Discuss about the Environmental Sustainability In Construction.
Sustainable construction is the structure, the construction process, and occupancy progressions that are environmentally accountable. These resources must be efficient and effective throughout a structure’s life cycle. The life cycle highlights from the site to design to construction and operation, thereafter, the maintenance, renovation, and eventually, its demolition. The LEED Green Building rating system has a number of strategies such as sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, material and resources selection, and indoor environmental quality. The LEED system encourages and accelerates the global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. The initiative is a third-party certification program as well as a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. It gives the building owners and operators the tools they require to have an immediate and measurable impact on their building performance. The designers and engineers have adopted the LEED concept and intent. This is considered the best standard for suitable design globally. This section seeks to analyze some of the common design techniques that can be used to minimize negative impacts on the environment (Halliday, 2008). There are a few factors to consider in the construction of eco-friendly buildings such as the site location, development density, the means of transport, the site disturbance, as well as the storm water management. Some of the eco-friendly ways that this sustainable construction manages to have zero or low carbon as well as satisfy the ecological requirements is having a green rooftop or sidewall plants on the building (Abidin, 2010). Another key strategy is the water efficiency through the employment of wastewater technologies as discussed in the section below. Storm water management has a lot to do with the landscaping of the site as well as water wastage reduction methods. The government has been at the forefront in encouraging the sustainable construction by providing incentives. There are tax breaks on the low/zero carbon design technologies. The government also provides rebates, grants and loans to innovators who ensure that they come up with greater innovations in this field. The embodied energy is used to tract the impact of the construction raw materials and processes to the environment. It is the total of all the energy consumed and emitted within the life cycle of a material. Sustainable building design should aim to provide a balanced solution, offering optimum working/living conditions, alongside reduced environmental impact, both now and in the future. Taking the complete building lifecycle into consideration, there are many factors involved, from the location of the building, its design, subsequent operation and maintenance, to the construction materials and practices used, and how any future changes of use are addressed (D. Mclean, IET, n.d.).
Selection of low carbon construction materials
The design strategies may comprise minimizing construction material consumption by recycling and reuse, employing more energy efficient operations, and the use of renewable energy (Ortiz, et al, 2009). The raw materials are usually extracted from the environment and sometimes that causes some land to be left bare and unproductive. There should be a way to ensure continuity such that if a tree is cut down for construction another five tree are planted to compensate and ensure that there are future raw materials for the next generation (John, et al, 2005). The embodied energy highlighted in the introduction is the energy involved in the acquisition of raw materials, manufacture of the finished product, transportation of the product to site, construction of a building, maintenance through the life of a building, and the demolition of a building. The sustainability necessitates controlling energy demand in addition to developing renewable or low carbon energy supplies. The built environment is the largest final energy consumer. Such strategies ensure environmental sensitivity hence providing places for people to live that are considerate of the environment. The structures emerge well designed and built featuring a quality built and natural environment. It is well connected with good transport services and communication linking people to jobs, schools, health and other services.
Innovative construction process
There are several ways one can conserve the environment while making it interactive with the construction process. The landscaping of the site should consider the storm water management techniques used in hydrology. Water is a scarce resource that needs to be well managed. As earlier discussed, many designers are using green roof to have a feel of nature on their buildings. Others encourage residents to have plantation on their balconies and on the walls (Matthews, et al, 2012). The implementation of construction designs where there are natural ventilations in the structure as well as taking advantage of the natural light during the day. The moonlight on some nights can be trapped into the building and the ambience is improved. The designs should aim at providing minimum Indoor Air Quality performance as well as carbon monitoring sensors.
Management of operative energy consumption and consumption behavior
The construction management plan is carried out throughout construction and before occupancy. Very low emitting materials such as adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, and composite wood are used. The indoor chemical and pollutant source control as well as controllability of systems such as perimeter spaces and non-perimeter spaces (Ilha, et al, 2009). This has been efficiently achieved as the government has provided incentives towards the implementation of the techniques. The sustainable construction has been embraced globally as the standard. Some of the professions that will be paramount in the propulsion of the green construction are carpenters, heavy equipment operators, construction managers, electricians, HVAC, industrial truck drivers, insulation workers, iron and steel workers, metal fabricators, millwrights, roofers, and sheet metal workers. There are four key areas such as the sustainable consumption and production, climate change and energy, natural resources, and sustainable communities with reference to the built environment.
Choice of renewable energy systems
There are several renewable energy sources that can be used in construction sites. The use of timber in the construction can provide a good structure that is eco-friendly. The timber is a renewable resource and has a low embodied energy with good thermal properties as well as a high strength to weight ratio. Some of the resources that the construction architects and engineers can take advantage of is the day-lighting, the solar energy, the wind power or energy, and the natural ventilation. The waste from the toilets can be used to make biogas energy which can be used for cooking or heating homes during the winter season. One should implement the renewable energy resource that is available at the site location. The solar energy is universal but to implement wind energy one requires to be in a windy region (Kukudia, et al, 2004). These renewable energy sources help in the conservation of energy in the region. There are six energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies that aim at retrofitting buildings to increase energy efficiency, expanding mass transit and freight rail, constructing a smart electrical grid transmission system, utilization of wind power, solar power and advanced biofuels.
Recycle and reuse
An assessment was conducted on the household use of water in Ireland where it was observed that the key uses of water are to flush the toilet, take a shower, using a washing machine, watering the garden, and drinking water. There are ways to manage the storm water and the waste water for reuse (Ugwu, 2006). The structure can have a robust gutter system that collects water for other purposes such as watering the garden or cleaning the car. The residents can buy water efficient washing machines, install low flush toilets, and fit low flow taps and showerheads. An alternative method to the sewage system is the natural reed bed system. Unfortunately, to use this system one may require a large piece of land. The use of greywater to perform household or outdoor cleaning.
Sustainable construction is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. It enhances living, working and leisure environments for the individuals and the society at large. The energy consumption and waste generated are at a minimum over the life cycle and the structure needs to integrate with the natural environment and use renewable resources where possible. What the paper seeks to avoid is construction that causes permanent damage to the ecological features during extraction of raw materials and demolition. The strategy seeks to avoid causing unnecessary waste of energy, water or materials due to short life, poor design, inefficiency or low standard construction techniques. In a nutshell, the sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.
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