We are all interested in saving paper and minimizing the loss of our trees. There a lot of areas where it’s possible to minimize the use of paper, but there are some industries that would not be able to function without plenty of paper. Plotter paper, blueprint paper, bond paper rolls, and the ubiquitous 36 inch paper rolls are essential to the architectural engineer, for example.
How Do Architects Look at Paper?
Architects and engineers consider paper in terms of size and type, such as 36 inch paper rolls, but also in terms of tooth, brightness, quality, and type.
When an architect refers to “tooth” this is a description of how rough the surface is. The roughness of the surface will affect what kind of drawing materials can best be used on it.
The brightness of a piece of paper is a measurement of how much the paper reflects a specific wavelength of light. Brightness is typically measured on a scale from 0 to 100, with 100 being the brightest paper.
The quality of architectural paper refers to the rag content. The higher the rag content, the more the paper is able to absorb and the greater its durability.
The type of paper, sometimes referred to as the character of the paper, can either refer to whether paper was made by hand or by machine, or to what fibers were used to make the paper. Common papermaking fibers include linen, flax, and cotton.
What Kind of Materials Does the Average Architect Use Daily?
Every architect will have his or her own preferred materials, and sometimes the choice of materials depends on precisely what type of architecture or engineering a particular person does. It will also matter whether they have a plotter or printer and so need vinyl paper roles or 36 inch paper rolls to fill these machines. But, in general, you can expect to see some things on nearly any architect’s desk. These would include roles of tracing paper, metric and engineering scales, tape measures and distance meters, calculators, reference manuals, calculators, drafting dots, and a vast assortment of pens and pencils of all sorts.
What is a Plotter?
A plotter is a special type of computer device that receives inputted instructions and uses a vector graphic printer to print out a hard copy of that design. Plotters are far more expensive, and also far more precise, then ordinary printers found in the typical office. They are used extensively by architects, but also by engineers who designed ships and cars, as well. The first plotter was invented in 1953, and most of them still use a pen to draw the inputted design. Today, there are 3D plotters that use knives to cut out a pattern based on instructions from a computer. Paper for the plotter comes in rolls labeled by the inch width, as in 36 inch paper rolls or 11 inch paper rolls.
How Many Architects Are There?
As of 2016, the Survey of Architectural Registration Boards reported that there were just over 109,700 architects in America. The state with the most architects of all is California, with 17,241. The second most common state for architects to live and work is New York, with 10,734.
How Much Paper Are Architects and Engineers Using?
All these architects, as well as engineers, are using an enormous number of 36 inch paper rolls and other types of paper in their plotters and in their personal drawings. The average architectural office uses 3500 ft.² of paper per month just in printing. Thankfully, Americans recycle more paper than they throw away every year. The paper industry in the United States had originally set a goal of 60% recovery rate for paper the year 2012, but they achieved that goal three years early. Though we use a lot of paper, we’re getting better and better at recycling it.
Architects and engineers are always going to need bulk engineering paper and other crucial types of paper for their work. The key to making this sustainable is to make sure that our recovery and recycling technology keeps up with the amazing advances in architectural and engineering technology.
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