The use of ecological materials
Today there is an increasing need to search for innovative solutions that balance the environment and ensure satisfactory energy and economic savings.
Green urban design deals with dressing the city and its spaces with a particular sensitivity for environmental sustainability, prefers eco-friendly materials, promotes the recycling of resources and aims at quality, durability and economic convenience.
By sustainable materials, we mean all those non-toxic substances, recyclable and produced through processes that use alternative energy. The mistake that was made in the past and in part, unfortunately still today, consists in considering the material by evaluating only the intrinsic cost and not the environmental one related to extraction, production, transport and future use. In fact, the processing phases of a product cause the consumption of large quantities of resources every year and produce a high pollution rate.
The winning approach is instead to consider the entire life cycle of materials assuming a second life made possible through reuse.
The materials will therefore be perfect:
- Local à that come from the territory in which it operates
- Free of pollutants and harmful components
- Coming from renewable resources with low exhaustibility and available in abundance
Sometimes materials from demolitions or on-site interventions are used; these are choices that guarantee significant economic savings but also favor the preservation of the identity of the place. In this way, thanks to new technologies, ancient materials can be reused that find new utility.
Of course, these good design practices must always take into account the performance capabilities of the material which must ensure practicality, resistance and aesthetics to the furniture components. In addition, the reduction of waste of excess material and the streamlining of production and transport processes, ensure a huge decrease in costs.
An example of intelligent recycling of the materials used in urban gardens is represented by the anti-trauma floors that are inserted in the play areas near slides and swings. Made with recycled rubber, they are resistant, non-slip and safe, as well as requiring low maintenance. In this specific case, often, even the play structures are produced with the use of recycled plastics that resist well to atmospheric agents and in case of vandalism require a simple washing. In addition, the treatments to which the recycled materials are subjected make the finished product suitable for users (children) as it is safe and non-toxic. Recycled plastics are perhaps the most used, among the recycled materials: starting from high quality waste that would otherwise have to be disposed of, regenerated and ready-to-use materials are obtained. Seats, tables, baskets, fences, have excellent resistance to bad weather, oils, saltiness, UV rays, as well as being ecological and having a low environmental impact.
It is therefore of fundamental importance that the designer is aware of the possibility of using and reusing industrial waste, local materials that are either in disuse or being disposed of.
In fact, as we have seen, it is a responsible choice since in addition to implying a reduction in construction costs, the environment and context in which we operate is respected without sacrificing functionality and aesthetics.
Recycled plastics used for sports fields and self-locking concrete flooring from recycled material