Last Updated on April 18, 2023 by Admin
Sustainable construction is the system of creating a healthy environment that’s based on ecological principles. According to Professor Charles J. Kibert, sustainable construction focuses on six principles: “conserve, reuse, recycle/renew, protect nature, create non-toxic and high quality.”
Sustainable construction means building with renewable and recyclable resources and materials.
During construction projects, care must be taken to reduce waste and energy consumption where possible and protect the natural environment around the site.
What is Sustainable Construction?
“Sustainability” is a relevant topic that arises a hot debate, although there are not so many people who understand it thoroughly. For the companies, countries, and people who take it seriously, the concept includes everything related to environment preservation, organization’s development through efficient use of resources, continuous social progress, stable economic growth, and poverty eradication.
In the construction world, sustainable buildings have the ability to do a bigger contribution to the future of our planet. Buildings in developed countries are responsible for over 40% of the energy consumption, through raw materials’ production, operations, and maintenance.
Moreover, for the first time in the history of humanity, over half of the population lives in urban environments and it is clearly stated that sustainable constructions have become a vital need to ensure preservation in the long term, economic growth, and social sustainability.
As a matter of fact, we do not have a lot of time to complete the path towards this paradigm change. While urban populations all over the world are adding about a million people a week, there is an urgent need to set intelligent solutions to optimize sustainable development through bioclimatic architecture so that we can both live and work.
Building a sustainable future
In this area, construction aims to get to know current needs regarding housing, workplaces, and infrastructures in general, so that the quality of life of the generations to come is not put in danger. Economic and environmental efficiency elements, as well as social responsibility, are factors taken into account, contributing therefore to technical long-term innovation.
Defining sustainable construction
“Sustainability” is one of the most talked-about but least understood terms. Its core significance is often clouded by differing interpretations compounded by a tendency to treat the subject matter superficially, be it through “eco”, “green”, or “smart” rhetoric.
Yet, for those in the public and private sectors who do take the issue earnestly, sustainability embraces the environment and its long-term endurance as a matter of concern for all humanity. Just as intrinsic to sustainability are the critical development issues concerning the responsible use of resources within a circular economy and the fostering of social equity through the fair distribution of wealth.
The construction sector is capable of making a significant contribution to these objectives, particularly considering the vast amount of material and energy resources required to produce and maintain the built environment, not to mention the sum of emissions and waste generated throughout the entire use-cycle of physical structures.
Considering the global extent of urbanization today and taking into account the pace at which the planet is being further urbanized, it is even more imperative that whatever is built must perform sustainably on all registers – environmentally, economically, and socially.
Although there is little disagreement about the need for action, the debate continues as to whether it should proceed in small or larger steps: radical or incremental change – that is the question. But whatever the answer (either systemic overhaul or tweaking the status quo), we do not have the luxury of time to decide how to act.
The goals of sustainable construction are to reduce the industry’s impact on the environment. Sustainable construction methods include:
Using renewable and recyclable resources;
Reducing energy consumption and waste;
Creating a healthy, environmentally-friendly environment;
Protecting the natural environment.
How does Construction Promote Sustainability?
1. Use enough insulation – most buildings are built with too little
2. Design in airtightness – build tight ventilate right is the mantra
3. Use the buildings thermal mass to best effect
4. Make the best use of natural light
5. Choose green and sustainable materials
6. Structural systems – choose your system early in the design process
7. Deploy renewable technologies only after your shell design is complete
Among the most popular technologies are solar photovoltaic panels, solar thermal panels, biomass boilers, and ground-source or air-source heat pumps. Other renewable options include off-grid sewage treatment and rainwater harvesting. Find out more here
These 7 basic principles when combined with the methodology illustrated below should ensure that performance, quality, and comfort are all delivered on any sustainable build.
Why is sustainable construction important?
From energy usage to emissions, the construction industry has a huge impact on the environment.
Aside from the potential for building over wild habitats, the construction industry’s energy use is high. The heavy machinery used in construction still leans heavily on fossil fuels, and even inefficient electricity use can result in the unnecessary burning of fossil fuels further down the energy supply line. In fact, the construction industry accounts for an incredible 36% of worldwide energy usage, and 40% of CO2 emissions.
The fabrication and shipping of materials can have a great impact on carbon emissions. Mining for raw materials can result in the pollution of local water tables. The manufacture of concrete has resulted in over 2.8bn tonnes of CO2, a figure which is only going to keep increasing as 4bn tonnes of concrete is poured every year.
Construction can also result in hazardous waste, and the improper disposal of such waste can result in pollution that affects not just the environment, but also the health of people living in that area.
Benefits of Sustainable construction
Sustainable construction is attracting more attention lately, but many don’t understand its full potential. Sustainable construction isn’t just about the creation of a building that has a low environmental impact; it is a new approach in the building sector that improves the way people live and build.
As the benefits will become more apparent during the next years, the advantages of green construction fall into three main categories:
1. Environmental benefits;
2. Financial benefits;
3. Social benefits.
This categorization describes the multi-aspect addition of sustainable building and is one of the first solid steps of construction to concentrate on the full building life cycle, combining utility with insightful resource management. The other benefits include but not limited to;
Better use of materials
Better quality of life
A new market is emerging
Room for experimentation