with less is a key theme of resource efficiency. There are two principle approaches to
this. One is to predict the performance of a material or an assembly based on our
engineering knowledge of the characteristics of that product or assembly. This helps
ensure that a sufficient amount of the material, rather than an overly large amount, is
used in a building project. Often, focusing on improving the weakest part of an assembly
allows the other components to be scaled down. Considering an assembly as a whole often
allows performance advances while providing materials savings.
The other approach to doing more with less is to replace one material with another lighter one. This strategy requires careful consideration of the impacts of both materials, to make sure that one negative environmental impact isn't being avoided at the cost of a different, possibly worse impact.
Look for opportunities to reduce material use:
Consider not just individual materials, but also their assemblies. Can choosing a stronger material for one component result in reduced materials use for the assembly as a whole?
Would an engineered assembly present a stronger and less material-intensive option than individual components for a particular application?
Is the material being applied in the design based on its performance specifications, rather than as a one-for-one substitution for conventional (but not equal) materials?
At the same time, consider whether reduced material use will jeopardize the other resource efficient aspects of the building project:
Would this particular incidence of reduced material use impact the building's performance and longevity?
What is the client perception of reduced material use?
Does reducing one material necessitate the use of other, even less preferable materials?