Sustainable Construction Processes
Sustainable Construction Processes
Introduction to sustainable construction
1.1 Why a book focused on sustainable construction?
This book explores the concepts and practicalities that lead to sustainable construction. Numerous volumes describe and advise the designer how to maximise the sustainability of buildings; this text supplements these by focusing on the construction and operational aspects of sustainable buildings, as well as some of the more fundamental design-related considerations. This is therefore not a text that will provide detailed designs of finished, green, eco-friendly, energy efficient, or net zero carbon buildings. However, this volume provides the reader with the underlying principles of how to build sustainably and then assesses many of the tools required for the task. From energy to materials and from procurement to operation, all aspects play their part in turning a theoretically sustainable building project into a reality.
Attention must be paid to the sustainability of constructing buildings at a considerably earlier stage than their construction or even design. The decisions that lead to the procurement of a building strongly influence the sustainability of the completed project. Does a client require a new building or could refurbishment of an existing building meet the salient objectives?
What a building is made of, its use of technology, the appropriateness of the building form and how the building's occupants can operate the building influence the sustainability of a project, both now and far into the future. This book guides the reader through the underpinning data and theories that have influenced the majority of building professionals, as well as their counterparts in local and national governments, to legislate and produce guidance to encourage sustainable building as the norm of construction.
1.2 Why construct sustainably?
'But the world cannot become a factory, nor a mine. No amount of ingenuity will ever make iron digestible by the million, nor substitute hydrogen for wine' John Ruskin (1862).
Many people view the requirements of governments, local authorities, companies, and clients to construct buildings and structures sustainably to be an optional extra, an additional burden on business, believing sustainable construction methods should only be adopted because of a need to comply with legislation or for financial reasons. For these people, sustainable construction is not felt to be an explicit part of the mainstream building industry. This to an extent is understandable; the underlying issues and the benefits of sustainable buildings and construction processes are often not clearly articulated. Often the value of constructing sustainably is accrued over time or is not easily measured (but is nevertheless tangible). Yet to the users, owners, and designers of buildings, the value of sustainable construction is high. There are analogies in other walks of life. It can be more effective to integrate healthy habits into daily routines that then become everyday, rather than artificially adding a compensatory regime to an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle. In this sense sustainable construction integrated as the norm is more desirable than seeing it as a set of added requirements. Good, reliable information that offers a believable basis for the promise of living X years longer, feeling better, and being able to do more might make enforcement/legislation less necessary. As with buildings, a construction industry that relies less on imported non-renewable energy and provides living, working, and other spaces that are comfortable, long-lasting, socially fit for purpose, and economical to run can have many immediate and longer-term benefits for us all. Through a clearer articulation of the benefits, identification of relevant tools, and analysis of possible solutions, this boo