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Durable Buildings

Our ancestors once built for the ages. Their buildings were durable enough to last for centuries, and because they were lovable, they often did. Can we conceive of building that last for a millennium again? Durability is essential to sustainability. This should be considered so self-evident that it needs no explanation. Inexplicably, most so-called “sustainable” buildings today are still built of materials and in configurations that make it unlikely that they will even last a century. It cannot be sustained if it is not durable. Why should there be any confusion on this issue?
Because highly processed materials like aluminum require far more energy to create than less-processed materials like brick. Highly processed materials require more specialized production facilities, so they are likely to be created further from your building site, and hence must be shipped further. They are also less sustainable because when a component fails, if the system is no longer manufactured, then the entire system may have to be replaced. Use highly processed materials only in places where nothing processed less can do the job.

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Title Principles

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Strength vs. Durability

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Natural Use of Materials

Materials used as they were originally intended by our ancestors can last for centuries; this building of stone, brick & Roman concrete has been here for nearly 1,900 years. But the same materials used as thin veneers become fragile, lasting only a fraction of their natural life. And mass materials like concrete become fragile by the use of steel reinforcement, which rusts when the concrete gets wet and expands, spalling off the concrete and eventually turning it all to rubble, like the bridge in the Strength vs. Durability section.

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The Myth of Maintenance-Free

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Non-Standard Components

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Material Processing

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Title Conditions

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Condition

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Durable Building Tools

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Carbon vs. Time

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