The WISE display – explaining the choice of the different building materials used for the construction of WISE


Home » The WISE display – explaining the choice of the different building materials used for the construction of WISE

WISE is an evolution of all the buildings at CAT and this display shows the different building materials used for the construction of WISE and the reason for the choice of these materials.

Did you know that 50% of the UK’s carbon footprint comes from constructing, using and maintaining buildings?  We have monitored the energy used in construction from the energy it takes to extract raw materials right down to the fuel used by the builders getting to work. Now that the building is open, we are monitoring all the energy required to use and maintain it so we can look at ways to shrink the carbon footprint of buildings in the future.

Cement, for example, has very high embodied energy so we have used lime instead wherever possible. Most of the foundations use lime concrete (limecrete), and where standard concrete is needed for its strength, we’ve replaced 50% of the cement with ground upblast furnace slag, which is a by-product of the iron and steel industry. The building is also rendered with lime.

The main lecture theatre inside WISE is made in rammed earth. Earth wall provide good thermal mass, helping to even out high and low temperatures by absorbing and releasing heat as temperatures change. Earth has an extremely low embodied energy (i.e. the energy it has taken to make something) and is often produced as a quarry waste material.)

All the exterior walls are made of a hemp and lime mix. The lime based binder is mixed with the hemp fibres and water. This mix is then sprayed around the timber frame. Hemp and lime walls are breathable, air tight and provide excellent insulation without the need for standard insulation techniques.