Locally sourced materials
It is important to us to build with locally sourced materials wherever possible. This helps us to reduce the embodied carbon of our buildings and supports local economies. We feel it somewhat undermines the whole point in creating energy efficient housing if you have created huge volumes of carbon emissions to do so.
Below is a short analysis of the material locality from our ‘Ty Twt’ build in Powys, Wales.
We have lots of clay, so are utilising that as much as possible. If this build were elsewhere in the country we would be choosing a different approach. We can’t just have a template for a ‘sustainable home’ that doesn’t factor in what local materials are available as transportation accounts for a huge amount of energy usage.
Our locally sourced materials
- Our straw comes from a farm less than 5 miles from the site. We were able to go to the farmer, check the size and density of the bales… and even request that they be made as tight as possible… which they did! (The even cranked it so hard the baler broke – once the part was replaced, fantastic dense bales were the result – The best I have ever used!).
- Most of the timber is from the local sawmill, using locally sourced timber which is roughsawn.
- Our gravel and sand is from a local pit.
- The sheep wool insulation is all from Welsh sheep.
- We are making clay plasters from clay dug on site.
- All of our lime comes from Ty Mawr Lime, 50 miles away.
These are our obvious success stories….
Not so local
We have not been able to source everything locally, our smartply for example, came from the Czech Republic. Approximately a 1000 mile trip with an estimated carbon cost of 0.44 Tons – Not great!
There have been other more subtle design choices that have allowed us to use more local materials. An example of this is how we have sheeted the roof. The conventional way is to use 18mm ply sheets, usually shipped across the country, if not Europe. We have opted to use larch planks from our local saw mill – It takes longer to build, but the environmental impact is far reduced.