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ClearSpan Fabric Structures: Sustainable, Environmentally Friendly Option

Thu December 17, 2020 - National Edition

Sustainability and environmental consciousness are more important now than ever, and every industry is trying their best to adapt to new, greener standards. While the industry as a whole has not been the most eco-friendly in the past, major changes are being made to make it more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Fabric buildings are not new by any means, but are being used more and more by businesses who want a more eco-friendly and energy-efficient structure. Compared to traditional buildings, fabric structures are far more environmentally conscious, according to ClearSpan.

ClearSpan fabric structures are more eco-friendly than traditional buildings for a number of reasons. The construction and installation process uses far less material and is inherently more environmentally friendly due to the fabric. Once constructed, ClearSpan fabric structures are extremely energy-efficient, and may even lower utility costs. Lastly, ClearSpan fabric structures are made from recyclable materials, so the building is sustainable, even after it has been taken down.

Construction and Installation

The construction process for fabric structures differs greatly from that of a traditional building. Little to no site preparation is required, thus using less material and labor. Lightweight materials reduce transportation and the associated energy costs, which helps to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction and decreases pollution. This is why constructing fabric structures are, from the very early stages, inherently more eco-friendly than more traditional options, like wood. Wood is heavier, takes more time and energy to construct and requires more site work.

Fabric structures can even be built on a variety of foundation options that limit damage to the environment, while traditional structures generally permanently alter the site they are built upon.

ClearSpan's Helical Anchors are a foundation option that help to make fabric structures more environmentally friendly. Helical Anchors are an innovative option that drill directly into the ground and require little to no site work, thus limiting damage to the site the building is constructed on. These anchors enable the building to be taken down or moved with minimal disturbance to the site and the environment, according to the company.

The clear span design that ClearSpan fabric structures are known for also makes construction more eco-friendly, as it uses less material than a traditional building due to its lack of interior support posts. Less material results in less pollution during their transportation, as well as a faster construction time. Speeding up the installation process not only reduces emissions, but also ensures customers can start using their new building as soon as possible.


ClearSpan fabric structures are known for their energy efficiency. Traditional buildings require supplemental lighting inside the structure to keep it lit, thus using a lot of energy and driving up utility costs. Fabric buildings, on the other hand, do not need supplemental lighting during the day, as the fabric cover allows natural light to filter into the structure. This drastically reduces the energy usage of the structure, and in turn, reduces utility costs. While at first it might seem like becoming a more energy efficient business would be costly, fabric buildings prove it can actually be economical.

ClearSpan's 12.5 oz. polyethylene fabric covers also are climate sensitive. This means the interior of the structure stays cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, keeping the building a comfortable temperature no matter the season. This feature also lowers energy consumption and utility costs by eliminating the need for heating and cooling systems to run unnecessarily.

The fabric cover also limits how much air escapes from the interior, which adds to its climate sensitivity. The structure is tightly sealed around the opening, keeping cold air out in the winter and hot air out in the summer. It also ensures a business's heating and cooling remains inside the structure, so all of their money is not — literally — going out the window. ClearSpan also is able to insulate its fabric structures, which is especially useful for businesses in colder climates.

Recyclable Materials

Fabric structures are incredibly durable, so they will last decades without needing to be replaced, according to ClearSpan.

Both ClearSpan's fabric covering options, 12.5 oz. polyethylene and Armor Shield, are strong and dependable. The 12.5 oz. cover has a rip-stop weave, which stops tears directly in their tracks and keeps them from spreading. The Armor Shield Cover has seven layers for added durability, and has been extensively tested to ensure it will last decades. The 12.5 oz. cover and Armor Shield Cover have 20- and 30-year warranties respectively.

In the event that a fabric structure is taken down, ClearSpan's 12.5 oz. polyethylene cover is 100 percent recyclable. This ensures that if the building is deconstructed, the cover will be recycled rather than thrown away. This limited waste of materials provides sustainability in the long run with a lower carbon footprint.

All in all, fabric structures are far more environmentally friendly and sustainable than a traditional building. From construction to use to demolition, these buildings are eco-friendly throughout their entire lifespan.

The eco-friendly nature of fabric structures can also save businesses money in the long run. Energy efficiency reduces utility costs and the carbon footprint, which makes it a win-win for any business that wants to save money and help the environment.

It is paramount for businesses to consider the environmental impact of their operation, especially now. A fabric structure is a minimal change that will make a huge impact, all while saving businesses money as they take care of the planet.

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