • Maintenance: use a dry cloth

  • Durability: fire and water resistant

  • Sustainability: 22kg CO2eq./m2

  • Costing: Rs 5550/ square feet  

Source: Architizer

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Q1: What is the impact of the construction industry on carbon emissions?

A1: The construction industry contributes to 39% of global carbon emissions, with 28% from energy consumed by buildings (Operational Energy) and 11% from construction materials (Embodied Energy).

Q2: How do cladding materials affect sustainability in construction?

A2: Cladding materials play a crucial role in the sustainability of construction projects by influencing the carbon footprint of buildings. Choosing the right cladding materials can help decrease carbon emissions and make structures more environmentally friendly.

Q3: What are some sustainable cladding materials for facades?

A3: Sustainable cladding materials for facades include brick, timber, natural stone, aluminium, concrete, and stainless steel, each with varying levels of carbon emissions and environmental impact.

Q4: How does the sustainability of cladding materials vary?

A4: The sustainability of cladding materials varies based on factors such as their carbon footprint per square meter (CO2eq./m2), durability, maintenance requirements, and cost.

Q5: Which cladding material has the lowest carbon footprint?

A5: Timber facade cladding has the lowest carbon footprint among the options listed, with 11kg CO2 eq./m2, making it a more environmentally friendly choice for sustainable construction projects.

Team Kaarwan

Team Kaarwan

Since graduating from IIT Roorkee, we've been on a mission to democratize education through affordable online and offline workshops and courses. These equip students with architecture industry-relevant skills, boosting their employability across the Indian subcontinent.