Sustainable Steel Buildings
Sustainable Steel Buildings
What does 'sustainable construction' mean? An overview
Sustainable construction is a relatively new subject with which many of those involved in planning and construction are not familiar. It has been covered in numerous technical papers, but few of them present specific measures for implementing sustainability in the building and construction industry. This publication aims to improve the information available to those working in the construction sector using examples and guidance on steel construction in particular. The background and basic principles of how to achieve sustainable construction are presented and dealt with in a clearly structured manner. This publication also aims to convey a comprehensive understanding of sustainability and identifies the opportunities and essentials that can result from sensible implementation of sustainable steel construction strategies. The latest developments in steel construction provide a means to measure the success of the building and construction industry.
Diana Fischer, Bernhard Hauke, Luis Braganca, Joana Andrade and Ricardo Mateus
The term 'sustainable' was first used in forestry to convey the idea that only as many trees could be felled in a given time period as were capable of growing again during the same period. A definition of the term 'sustainability' that is common today in the context of society can be found in the Brundtland report of the United Nations, which was published in 1987: 'Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs' . These needs can be of an ecological, economic or social nature. A development or action is only sustainable if a minimum level of satisfaction is achieved in all areas and can be maintained in the future.
In 1992, the Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro. It was an unprecedented event and attempted to establish sustainable development policies at a global scale. Among other documents, Agenda 21 was born during this conference . It sought to move the interpretation of the sustainable development concept from just environmental protection to improvement of life quality and well-being, generation equity, ethics and healthy conditions .
Twenty years later, a new summit took place in Rio - Rio +20 Conference. The two main themes discussed were (1) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (2) the institutional framework for sustainable development. Although still concerned with environmental and economic issues, this summit concluded that eradicating poverty is the greatest global challenge nowadays.
A shift in how sustainable development is seen is apparent. It started only as an environmental concern, and currently the social aspects of sustainability are highlighted. This shows the importance of going beyond environmental protection and considering also both the economic and social aspects. It implies that environmental protection is linked to maintaining and improving equity of the present and future generations, as follows: Sustainable development should be promoted by ' sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all, reducing inequalities, raising basic standards of living, fostering equitable social development and inclusion, and promoting integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems that supports, inter alia, economic, social and human development while facilitating ecosystem conservation, regeneration and restoration and resilience in the face of new and emerging challenges ' .
Thus, the sustainability concept is based on the interrelation of three fields: environment, society and economy. A sustainable model should stimulate and pursue agreement and equ