Vehicle tyres present a real issue in how they might be recycled given their durability and large number.
In architecture a number of notable projects have utilised recycled tyres and various organisations continue to explore their use, particularly those related to the ‘Earth-ship’ approach to low carbon design of buildings.
The use of recycled tyres sits well in an integrated approach to the sustainable design of buildings. This can include the efficient orientation of the building, it’s extent of glazing, the use of other recycled materials or those with a low embodied energy and the inclusion of energy generation technologies such as solar photovoltaic or solar thermal panels and resource management such as grey water recycling.
It is likely that if a client is considering the use of recycled tyres within the building then the measures noted above will also form part of the low energy approach to the design of the building.
Equally likely is the approach to using the building and its construction process as a sustainable teaching tool given the value of such projects as bench marks. This also relates to the nature of the building. A community focused project will clearly derive many benefits in teaching people about green technologies. Shape Architecture has found this approach particularly rewarding when working for the Hammersmith Community Gardens Association charity on the ‘Eco Shed’ projects.
The recycled tyre will form an enclosing wall and retaining wall function when it is filled with rammed earth.
Rammed Earth technology in this instance represents a relatively ‘low tech’ approach and as such lends itself well to a self build project.
The recycled tyre wall will also form a thermal mass within the building.
Once installed the inner face of the recycled tyre needs to be finished and this is typically done by stuffing things such as mud, tin cans and rocks into the widths between the tires. This is done until a flat surface is achieved.
In Sussex, the Brighton Earthship is a good example of the use of recycled tired in Building. This building by the Low Carbon trust was the first Earthship to be built in England. The project is a community centre and serves as a paragon of sustainable Earthship design in the South and the rest of the UK.