Sustainable Design Options for Tensile Structures: How to Reduce Your Environmental Impact


As the world becomes more focused on sustainability and energy efficiency, new construction projects are expected to adhere to environmental sustainability practices. With a growing number of aging buildings being updated using greener, more sustainable methods, it’s clear that incorporating these practices into construction projects not only benefits the environment but also provides cost savings for business owners. There are numerous ways to make your building more sustainable with tensile membrane structures, including reducing energy costs and construction waste and using LEED certified materials. Below, we’ll discuss how tensile membranes can reduce your environmental impact, enhance shade and energy use, and be a captivating sustainable structure.

Reduce Construction Waste

Figuring out how to add to existing buildings in a visually appealing way can be challenging, but tensile membrane structures can provide shade that is energy efficient while reducing construction waste and costs— and make the building more attractive. A tension facade is a simple way to update an outdated building’s exterior and bring it back to life with a whole new style and identity. This option has minimal environmental impact and is much more affordable than demolishing and rebuilding from scratch. Repurposing and working with existing materials to add a tensile structure to your property is both an eco-friendly and cost-effective choice. By using existing materials and light-weight fabric to make the tension structures, the waste at the end of construction will be substantially minimized compared to typical construction materials.

Shade and Energy Use

Tensioned membrane architecture, which includes tensile facades, roof systems, retractable shade structures, and free-standing forms, is an ideal solution for passive cooling. By shading a building, these tension structures block out UV rays and reduce energy consumption from air conditioning units. Some tension fabrics even bring in natural light, reducing the need for artificial lighting and thus reducing energy use.

Water Conservation and Green Materials

Tensile membrane structures can help with water control as they can provide shelter from rain but they can also divert rainwater from cascading down where patrons will walk. The water can be channeled into a draining system that’s collected for reuse for landscaping, reducing water use, and landscaping costs. Not only can tension structures conserve water, but the use of fewer raw materials can help maintain sustainability and lessen the impact on the environment. These structures can contribute to LEED certification in materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design. 

Contact Tensile Structure Systems

At Tensile Structure Systems, we specialize in creating structurally complex and challenging tensile membrane structures. We provide expertise and support for architects, landscape designers, general contractors, and property owners to develop their custom tensile membrane project ideas and construct iconic structures. Let us help you create a sustainable, energy-efficient, and visually stunning tensile membrane structure!