Dr. Lola Ben-Alon
Lola Ben-Alon studied earthen construction for her PhD at the Architecture, Engineering and Construction Management (AECM) Program at Carnegie Mellon University. She has earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Structural Engineering and Master’s Degree in Construction Management, both cum laude, from the faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. Parallel to her engineering background, she has also studied curatorship and exhibition design and has served as the curator and content developer of Israel’s National Science Museum.
Lola is passionate about creating academia and community collaborations, fostering creative inquiries, self-sufficiency, and social engagement in the production of living environments. Through sharing skills and knowledge that promote a healthy and affordable built environment, she hopes to catalyze healing and living in harmony with the Earth. Her main aim is to diversify the building industry and leadership in sustainable practices, using natural materials and getting her hands (and feet) as muddy as possible!The Environmental Urgency of Passive Structures Made From Natural Materials
Natural Building Materials and Passive Design Strategies
The vast majority of modern buildings are constructed from highly processed materials that are shown to be draining our global natural resources. One prominent solution to this problem is using natural building materials that offer an environmentally sustainable alternative because they are locally available, minimally processed, and waste-free. When implemented in a hybrid manner, natural materials offer excellent thermal and hygrothermal properties that result in passive colling and solar heating.
Despite their advantages, natural materials have not been comprehensively implemented for various reasons. First, their technical data is scattered, making it challenging to quantify their true performance. Second, people mistakenly perceive these materials as low-tech and poor in their performance. Lastly, building codes and standards do not comprehensively represent these materials.
To address these hurdles, the presented study integrates natural materials into mainstream construction using perception and performance-based assessment, including a cradle to grave Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The proposed paper contributes to the development of environmental and policy measures that could be used by policymakers by synthesizing technical and environmental data and by identifying means of improving the perception of natural building
The Most Ideas:
LCA, Passive design, Hybrid design, Natural building materials