The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products

Research

The aim of the ASBP is not to become a research provider. Rather we seek to identify, oversee delivery, and communicate key research which is targeted at expanding the use of demonstrably sustainable building products. This work will be entirely independent, rigorous and transparent.

The ASBP has already overseen the delivery of, soon to be published research aimed at quantifying the contribution of construction timber in creating a carbon sink. Continuing our work with research delivery partners (academic institutes, industry research centres, consultancies) the ASBP has identified other key research priorities:

  • Undertake a state of current knowledge review of the sustainability impacts of building products from resource extraction, production and use, to end of life, and undertake a gap analysis.

  • Develop an approach that will help to quantify the environmental, social and economic benefits of switching to more sustainable building products, as well as to identify effective interventions. Priorities include:

    • The carbon impact of building products, and the potential for significant carbon emission reduction through bio-derived and other low embodied energy sustainable building products.

    • The health impact of building products on contractors and building occupants.

    • Market research aimed at identifying appropriate intervention tools to overcome legislative and behavioural barriers to change.


Current and Recent Research Projects

The RE-Fab Project

We began the RE-Fab project in 2013 as part of a TSB funded feasibility study. The “RE-Fab House”™ Project was a groundbreaking construction project which explored, developed and demonstrated new forms of construction allowing improved construction efficiencies, adaptation of buildings in use and the deconstruction and re-use of components at end of life.   

The feasibility study for the RE-Fab House Project was completed in 2013 in collaboration with Ecobond (Cymru) Ltd, Bangor University Bio-Composite Centre, C-Tech Innovation Ltd and Cullinan Studio. The feasibility study can be seen here in addition, a short animation can be seen here.

In 2014 the ASBP is continuing to progress the RE-Fab project. We are delighted to again be working with Ecobond Cymru (Graham Hilton & Geraint Williams), Jon Baker from ES Global - experts in demountable structures and Sir Robert McAlpine, to create a framework for the development of Flexible Life Buildings (FLBs), underpinned by a series of design, build and operation principles that will facilitate building design for de-construction and re-use (DfDR).

ASBP has convened a RE-Fab Technical Committee, which held its inaugural meeting on 18th September, 2014. The committee aims to:

  • Define the protocols for adaptable and demountable, permanent quality buildings
  • Identify and assess the products and components that deliver these buildings
  • Measure the social, environmental and sustainability benefits

We are carrying out research into alternative building components that could be used in a FLB and are liasing with product manufacturers to develop RE-Fab compatible products.

The ASBP will be formally launching RE-Fab at Resource, 3-5th March, 2015, where the ASBP and its RE-Fab partners have been asked to design and build a demountable stage.

 

Sequestered Carbon in Construction Products

The ASBP have been continuing their pioneering work on sequestered carbon in construction products. Research commissioned by the ASBP demonstrates that carbon locked up in natural products in buildings is a significant climate change mitigation opportunity – carbon capture and storage for free. 

The timber industry is now starting to recognise carbon sequestration as a significant opportunity. Following discussions on the research commissioned by the ASBP, significant developments have taken place such as the announcement of Hackneys “Wood First” planning presumption and the announcement of support for additional research.

The ASBP have published a research paper, 'Carbon Sequestration By Buildings'  which can be downloaded in full here.