December 7, 2020
At Novum Structures, we realise that our activities have the potential to impact the economic, environmental, and social well-being of the communities in which we operate. By recognising, addressing, and embracing these issues as a fundamental part of maintaining a sustainable business model, Novum is committed to working not just for today, but for the sake of future generations.
Working alongside both general contractors and architects alike, Novum Structures is constantly evolving to ensure we are as environmentally aware as possible. We want you to know that we are committed to providing our first-class products and services in a sustainable way.
There are many considerations when looking at the construction industry and how we can cut down on our carbon emissions and promote a more sustainable future. Novum has looked into each stage of a building’s life cycle – including the design, materials, manufacturing, transportation, and construction of a project to see how and where some of our best efforts lie.
The design of a project is important; not only does it impact the aesthetics, but it also impacts how energy-efficient the final build is going to be. As a world-leader in ETFE, Novum is always keen to outline the benefits of the lightweight material when thinking of solutions to upcoming projects. As per ISO:14025, our membrane factory in Germany has an Environmental Product Declaration from 2017 onwards.
Whilst ETFE is not biodegradable, it is 100% recyclable. The properties of the material, encompassing its ability to remain unaffected by UV light, atmospheric pollution and adverse weathering, result in a long-life expectancy. EFTE is anticipated to withstand up to 100 years. Consequently, the need for ETFE to be recycled is minimised.
ETFE can absorb large amounts of transmitted infra-red light which can make it a great choice in improving the energy consumption of a building. Whilst we concede that the pillows must be inflated all the time, it is worth noting that a 10000m2 EFTE pillow structure takes the same amount of energy to keep inflated as a domestic lightbulb!
Originally, ETFE was commonly used in the horticulture industry as plant life and vegetation thrive under it. The high translucency and permeability of the material, which allows in up to 95% light and can allow more natural light than glass, lets in those all-important UV A rays which are essential to plant health as it helps them photosynthesise.
The manufacturing process of ETFE is also environmentally friendly. As outlined in the EDP ‘foil waste which cannot be reused directly passes through a second stage on a regeneration machine before also being reprocessed into foil.’ No solvents are used in the water-based procedure of ETFE production. The anti-adhesive, smooth material also minimises the need for cleaning. Water is often able to clean away any dirt, but if not then a mild eco-friendly, PH-neutral detergent can be used. The properties of ETFE mean that it is naturally resistant to solvents and chemicals.
ETFE is an extremely lightweight material; due to this, the supporting structure can also be more lightweight. Fewer materials used in a final project result in fewer materials being fabricated and transported; thus, a reduced carbon footprint.
Regarding lightweight materials, Novum specifically encourages our lightweight nodal systems when the need for steel arises. This ensures that haulage is reduced, but also that the amount of packaging needed is drastically reduced.
Our steel fabrication facility in Turkey is strategically based near the port, ensuring that we can transport our steel across the sea easily. We consider all our deliveries, maximising storage and sequencing to minimise deliveries required. This is not only ecologically sound but also economically beneficial to both Novum and our clients.
At Novum, we work with glass, steel, ETFE, and glulam. Thus, a combination of systems is most commonly used in the design and build of our projects. ETFE is greatly complemented by glulam and timber frames. Many of our UK collaborations have used ETFE and glulam together, not only for the aesthetically pleasing and environmentally creative finish but for its reputation as a sustainable material. Much like ETFE, glulam can be reused or recycled, and the raw material is renewable. Glulam also boasts the lowest environmental impact for the greenhouse effect, acidification and eutrophication when compared to steel and concrete.
Novum believes that integrating sustainable development principles into our core business strategy helps us to create and add value to our business by enabling us to acquire appropriate contracts and operate efficiently while providing superior value to our customers.
For more information about our Sustainability Policy, please visit https://novumstructures.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Novum-Structures-Sustainability-Policy.pdf.