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The construction and maintenance of a home requires the consumption of a wide range of resources required for both the building fabric and interior fit out. These range from traditional materials such as timber, plasterboard and finishing products like paint to more high tech appliances such as solar photovoltaics, smart meters and efficient modern glazing with low 'u' values.
As an industry the homes sector needs to understand the range of materials which are available which can improve the sustainability of modern housing, be it improved energy efficiency, reduced environmental degradation or impacts to flora and fauna - such as the use of green roofs.
There is also a need to address this issue of embodied impacts in materials, consider lifecycle impacts, and explore the advantages of using materials with recycled or secondary content.
Many clients and contractors include responsible sourcing criteria in their tender documents and consequently there are a growing number of certified responsible sourcing schemes, from FSC for timber and timber derived products, through to the Nordic Swan label for wall panels or TFT standard for responsibly sourced stone.
Responsible sourcing provides a holistic approach to managing a product from the point at which a material is mined or harvested in its raw state, through manufacture and processing, use, re-use and recycling, until its final disposal.
Responsible sourcing encompasses social and economic dimensions. It also addresses vital ethical aspects such as stakeholder engagement, labour practices and the management of supply chains serving materials sectors upstream of the manufacturer.
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