Designers and engineers often specify metals for structural applications. The manufacture of metals requires the extraction of ore in one part of the world and extraction of fossil fuel or hydroelectric power in another. The use of fossil fuel generates a release of carbon into the atmosphere. In addition as the higher quality ore gets used up, lower quality material must be found which requires more energy to refine.
Wood is one of humanities first structural materials. As it has been superseded in turn in many applications by bronze, iron, steel, aluminium, plastic, composites and titanium. In each case the new material was promoted, often using partial arguments, unfair comparisons, exaggerated claims and plain untruths.
Of course the use of wood in itself does not lead to sustainability. Clear felling of ancient woodland or the pillage of rain forest timber does not represent a good alternative.
Trees have been coppice managed since the ice age and some are known to have produced wood for over a thousand years. The small sections can be harvested by hand from often inaccessible woodland. As Coppice wood grows in all parts of the Uk and Europe, structural solutions can be provided without excessive transportation which would use further fossil fuel, pollution and congestion. The short length of the supply chain means that the material is managed by BEAMZ from woodland to product so there is no doubt of it’s origin.
Other technology required such as the fibre reinforced joints are also based on natural sustainable materials such as hemp and flax fibres.
Consideration of social sustainability is paramount. BEAMZ aims to create high quality work opportunities for craftsmen, the kind which have been in decline in the UK economy in recent years.