Background to study
Sustainable construction refers to introduction and sustainability of development in the industry of construction. This ensures improved quality life among individuals now and in coming generations by using natural resources prudently, protecting and enhancing the environment. Sustainable development is basically a goal in which companies focus on and work towards. Sustainable development embodies three major factors:
Developing countries have their governments set up policies to help achieve sustainable development. This involves sustainable urbanization, which involves the cities working together towards a shared vision of the future as put down in a sustainable development plan (Hashemi, Cruickshank and Cheshmehzangi, 2015). It also involves putting in place investments on integrated management systems that facilitate channeling of sustainable private investments on infrastructure and other urban projects.
Developing countries however face challenges in implementing sustainable construction as compared to developed countries. In developing countries, there are problems on their scale, development priorities, and skills levels that are radically different from those of developed. Differences in the traditional and global perception between the two kinds of countries also affect the materialization of sustainable development and construction.
The main objectives of this study is to look into the differences in the implementation of sustainable development strategies between developed and developing counties and the problems facing implementation of sustainable constructions in developing countries. From this knowledge, recommendations on how developing countries can improve in the steps towards sustainable constructions can be drawn. In addition this study will look into the pros and cons associated with implementing sustainable development.
This Report tries to explain sustainable development as seen in both developed and developing country. For our case, we will look at India and Australia. The report focuses on why developed countries have an easier time achieving sustainable development as compared to developing countries. We will also look at counter activities that developing countries undertake to ensure the achieved sustainable development.
Sustainable development is often described as a balance of the three E’S (Economy, the environment and social equity). Sustainable development requires different approaches depending on whether it’s for a developed or developing country. The aim of sustainable construction is to achieve the present-day goals of housing and infrastructure whilst not compromising futures individuals meeting their wants. Sustainable development is however different depending on the type of country. In most cases developed countries play a major role in implementing and maintaining sustainable development. This however is not the case in developing countries.
Sustainable development in developed countries (case study)
Developed countries have a GDP (Gross development per capital) of over $12,000. These countries don’t really struggle with food shelter or clothes. People living in developed countries have jobs and thereby can be able to feed their families (Masthead, 1975). People living in developed countries have high living standard, thereby don’t really struggle with social problems. Under such conditions, it’s possible for people to struggle with issues such as: The environment, living more harmoniously with nature, promotion of an individual’s health, exercise more or eat vegetarian food, utilize renewable forms energies, how to stay away from polluting construction materials, reduced open spaces, congestion, noise and endangerment of wildlife.
Sustainable development approaches in developed countries is thereby mostly focused in environment pillar. Countries such Australia have sustainable development projects that are focused on the ecological goal of sustainable development. Some of the objectives on sustainable development goals in Australia are:
- To ensure Equity between individuals and coming generations
- Maintaining important ecological processes and life support systems.
- Safeguarding the welfare for future generations by enhancing individual and community welfare.
- Improve access to affordable, reliable and environmentally sound energy services
- Come up with other sources of energy aimed at the use of renewable energy.
- Developing cleaner, more efficient and affordable energy technologies.
Sustainable development in developing countries (Case study)
Developing countries refers to the country that have a GDP (Gross development per capital) of less than $12,000. These countries have a less developed industrial base and a low human development index. (Issue information, 2017) Some of the problems experienced in these nations include:
- Poor medical services
- High urban population of people looking for jobs
- Discrimination (this includes tribalism, nepotism and racism)
- Street families
- Low income earning
A closer look at these problems can give us an idea of what agendas of sustainable development are mostly considered in developing countries. Developing countries are more focused on environment and social equity goals of sustainable development.
India is a good example of a developing country (Report: Slow progress toward Sustainable Development Goals, 2017). It’s characterized by a huge population of people who are all looking to meet their need. India has embarked on Sustainable Development Goals that were set up by the UN (UNDP in India, 2017). This goals mainly focusses on root causes of poverty and development that works for all people. Some of the sustainable development Goals implemented in India include:
- No poverty
- Sustainable consumption and production
- No Hunger
- Sustainable towns and villages
- Biological organisms on land
- Aquatic life
- Clean water
- Reduced inequalities
- Industry innovation and infrastructure
- Good health
- Quality Education
- Partnership for the goals
- Affordable and clean energy
Sustainable Construction in Developing Countries
Sustainable urbanization is a move by cities in the vision of achieving sustainable construction as expressed in a sustainable development plan or Agenda 21(Sustainable-environment.org.uk, 2017). As part of the urbanization control, actions are undertaken that enhance the generalization and utilization of clean techniques and technologies for construction. Some of these actions include:
- Minimum production of non-recyclable waste and pollutants;
- Provision of quality and appropriate space for life required for human development.
- Reduced usage of non-renewable natural resources
- Limited use of renewable natural resources;
Sustainable construction processes involve a series of stages all the way from the selection of the raw materials to the construction of the selected materials and the completed building materials and to the design of the septic systems, garbage dumps, or street highways. Developing countries may be different (Sustainable-environment.org.uk, 2017). The have different climatic, economic and cultural conditions yet they have similar characteristics so long as sustainable development is concerned:
- The developing countries are lack infrastructure and other basic services
- Agricultural products and raw materials are the main source of income.
- Developing countries have high levels of inequity among themselves. This involves having some part of the country rich of resources whereas some other deprived of the same.
- Developing countries consumes far lesser resources than the developed countries yet the environmental degradation produced has a greater impact to the poor living in these countries.
- There is a strong unutilized grassroots ability for innovations in the use of building materials and settlement development.
Advantages of Sustainable construction in developing countries
Sustainable constructions and generally all constructions require a lot of resources and questions on the profitability margins as a result of constructions may arise (Murphy, 2010). Most of the constructions are geared towards infrastructure (roads, bridges, airports, railways). However with the recent popularity of real estate concepts, housing has also become an increasing area of focus for government and private sectors. Some of the advantages that result from sustainable construction includes;
Increased employment opportunities for many people who work in the construction sites. In Peru this has been a major contribution to solving the challenges of high unemployment rates (Ding, 2004). In developing countries this may lead to increased job opportunities and have a positive social and economic impart to the people living around.
Sustainable constructions lead to increased business trade and standards in a country. From the constructions of roads and other infrastructure that link counties and countries business ties are improved. More exports and imports therefore move effectively improving the trade and business of developing countries.
Sustainable constructions lead to less pollution of the environment. Pollution is one of the major problems following industrialization in developing countries. (Nanaimo, 2017). Through government policies that regulate the constructions of many buildings and factories, developing countries can control and prevent pollution therefore prevent problems associated with pollution like climate change and health implications.
Challenges facing sustainable construction in developing countries
From characteristics and strategies developed in implementing sustainable constructions, we draw major setbacks for sustainable construction in developing countries;
Lack of information on the sustainable construction can be a barrier to its implementation. Appropriate measures must be put in place to ensure that the right and useful information is availed (Un.org, 2017). This involves awareness programs for the public and special training programs for technicians and government officials. The training should be based on efficient cost-effective implementations of sustainable constructions.
2) Governance and Management
When the government fails to implement policies that push for sustainable construction, no sustainable development will be realized. If the government officials are corrupt, we will have poor rural housing all because a corrupt official compromised sustainable development for his own benefit.
3) Financing and Procurement
There is a need to come up with properly implemented means to procure and hand out government construction tenders. This will ensure that sustainable development is achieved since only contractors who meet the set guidelines will win the tenders.
4) Gender inequality
In most developing countries, women are still considered less important in the society. It’s important that the role of females in the society to be recognized. Women working at construction sites are discriminated and treated without care. Proper policies need to set out to allow for women to be treated equally. This will go a big way in ensuring that women working in the construction industry will realize the full potential (Un.org, 2017).
Many people in developing areas have fled their rural settlements for opportunities in the city. This has led to urban-decongestion which has resulted in the growth of improper settlement in the cities. Sustainable development with should involve decongesting the city. As people move back to rural settlements they will realize their value for land.
6) Needing a new model of development
Most of the developing countries have had to design and implement models set out by the already developed countries. This development model involves having large scale production and high consumption pattern. This further results in pollution of the environment and energy loss. Developing countries need to first strategize before implementing a model. The model must be sustainable before it’s implemented.
7) Sustainability in housing
Housing in developing countries is mainly constituted of houses that are overcrowded and are not quite environmental friendly. Not many people in developing countries who live up to the sustainable development goals so long as housing is concerned.
8) Innovation in building materials and methods
Sustainable construction can be of huge impact to environmental sustainability. This can be achieved by the reduction of the use of energy intensive materials. This calls for innovation and input of investment. Developing countries are not willing to go the extra mile of researching into other alternatives of construction which may hinder this.
9) Poverty and Poor Urban Investment
According to the World Bank, 70% of poor people live in the cities. This has been accompanied by an impoverishment of the population and environmental deterioration. Here we see that poverty levels leads to environmental deterioration which leads to the vulnerability of the poor. Improper temporary houses are constructed to meet poor peoples need for housing. This houses have a negative impact to the community and the global environment as a whole.
10) Lack of Urban and Construction Policy
The Ministry of Housing and construction doesn’t have policies put in place to ensure that sustainable construction is maintained across all levels of construction (Road, building and residential property). There are also no investments on such policies in other sectors such as mining, fishing and forestry. A good example of a developed country that have good policy on sustainable construction is Australia. The Green Building Council of Australia is an authority body on sustainable buildings and communities
11) Failure to manage growing demands for public services.
Developing countries have a hard time dealing with the ever-growing population. This is mostly characterized with a lot of people moving into the cities. Because the state cannot cope with the huge population settling in the cities, the population find their own means to solve their urgent need with respect to employment services and shelter.
12) Lack of interest by construction industries concerning the issue of sustainability
The construction industry in developing countries is reluctant to change its methods of construction systems and utilization of building materials. This company fear adjusting to sustainable construction changes due to the fear of taking risks and burden of extra costs.
Conceivable Reactions to the Difficulties and Requirements of Developing Countries.
Developing countries have in their way taken up initiatives to uphold sustainable construction. I studied Singapore’s Implementation of sustainable construction as a case study. Singapore implantation focusses on the utilization of materials that will not use more natural resources and often increase material reuse for either the same or different purposes. (Issue information, 2017). The two focus areas for Singapore include 1) Recycling and usage of sustainable materials 2) Optimizing usage of natural materials.
Some of the initiatives the Singapore Government have undertaken to uphold sustainable construction include:
Government leading in implementing sustainable construction
The sustainable construction steering group (SCSG) was formed by the government of Singapore to drive sustainable construction polies across the country. This committee strategizes the implementation of sustainable construction master plan.
Green procurement practices have been used for public sector initiatives. Government constructions have been designed to give the highest Green Building Ratings.
Ensuring sustainable construction protocols in the Private sector
In the private sector, it require a lot of persuasion to the private investors and engineers. In Singapore, however some good signs have been noted in private sectors who’ve gone out of their way to ensure they achieve sustainable construction.
The Goodwood Residence have embarked on a ‘zero waste initiative’ in order to have full recycling of wastes. Strategic and conservative demolition was done so that the waste could be recovered and still used by the manufacturer. Tampines Concourse held the distinction as being the first Asian-Pacific Carbon neural building. This resulted in offsetting 6750 tonnes of carbon dioxide and saving an estimate of1000 tonnes of graphite and sand.
Establishing Minimum Legal requirements
The Singapore government has required that all demolition contractors state the amount waste from demolition to be generated. This is to be done before the initiation of the demolition process and ensures strategic planning based on the recycled aggregates supply and demand.
BCA also aims to introduce some demolition protocol to be observed. This will ensure that in future, all demolition waste will be recycled. BCA also aims to ensure that the developers will have to recycle the demolition waste and construct the new building I the same site.
BCA is looking to legally change the approved document concerning building regulations. Its aim is to incorporate new provisions to aggregate production codes of cement and concrete allowing the use of low carbon cement. This will steer the industry towards more ecofriendly materials. BCA however is still promoting the use of low carbon cement with the aim of making it mandatory in the near future.
The Singapore government has also implemented the environmental sustainability code which has been successfully implemented for the design of green buildings.
Strategic profiling and raising awareness
The Government of Singapore has raised awareness on sustainable construction through conferences and exhibitions. Some of the past conferences held have been aimed at public outreach on sustainable construction (Strategicforum.org.uk, 2017). Some of these conferences include the inaugural conference on Recycling for sustainable construction and the BCA gallery.
The Singapore government has also publicized and hosted high-profile events in Singapore. Some of these events include ISWA/WMARS world congress which happened in November 2008, and the inaugural International Green building conference in October, 2009. In an aim to review promotional efforts in sustainable construction, BCA hosted an international panel of Experts (IPE).
Building Industry Capabilities
The Singapore government has recognized the need to build industries competences. This is to propagate that the industry can incorporate sustainable construction in their design. In 2007, a Fifty million dollar ‘Research Fund for the Built Environment’ (BCA 2010) was started to kick-start its inputs in sustainable construction.
The Singapore government recently invested a 15-million-dollar sustainable construction fund to improve the possibilities the industry to adopt sustainable construction practices.
BCA has also organized publications and seminars on sustainable construction technologies to share the vision, and it has also led industry delegations even in developed countries such as the UK.
Building Practices to Optimize the Delivery of Cost Effective Green Building Projects.
Green building refers to the act of building structures that are environmentally-friendly and resource efficient throughout a building process (Nanaimo, 2017). Emphasis is made on both the buildings and the process of building. The construction of the business is observed and rated throughout the processes of: Operation, construction, sitting, maintenance deconstruction, renovation, designing.
The US green building council provided the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED is a strategic rating program for the design and construction of a building that is used to examine the environmental implication of a building (Lehmann and Ingenhoven, 2009).
What does LEED do?
LEED offers a guide on building processes. It focuses on aspects:
- Building Design and construction
Under this, we can further classify it under more specific aspects: including Performance based design, Integrated Design approach, Green Codes and structures, Net zero energy buildings, Buildings anchored in sustainable communities (Ackrill and Kay, 2011).
This is an approach aimed at basing building design decisions on its anticipated performance. This is in terms of energy use, water use, co2 emissions and electricity consumption. Software tools like eQuest, Revit and visualDOE help constructors determine the performance of the buildings. More research is in place to have the building’s performance modelled way before the construction starts. This model will determine its design and operation efficiency.
- Integrated Design approach
This approach aims at enhancing the design of building from the design stages of building. This approach is however not in use mostly now but it’s speculated to stipulate design of buildings in future.
- Standards and green codes
These are standards set up that all buildings must conform to. The standards define specifics on design if green building is concerned. The standards are optional to follow but in future are deemed to be mandatory for all building contractors to follow in order to obtain a permit for construction. Some existing green standards include California Calgreen and ASHRAE 189.1.
This refers to building that have no energy consumption yearly. This initiative however has a long way to go if its implementation is concerned. Some buildings however exist that have met this condition. Movements like Department of Energy zero energy commercial building initiative and Consortium of zero energy buildings and architecture are still doing research on net zero energy building and are looking for less expensive implementations of this approach.
- Buildings anchored in sustainable construction
With the growing populations, there’s an increased strain on infrastructure in the cities. To curb this problem, we need to reconstruct our communities to be self-sustaining and mixed-use developments. Green building will only be a reality if they are constructed on sustainable communities.
- Building Technologies
This refers laying down technologies that can be followed in green building projects. This includes amongst others: Advanced energy sufficient systems, Renewable energy systems, and smart meters.
- Advanced Efficient systems
LEED discovery brought about a good growth in innovative technologies. In the future there will be growing need of cost effective and innovative solutions. This approach focuses on research for better energy systems that are also cost effective.
So long as energy systems are concerned, there is a gap that needs to be bridged in the areas of efficiency and the cost of this systems. There is therefore a need to invent better cost-effective and renewable energy systems that will help reduce environment pollution.
To curb energy usage more, people effort must be input in the process. Building energy efficient buildings is therefore not enough. People must be able to realize how much energy they use for them to monitor their usage. The production and usage of smart meters that track how much energy is used will encourage energy consumption among users.
LEED provides a sustainable framework for the construction processes. Subcategories include: Post occupancy Evaluation and Green Leases
This refers to an approach where the building way after design and construction and evaluated. The buildings are evaluated to check whether: they are performing as anticipated, function according to what the user expected and if the satisfy the needs of the occupants. This approach is not currently used in many cities but is expected to be a mandatory process soon. Post-occupancy evaluation is important in future decision-making process for the construction of other buildings.
Agreement for property made by the property owners and tenants have no clause that specifies green building practices. This makes it had for tenants to acknowledge green building practices. California Sustainability alliance is a good example of initiatives that try to define green leasing. The initiative focuses mostly on emissions reductions, minimization of waste, maintaining energy and water efficiency. Other initiatives like BOMA are helping out building owners that have put in place green building practices. BOMA helps building owners write green management practices into their lease agreements. More investments are however still being put into this initiate hoping that in future both the tenants and building owners will be rewarded for their good green practices.
Under this category, the finances involved in business are audited. LEED set some target on what amount of finances should be invested in buildings. Subcategories under business finances include: lifecycle costing, power purchase agreements.
As it’s stated, cheap is expensive. The total costs associated in putting a building in place will determine a lot so long as the future of the business is concerned. Summits and training are encouraging building owners to invest in green building. This may appear expensive as compared to other non-green building practices. There is a need to come up with better lifestyle costing tools that assist business owners in making better decisions on long term. This business tools will be used to finalize budgets of the construction process in the future.
Renewable energy systems are expensive to install and maintain. This has barred a lot of people from implementing projects such as photovoltaics. This has led to the practice of a new financing structure, power purchase agreement. This plan aims at preventing the market fluctuations for products. One agrees with the dealer of a one-off price (Buying, Installation and maintenance). This initiative makes these expensive green practices initiatives affordable.
- Building Policies
This involves setting up rules and regulation stipulating what should be done and standards to be met from the design of the building to the construction of the infrastructure. Some of the polies under LEED include: mandatory green building, performance data and green labeling of buildings, net metering and C02 emissions tax.
This initiative aims at reducing the levels of Co2 release. According to research, Co2 release has been a major cause for global warming. Manufacturing industries are emitting Co2 for their own gains forgetting about the global effect. The initiative is about taxing industries whenever they exceed a limit of co2 production. Industries will be able to trade their emissions with other industries. No one will want to incur the tax, so the initiative will go a long way in ensuring that co2 release is reduced as much as possible.
This move aims at pushing for the use of photovoltaic systems. This system check and regulate energy levels of building. The system track the use of electricity in both ways (building-grid and grid-building) more advanced systems allow the buildings to sell the excess power back to the grid. This initiative is still under development though.
This policy is aimed to making it mandatory to push to build green. Federal buildings are implementing this policy already. It’s compulsory for the all federal buildings to build green in some states. Some cities are pushing for building green by offering incentives to all building owners who are practicing green building. The goal is to have all buildings constructed at least meet some LEED certification levels.
- Green labeling of buildings
This is a move that avails an energy star rating program for buildings. This energy star rating will help buyers of property make informed decisions before purchasing the building. The move will help building owners not only practice green during construction but also after as part of the maintenance of building. The energy star will be renewed annually while checking for the energy performance of the buildings. This policy is already being used in London. The policy is however deemed to be a future requirement for all existing buildings to proof their energy level release performance.
Sustainable construction is as important to developing countries as it is to developed countries. As clearly shown in the report, the implementation of sustainable development in developing countries is quite different as compared to developed countries. Ethnic changes will drive the process of sustainable construction. This is because if we first change our lifestyle, we will easily go farther in implementing sustainable construction. An implementation that is not forced but from within everyone heart. Developing countries should however be patient while implementation sustainable construction as it will take quite some time to reach the levels of developed countries. Any effect on the environment will be a global issue. Developed countries should therefore help developing countries achieve sustainable development.
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