From urban renewal to water conservation to alfresco elegance, the benefits of shade structures cover a lot of ground.
Cooling the Charles Hostler Student Center with sustainable strategies.
Paul Kephart’s vision for regenerative design: Living architecture that does many things at once.
Landscape architect Annette Wilkus offers unique insights on fabric opportunities in urban design.
Tensile membrane design recalls rich cultural history.
Using a PTFE fiberglass membrane, Birdair revolutionized this pavilion.
A Knoxville, Tenn., transit complex creates a focused center—complete with shade.
A recent conference on high rise structures revealed a creative shade solution.
Building energy research in Germany finds inspiration from polar bears.
The WarkaWater tower harvests water from Ethiopia's arid air.
Saving the rain with an innovative shade and water collecting structure at Arizona State University.
The language of shelter and sustainability frames a grammar school courtyard.
What does it take to be environmentally friendly in the world of fabric architecture? The answer is complex but not out of reach. Five areas, at a minimum, must be addressed: renewability, recycled content and recyclability, pollution, energy usage and durability.
-Renewability: A fabric’s content can be replaced biologically within an understood time frame. Fibers are made from plant-based resins rather than petrochemicals. Check with the supplier.
- Recycled content and recyclability: Fabrics are good that are produced from recycled polyester, polyethylene, cotton, wool, etc. At issue: Is more energy required to recycle than to produce non-recylable fabric?
- Pollution: Fabric dyes can be toxic. At issue: the heavy metal antimony is often used in fabric dyes. Check to see if there are alternatives with your supplier.
- Energy use: Like most everything, fabric production uses energy.
- Durability: Durability IS green. If a product seldom needs replacement, energy to produce it is minimized and the earth wins out with reduced landfills, among other outcomes. Place of origin is also important. Europe has strict green manufacturing laws. Check with the supplier and ask where the fabric is manufactured.