The buildings above have just been completed and assessed using the Sustainable Building Assessment Tool (SBAT). On the surface, they may appear similar, and could even be the same building. There may also not be much difference in the functionality of the buildings, but there are very large differences in the sustainability impacts of the buildings.
One building has been constructed using imported components, while the other, is based on locally manufactured materials and components. Local content, or the use of local materials and products and materials can make a big difference in sustainability performance.
Buildings constructed of local materials and components create local jobs, small enterprises and manufacturing capacity. Local jobs pay for local schools, local health facilities and local production of food, improving health and education. Less transportation means less pollution and environmental damage. Locally available skills and materials support effective maintenance and repairs, increasing service life and reducing waste. Procurement of local materials and components create a diversified local economy that is more resilient to global economic shocks and exchange rate changes.
Local content, or localisation, in built environments can be supported through the use of the Sustainable Building Assessment Tool (SBAT) ‘Local Economy’ criteria. The Sustainable Building Materials Index (SBMI) can be used to support more sustainable and efficient local building material and component manufacturing processes.