The Materials Book

144 gases. Simply meeting growing demand for buildings and infrastructure requires that we drastically reduce the amount of material we consume. Even increased use of renewable materials such as wood can’t entirely solve the problems we face. In addition to minimizing the resources we use for construction, we must also make these resources available for later reuse. That means designing for disassembly, which can reduce the volume of new building materials that must be extracted while minimizing the amount of waste that can’t be recycled or reused. The changes needed to make construction sustainable are manifold and far-reaching. There are plenty of approaches, but society must be willing to implement them. We need a change in awareness, and we must create a legal framework that will allow it to happen. The market alone cannot and will not fix it. The market isn’t oriented toward any collective goal, so it lacks both morality and conscience. Society itself needs to know what it wants, and legislators must implement this will. At the same time, politicians must stop prescribing methods to be applied instead of objectives to be achieved. How architects and engineers meet the goals developed by society as a whole should be left to their innovative power. Experts in their fields must have the freedom to develop the best tools and methods to address the problems we face.

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