Responsibility And Sustainability At Life Space Cabins
Our cabins are designed to celebrate and complement the beauty of the natural world. That’s why we strive to operate Life Space Cabins as sustainably as possible. We believe in ‘doing our bit’. By making conscious choices on materials, processes and logistics we can help make an impact towards a better future for all.
As a relatively young and expanding company, Life Space Cabins is committed to leaving a positive legacy on the world. As we continue to grow, we aim to embed environmentally conscious and socially responsible working practices into all areas of our business. This focus is reflected in our three core company values of Responsibility, Quality and Fun.
Here are some of things we are doing so far:
Sourcing sustainable materials
All of our timber is responsibly sourced (locally sourced, FSC or PEFC certified, or marked where possible). We avoid using materials that have a larger carbon footprint in favour of alternative UK sources.
A longer term sustainable ambition we have fulfilled recently is to work directly with our landlord Flete Estate who has managed woodland and sells to local sawmills, such as Rattery Sawmill. Subsequently reducing the carbon footprint of our timber cladding to less than 20 miles.
Using recycled materials wherever possible
We are committed to the reuse of materials where they are fit for purpose and can either have a neutral or positive impact on the energy efficiency of our buildings. These include specifying ex-display Rationel windows and doors and the reuse of exterior materials such as corrugated cladding, as an attractive, sustainable architectural feature.
Using innovative foundations
For our cabin foundations, we generally use groundscrews instead of concrete, where possible. Cement is energy intensive to produce whereas ground screws are much less disruptive to the earth, allowing the site to be used for other purposes in the future if required.
Ground screws are suited to many locations, and don’t contribute towards a concrete legacy or threaten the root system of trees and shrubs. We particularly like that the ground screws at the end of the building’s life can simply be removed and recycled, allowing the land to be reclaimed immediately.
Designing for longevity and quality
It is proven that not only are sustainable, well-designed buildings more durable and strong, they are also healthier and more comfortable places to live and work in. We pride ourselves on brilliant, architectural design that is built to last. This, in itself, is better for the environment. Excellent, thoughtful design naturally leads to the use of carefully chosen, durable, sustainable materials. A design brief usually centres on a multi-functional use of the space and this is the cabin working to its best; for example as an office by day and an alfresco dining room by night.
Following recent investment in SOLIDWORKS software, this modelling computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering computer program will reduce waste, foresee problems with a design at an early stage and allow us to keep innovating what and how we design and build our spaces.
Furthermore this design software also enables us to put together sustainable construction methods in order to minimise raw material waste and create efficient modular or prefabricated structures to reduce the amount of time we are onsite and travelling, ultimately leading to a more carbon efficient, cleaner build and higher quality of finish.
Excelling in insulation
We always exceed requirements when it comes to the thermal efficiency of our cabin insulation. As standard, we aim to be market leaders in the levels of insulation we use in our spaces. It is easy to say ‘it is insulated’ but we are working to new house levels of insulation to ensure a practical and comfortable life for the users of the cabin, for years to come. This in turn means the cabin will be used more often and remain fit for purpose, long-term.
Streamlining supplier deliveries
Life Space Cabins aims to keep the number of suppliers we work with to a minimum as this allows for stronger relationships, less administration and fewer deliveries. Our goal is to continue to standardise our design and construction processes in order to streamline our ordering of materials. This means buying from fewer suppliers, in fewer deliveries. By agreeing on the specification of a cabin, well in advance, we can then place orders and receive fewer deliveries. This reduces the courier’s carbon consumption. Every small initiative helps.
Creating Responsible working practices
We have a sustainable travel policy and part of that encourages us to limit journeys to those considered essential to our core business activity.
Where possible, we advocate using alternatives to individual cars for employees travelling to and from work. This includes encouraging car share rotas between staff for journeys to work. All our staff live within a 12 mile radius of our studio and workshop HQ. We have introduced the Bike 2 Work scheme for our employees, enabling them to purchase a bike and to commute to work.
We are soon to invest in a 100% electric vehicle giving us access to greater carbon reductions through our essential travel and where possible we incentivise colleagues to switch to electric vehicles for commuting.
Marketing and Admin
Our website is hosted by Pixelfish who use 100% renewable energy to power their servers.
We offer an on-demand printing service so we don’t have unnecessary quantities of brochures or marketing material in stock. But where possible encourage our potential clients to find everything they need on our website.
We use a 100% paperless client invoicing system and encourage our suppliers to send digital bills only.
We have made a pledge as a team to try and reduce the amount of plastic consumed by the business. This is reflected in using pencils instead of pens; metal rainwater gutters instead of plastic ones and having our own cooking facilities and a kettle(!) to allow our team members to prepare food and drinks in the workshop and on site rather than buying packaged food and drink.
Client visits and site visits
We can carry out 95% of business online and via video calls. Where there is a need for a client to visit (to see, touch and experience a construction in progress) and us to carry out a site visit we keep these visits to minimum and make sure we get the most out of each meeting. It seems simple but combining a visit with others en-route means we are more efficient with our work and reduce costs and our carbon footprint.
Our Life Space family
We aim to work with people who are equally committed to striving for a better future for the planet. We don’t preach, merely guide to alternatives. We encourage and support our clients and our employees in using the most sustainable, economical and responsible ways of working. We view our environmental responsibilities as a team effort in which we continue to learn from each other. We also recognise that we don’t have all the answers. But we will continue to always be learning, improving and making incremental improvements to the way we do things.
As a small, growing business, we don’t claim to be completely perfect in everything that we do. But we are fully committed to finding new ways to reduce our impact on the environment; to put sustainable practices at the heart of our business and continually learn and improve.
Some initiatives we have in the pipeline include plans to install an electric charging point for company electric vehicles. We also intend to invest in Virtual Reality. This would allow us to fully specify a cabin and present it to the client for approval online, thus minimising the number of visits to our workshop.
We will continue to keep you updated on our sustainable initiatives and our responsible business practices as they evolve.