Materials

Materials Red List The project team began vetting materials in the early phases of the project, carefully selecting materials to avoid the worst-in-class products and chemicals with the greatest impact to human and ecosystem health. This included the elimination of materials such as formaldehyde, halogenated flame-retardants, lead, mercury, phthalates and PVC/vinyl. We ask three  questions: where did the product come from, what is in the product, and where can it go at the end of its life?

Embodied Carbon Footprint Through the construction process, our project team tracked the total footprint of embodied carbon. Upon completion of construction, carbon credits were purchased to offset our use of embodied carbon.

Responsible Industry Sourcing 100% of the wood used for building Burh Becc is either certified by the Forestry Stewardship Counsel (FSC), or reclaimed or salvaged wood. The team successfully located Standard Lumber in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and General Hardwoods in Detroit, to deliver directly to Beacon Springs Farm all the needed FSC lumber. Detroit House Carpentry set up a woodshop onsite in the barn for fabricating, painting and finishing all doors and cabinetry. Additionally, the project team advocated for the creation and adoption of third-party certified standards and fair labor practices for sustainable resource extraction of stone and rock, metal, and other minerals that were used on the project.

Appropriate Sourcing Tracking In addition to avoiding toxic products, the materials selection team sourced materials as close to home as possible, generally within a 1,000-kilometer (621 mile) radius and all within the radius limits required by LBC Imperative 13. Tracking the location of manufacture was the easy part; determining the source locations for raw materials proved to be more challenging. Only the progressive and/or larger product manufacturers provided an accurate representation of both. The team incorporated similar techniques as used in the search for Red List compliant items. One important component of the materials research was to consider the location of manufacture and extraction while determining compliance with other Materials Petal Imperatives.

Conservation and Reuse  The house was designed to reduce to a minimum the waste products that need to be removed from the site, and to eliminate materials toxic to human or environmental health. Ninety-five percent of the by-products normally considered waste were integrated back into the site ecosystem, or are recycled, repurposed, or reused by the broader community. A 95% materials efficiency standard was also followed during the construction phase of Burh Becc, leaving only 5% or less for the local landfill.

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