Epstein Joslin Architects

SUSTAINABILITY: User-Responsible Materials

Indoor Air Quality

Many building materials emit harmful vapors for many years after installation. Low-VOC paints and carpets and low- or no-formaldehyde insulation and wood veneers are some of the products that can improve indoor air quality and reduce pollution during the manufacturing and disposal of the product.

Reduce Raw Materials Use and Reduce Embodied Energy

Embodied energy is the non-renewable energy used in the production and distribution of a product or material. Presently the embodied energy of building materials contributes anywhere from 15 to 20% of the energy used by a building over a 50 year period (source: architecture2030.org).

Some ways to reduce raw materials use and embodied energy:

  • use recycled and renewable materials
  • reduce building envelope size
  • source materials locally to limit transportation needs
  • use materials with 100-year lifespan or recyclable/reusable materials
  • use materials manufactured with less and renewable energy, less water, and less waste

In the U.S., building construction and operation account for 30% of raw materials use and 30% of waste output (U.S. Dept. of Energy).

80 Trowbridge Street Cambridge, MA 02138 telephone: 617-868-1766 fax: 617-661-1148