Sustainable Materials With Both Eyes Open: Future Buildings, vehicles, products and equipment – made efficiently and made with less new material is a remarkable popular impartial well-written engineering book that addresses sustainable production of cement, plastic, paper, aluminum and
steel and their long-term impacts on the environment. The authors provide a comprehensive background regarding the uses of said materials. This
information, presented in a manner that is easily accessible for those new to the topics, is paired with graphics and case studies that should be
intriguing for readers already well versed in construction or manufacturing with these components. With 56% of annual industrial global carbon dioxide
emissions arising from the production of cement, plastic, paper, aluminum and steel, if we are going to mitigate climate change, we need to actively
improve efficient use of these five resources.
For example, each person on Earth uses roughly 440 lbs. of steel annually with much of this used in the built environment as buildings (42%) and
infrastructure (14%). What is remarkable is if that we wish to mitigate climate change by 2050, we will need to decrease per capita steel use at
current production emission levels 75% to 25% of current per capita totals.
The eight authors propose that to achieve significant emission reductions for these five resources by 2050 so as to meet a 2°C climate change
stabilization target we should promote:
- Using less material by design
- Yield improvement
- Delaying product end-of-life
- Re-using metal without melting
- Reducing final demand for services
For example, applying sustainable, standardized design for these resources would allow components to be easily replaced. Refrigerator compressors could
be replaced instead of replacing the complete fridge. Standardized concrete modular construction of buildings would enable future building retrofits to
use less cement. Mandating that all paper coating enable recycling as opposed to prohibit paper recycling would decrease emissions and natural resource
used in paper recycling. Develop standardized, biodegradable components to plastics would allow for easier plastic manufacturing. Promoting a single
aluminum alloy used in beverage can would decrease aluminum recycling smelting emissions by close to 200%. And so and so on.
To fully achieve 2°C climate change stabilization target outcomes means we must understand and quantify the embedded emissions associated with the use
of these five prime materials in a manner that architects, urban planners, manufacturing engineers and the general public can decrease their use of
these products and their associated emissions significantly. “Sustainable Materials With Both Eyes Open” is an excellent resource for attempting to
understand the incredibly complex and interdependent nature of modern business, construction, and material usage and the challenges faced to implement
UIT Cambridge Ltd. has put together a great website for the book, with free, downloadable text, and supplementary materials so that we can more fully understand the actions today we can take within our organizations and as individuals to decrease our use of these five materials: steel, aluminum, plastic, paper, and cement.
How to order:
Paperback: 384 Pages
Publisher: UIT Cambridge Ltd.
Authors: Julian M. Allwood and Jonathan M. Cullen with Mark A. Carruth, Daniel R. Cooper, Martin McBrien, Rachel L. Milford, Muiris C. Moynihan, and
Alexandra CH Patel
Gabriel Thoumi, CFA is a frequent contributor to Mongabay.com. Tom Cox, LEEP AP is a leader in sustainable architecture and landscape architecture.
(01/04/2012) It may appear unintuitive that special toilets could benefit hippos and other wetland species, but the Center for Rural Empowerment and the Environment (CREE) has proven the unique benefits of new toilets in the Dunga Wetlands on Lake Victoria’s Kenyan side. By building ecologically-sanitary (eco-san) toilets, CREE has managed to alleviate some of the conflict that has cropped up between hippos and humans for space.
(10/31/2011) Perhaps the most disconcerting thing about Halloween this year is not the ghouls and goblins taking to the streets, but a baby born somewhere in the world. It’s not the baby’s or the parent’s fault, of course, but this child will become a part of an artificial, but still important, milestone: according to the UN, the Earth’s seventh billionth person will be born today. That’s seven billion people who require, in the very least, freshwater, food, shelter, medicine, and education. In some parts of the world, they will also have a car, an iPod, a suburban house and yard, pets, computers, a lawn-mower, a microwave, and perhaps a swimming pool. Though rarely addressed directly in policy (and more often than not avoided in polite conversations), the issue of overpopulation is central to environmentally sustainability and human welfare.
(09/19/2011) Paul Donovan and Julie Hudson, CFA argue in From Red to Green? How the Financial Credit Crunch Could Bankrupt the Environment that twin credit crunches – both environment and financial – have been underway for some time. With chapters on food, water, energy, infrastructure, housing, consumer durables, health, education, work and leisure accompanied by a thorough economic analysis regarding both credit and environmental debts driving supply and demand of these goods and services, the authors discuss at length how global economics may be impacted in an environmentally constrained future.