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unit 1 Water cycle

The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on,
above and below the surface of the Earth. Since the water cycle is truly a "cycle," there is no beginning or
end. Water can change states among liquid, vapor, and ice at various places in the water cycle. Although
the balance of water on Earth remains fairly constant over time, individual water molecules can come and

The sun, which drives the water cycle, heats water in the oceans. Water evaporates as vapor into the air.
Ice and snow can sublimate directly into water vapor. Evapotranspiration is water transpired from plants
and evaporated from the soil. Rising air currents take the vapor up into the atmosphere where cooler
temperatures cause it to condense into clouds. Air currents move clouds around the globe, cloud particles
collide, grow, and fall out of the sky as precipitation. Some precipitation falls as snow and can accumulate
as ice caps and glaciers, which can store frozen water for thousands of years. Snowpacks can thaw and
melt, and the melted water flows over land as snowmelt. Most precipitation falls back into the oceans or
onto land, where the precipitation flows over the ground as surface runoff. A portion of runoff enters rivers
in valleys in the landscape, with streamflow moving water towards the oceans. Runoff and groundwater
are stored as freshwater in lakes. Not all runoff flows into rivers. Much of it soaks into the ground as
infiltration. Some water infiltrates deep into the ground and replenishes aquifers, which store huge
amounts of freshwater for long periods of time. Some infiltration stays close to the land surface and can
seep back into surface-water bodies (and the ocean) as groundwater discharge. Some groundwater finds
openings in the land surface and comes out as freshwater springs. Over time, the water returns to the
ocean, where our water cycle started.

Different Processes
Different Processes
Condensed water vapor that falls to the Earth's surface. Most precipitation occurs as rain,
but also includes snow, hail, fog drip, graupel, and sleet.[1] Approximately 505,000 km3
(121,000 cu mi) of water fall as precipitation each year, 398,000 km3 (95,000 cu mi) of it
over the oceans.[2]
Canopy interception
The precipitation that is intercepted by plant foliage and eventually evaporates back to
the atmosphere rather than falling to the ground.
The runoff produced by melting snow.
The variety of ways by which water moves across the land. This includes both surface
runoff and channel runoff. As it flows, the water may infiltrate into the ground, evaporate
into the air, become stored in lakes or reservoirs, or be extracted for agricultural or other
human uses.

The flow of water from the ground surface into the ground. Once infiltrated, the water
becomes soil moisture or groundwater.[3]
Subsurface Flow
The flow of water underground, in the vadose zone and aquifers. Subsurface water may
return to the surface (eg. as a spring or by being pumped) or eventually seep into the
oceans. Water returns to the land surface at lower elevation than where it infiltrated,
under the force of gravity or gravity induced pressures. Groundwater tends to move
slowly, and is replenished slowly, so it can remain in aquifers for thousands of years.
The transformation of water from liquid to gas phases as it moves from the ground or
bodies of water into the overlying atmosphere.[4] The source of energy for evaporation is
primarily solar radiation. Evaporation often implicitly includes transpiration from
plants, though together they are specifically referred to as evapotranspiration. Total
annual evapotranspiration amounts to approximately 505,000 km3 (121,000 cu mi) of
water, 434,000 km3 (104,000 cu mi) of which evaporates from the oceans.[2]
The state change directly from solid water (snow or ice) to water vapor.[5]
The movement of water — in solid, liquid, or vapor states — through the atmosphere.
Without advection, water that evaporated over the oceans could not precipitate over land.

The transformation of water vapor to liquid water droplets in the air, producing clouds
and fog.[7]
Average reservoir residence times[8]
Average residence time
The release of water vapor
from plants into the air.
3,200 years
Water vapor is a gas that
20 to 100 years
cannot be seen.
Seasonal snow cover
2 to 6 months
Soil moisture
1 to 2 months
Residence times
Groundwater: shallow
100 to 200 years
Human activities that alter the water
Groundwater: deep
10,000 years
cycle include:
Lakes (see lake retention time)
50 to 100 years
2 to 6 months
 agriculture
9 days
 industry

alteration of the chemical composition of the atmosphere

construction of dams

deforestation and afforestation

removal of groundwater from wells

water abstraction from rivers


[edit] Effects on climate
The water cycle is powered from solar energy. 86% of the global evaporation occurs from the
oceans, reducing their temperature by evaporative cooling. Without the cooling effect of
evaporation the greenhouse effect would lead to a much higher surface temperature of 67 °C
(153 °F), and a warmer planet.[12]

Effects on biogeochemical cycling
While the water cycle is itself a biogeochemical cycle,[13] flow of water over and beneath the
Earth is a key component of the cycling of other biogeochemicals. Runoff is responsible for
almost all of the transport of eroded sediment and phosphorus[14] from land to waterbodies. The
salinity of the oceans is derived from erosion and transport of dissolved salts from the land.
Cultural eutrophication of lakes is primarily due to phosphorus, applied in excess to agricultural
fields in fertilizers, and then transported overland and down rivers. Both runoff and groundwater
flow play significant roles in transporting nitrogen from the land to waterbodies.[15] The dead
zone at the outlet of the Mississippi River is a consequence of nitrates from fertilizer being
carried off agricultural fields and funnelled down the river system to the Gulf of Mexico. Runoff
also plays a part in the carbon cycle, again through the transport of eroded rock and soil

Urban ecosystems are the cities, towns, and urban strips constructed by
This is the growth in the urban population and the supporting built infrastructure has impacted on both
urban environments and also on areas which surround urban areas. These include semi or 'peri-urban'
environments that fringe cities as well as agricultural and natural landscapes.
Scientists are now developing ways to measure and understand the effects of urbananisation on human
and environmental health.
By considering urban areas as part of a broader ecological system, scientists can investigate how urban
landscapes function and how they affect other landscapes with which they interact. In this context, urban
environments are affected by their surrounding environment but also impact on that environment.
Knowing this may provide clues as to which alternative development options will lead to the best overall
environmental outcome.
CSE's urban ecosystem research is focused on:
* Understanding how cities work as ecological system
* Developing sustainable approaches to development of city fringe areas that reduce negative impact
on surrounding environments
* Developing approaches to urban design that provide for health and opportunity for citizens.

pointing out the irony that today. Such a program must be supported by stronger regulations. people began to move out of the city to the suburbs. Once land is developed it is gone.” We now find that people are moving outward even farther from these nodes. New. There are several anti-sprawl or “smart growth” movements currently gaining headway. Lastly. woodlands. This attitude is manifested by the “urban sprawl” that is prevalent in increasing patterns around our major cities. in Castillon 359).I V. Ecological Planning / Sustainable Design It seems appropriate to conclude by looking at the environmental implications of site planning. physically and legally. there was a discussion of the political mobilization of smart growth on the local. as America became more mobile as a result of the automobile. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS A. through highway expansion programs. and recreation. but equally the end product of a series of compounding factors. “God’s not making any new land these days” (qtd. There are several approaches to revitalization that provide financial incentives to homeowners and businesses to locate within the city through historic restoration or . making it easier for people to commute greater and greater distances. The outlying lands – agricultural lands. This not only was the cause of urban decline. actually facilitate the movement outward from the city. In a recent Time Magazine article. service. and recreational facilities closer to home. This creates an environment in which they are inclined to give preferential treatment to higher tax-producing land uses such as retail centers rather than residential uses. People are beginning to see that sprawl is not simply a result of population growth. “that vast area in which most Americans now live. woodlands. Until recently we seemed to treat land as a disposable commodity. Eventually these decentralized clusters of commercial and office buildings outgrew the old cities that they surrounded. Policies also need to be established that encourage urban in-fill. mixed land use development is channeled into designated “Growth Areas” within the ring. which is rapidly being devoured” (qtd. This phenomenon has resulted in what Joel Garreau has coined as “Edge Cities. As Mark Twain once said. as Vincent Scully describes it. There is a burgeoning awareness of the critical need to change the American attitude toward land. to be used and then discarded. people were able to commute greater and greater distances from their homes to their jobs in the city. and national levels. Essentially. sprawled between the metropolitan center. This phenomenon which has been widely reported on in recent years has resulted in. Vice President Gore is even being touted as the anti-sprawl candidate of 2000 (Lacayo 45). state. low-density residential zones also discourage new development within the urban areas where land values are higher. “the suburb-to-suburb commute represents 40% of total commute trips while suburbto-city comprises 20%” (Katz xii). local land use controls actually encourage new development on the fringes by making it easier and less expensive to build beyond existing development. we now seem to be realizing the folly of this spiraling uncontrolled growth. and the open countryside. in Katz 221). federal funds. which is emptying out. compact. preserving them for agriculture. Peter Calthorpe discusses this situation. Some communities have developed growth management programs that literally establish a ring around the city. but it has placed an increasing demand on the conversion of rural agricultural lands to housing and other more intensive development. This in turn soon led to the demand for more convenient retail. open space – are often the least resistant to development. In terms of public attitudes. moving on to a new site. Since local governments must generate funds to provide required infrastructure they are often in competition with one another for tax revenues. creating yet another layer of sprawl. Large lot. Local ordinances must be adapted to provide for higher density mixed land use growth within the urban boundaries. keeping sprawl out of open lands. Outside of these “Growth Boundaries” growth is severely restricted. For example. As our highway system expanded. The solution to this growing problem lies in an overall comprehensive approach such as we discussed earlier.

Identification of issue or issues. Growth management techniques such as Urban Growth Boundaries work by treating “the city. Presentation to and response from affected public. Preparation of a landscape plan. A commitment to conserve open space and critical habitats. . the cumulative costs are not. . its suburbs and their natural environment . Detailed studies to link inventory and analysis to problem(s) and goal(s). supported by programs providing tax incentives. 7. Administration of plan. 6. . 8. Implementation of detailed designs. This model involves eleven interconnected steps. This is all part of a more proactive approach to planning for land development to simultaneously contribute to our quality of life while maintaining a sense of ecological integrity.adaptive re-use of existing buildings or sites. 2. are used interchangeably. While from an individual standpoint the current growth pattern may seem economically beneficial. The concepts of ecological design and sustainable design. as a whole – socially. Ecology is the study of the relationship of all living things to their biological and physical environments. to make conscious informed decisions concerning conflicts between human and ecosystem needs” (Motloch 272). while promoting long-term ecological and physiological health and productivity” (Motloch 267). From a regional perspective. “Sustainability allows us to provide for present needs. (See Figure 20) . 5. Development of detailed designs for individual sites. 11. which support this newer approach. 10. and ecologically . Development of concepts and options. Inventories and analyses of biophysical and sociocultural systems from the larger down to the specific level. Sustainable design is then “the intentional planning and design of human ecosystems through the application of ecological understanding. alternatives to new highways. can significantly deter the impetus of sprawl. Establishment of a goal to address the issue(s). Steiner proposes an ecological planning model that attempts to use “biophysical and sociocultural information to suggest opportunities and constraints for decision making about the use of the landscape” (Steiner 9-10). .” (Katz xi). economically. including: 1. 9. 3-4. facilitates the decision of land owners to protect ecologically sensitive lands and encourages the developer to consider other options. ranging from improvement of local roads to the development of mass transit systems. At the same time local and state planning regulations and policies can support growth management strategies by delineating environmental and conservation priorities.

Planning Level – On the regional level there are some approaches that can be implemented to provide for economic development while protecting the landscape character and minimizing the negative . Environmentally Sensitive Design 1).B.

70% open space twenty 1. For example.. then the maximum lot size is five acres. The growing acceptance of such approaches is due to the fact that they encourage sensitive development without restricting the overall growth potential of an area or penalizing the landowner from realizing a profit. with increased use densities. At the same time. has proposed techniques for careful expansion while maintaining the rural countryside and cultural and historic regional patterns.environmental impacts of growth. Clustering residential development along the edge of the existing woodland to minimize the visual impact of growth on the open rural pastureland.. to a nonprofit or governmental entity. Site Design Level – There are many specific design recommendations that can be made at the scale of individual site design. with the remaining five acres permanently restricted from development. 2). If the base density is 1 unit /10 acres. Designating visually and environmentally sensitive areas as agricultural districts to restrict new growth from encroaching upon them. without unduly penalizing the property owner. ridgelines. in which the property owner may sell the development rights to build in the receiving zones.e. etc. Considering solar orientation when siting facilities to maximize the potential benefits of active and/or passive solar energy. (Arendt 100-102) The benefit of such techniques is to protect the rural landscape from uncontrolled or poorly controlled patterns of development over open fields or wooded hillsides. The planners identified a number of significant issues ranging from soil erosion and stream sedimentation. to retain the natural conditions. They may include such general responses as: a. These may relate to specific environmental issues such as energy and/or natural resource conservation or to cultural and aesthetic concerns.) by zoning and or building restrictions to protect the resource and retain its scenic amenity. Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) is another flexible method in which areas suitable for development are designated as “receiving zones”. and incompatible historic and cultural impacts. The University of Massachusetts Center for Rural Massachusetts identified the Connecticut River corridor as a critical area vulnerable to mounting development pressures. either in the form of a gift or for a price. One of these. the reduced price or donation of land provides a tax incentive for property owners to restrict development of environmentally sensitive lands. After analyzing these issues. etc.3 acre lots instead of ten. Using a sliding scale approach. Conservation easements refer to the transfer of partial interest in property. c. Referred to as “Connecticut Valley Design Guidelines”. the character of development or management conditions (i. The University of Massachusetts group. wetlands. Restricting lot sizes. the University of Massachusetts group devised an approach for sensitive growth and development utilizing a series of legal controls and planning and design recommendations. the number of lots can increase (e. utilizes optional or mandatory regulations to establish overlay zones.g. The conditions of the easement restrict the use of the land. etc. In essence. open farmlands and woodlands (or other protected areas) are designated as “sending zones”. Restricting development adjacent to environmentally sensitive areas (river’s edge. development densities.) (Arendt 226-230). Open Space Development Design (OSDD). to protect historic or scenic values. 60% open space would allow twelve 3. among others. to loss of natural resources. to respect the historic and cultural character of existing communities. architectural character. they are specific design guidelines that may be used to achieve the general goals established by the comprehensive planning and facilitated by the land use controls discussed earlier. the sending zones are retained in their undeveloped state. One example of this would be to lay out a housing development with streets . These sorts of techniques provide the legal basis for the planners to address the issues created by increased development pressures. Another legal mechanism is the use of conservation easements.) As a charitable contribution. as the area actually allocated for development decreases.5 acre lots instead of ten. these include such creative development alternatives as: a. b. a “Rural Preservation District” might be established that prohibits subdivision development from consuming more than 50% of any parcel. In return. d. threats to agricultural lands.

Preserving as much of the existing vegetation as possible as a site development is designed. such as the oceans and ice caps. or may occur across the whole Earth. etc. These include such processes as variations in solar radiation. deviations in the Earth's orbit. Causes Factors that can shape climate are often called climate forcings. 3) Channeling cool summer breezes into suitable exterior spaces of a development with masses of vegetation. Some parts of the climate system. For attribution of climate change over the past century. Utilizing native building materials. native timber. while allowing for the benefit of solar warming in the winter. the climate system can take centuries or longer to fully respond to new external forcings built environment refers to the man-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity. e. It can be a change in the average weather or a change in the distribution of weather events around an average (for example. Therefore. minimizing conflicts between adjacent developments and disruption of the regional landscape visual character. mountain-building and continental drift. f. see attribution of recent climate change. respond slowly in reaction to climate forcing because of their large mass. Considering facility placement to minimize energy costs of grading and to minimize erosion potential from disturbed slopes.g. and details as she or he move through the design process explained above Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years. especially in the context of environmental policy. (c and d relate equally to the cultural and aesthetic as well. diagrams. For information on temperature measurements over various periods. ranging in scale from personal shelter to neighborhoods to the large-scale civic surroundings..running generally east-west to facilitate a north-south orientation of the houses. They will be illustrated by the site designer through project drawings. Climate change may be limited to a specific region. These kinds of recommendations will also facilitate the overall issue of land use compatibility. b. Minimizing use of impervious surfacing to reduce surface runoff thereby recharging the water table on site and minimizing potential soil erosion. c. In recent usage. see temperature record.) e. field stone. we can minimize the visual intrusion into the rural character of an area subject to expanding development pressures. climate change usually refers to changes in modern climate (see global warming). greater or fewer extreme weather events). . Selecting and placing vegetation: 1) Utilizing deciduous trees adjacent to facilities to provide for cooling shade in the summer. Using native or naturalized plant materials will provide suitable habitats for native wild life and facilitate the preservation of migration patterns. There are a variety of climate change feedbacks that can either amplify or diminish the initial forcing. By concentrating development and nestling it into the edges of the woodland. 2) Buffering prevailing winter winds with evergreen plant massing. and changes in greenhouse gas concentrations. as well as local styles will also help to preserve the visual character of a place. and the data sources available. d.

For example. These compounds are transported into the stratosphere after being emitted at the surface. management and use of these man-made surroundings and their relationship to the human activities which take place within them. Historically. and that users of the built environment encounter issues that cross the traditional professional boundaries between urban planners. interior designers. Since the ozone layer prevents most harmful UVB wavelengths (270–315 nm) of ultraviolet light (UV light) from passing through the Earth's atmosphere.[3] damage to plants. the phrase is a useful acknowledgement that a small fraction of buildings constructed annually. zoning authorities. the phrase connotes the idea that a large percentage of the human environment is manmade.) found on the Earth originates from the sun (Figure 1). In the industrialized world. and these artificial surroundings are so extensive and cohesive that they function as organisms in the consumption of resources. disposal of wastes. even in the industrialized world. unit 2 solar radiation Almost all of the energy that drives the various systems (climate systems.The term is also now widely used to describe the interdisciplinary field of study which addresses the design. steady decline of about 4% per decade in the total volume of ozone in Earth's stratosphere (ozone layer) since the late 1970s. and this is still the case in large parts of the world. the built environment is identified as man-made landscapes as opposed to the natural environment. industrial designers. commonly called freons. In addition to this well-known stratospheric ozone depletion. The latter phenomenon is commonly referred to as the ozone hole. and of bromofluorocarbon compounds known as halons. but related observations: a slow. architects. cataracts. observed and projected decreases in ozone have generated worldwide concern leading to adoption of the Montreal Protocol that bans the production of CFCs and halons as well as related ozone depleting chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride and trichloroethane. but is completely man-made and "built". many buildings are produced by large scale development remote from its eventual users. In urban planning.[2] Both ozone depletion mechanisms strengthened as emissions of CFCs and halons increased. much of the built environment has taken the form of vernacular architecture. feel and quality of natural surroundings. ecosystems. Solar energy is . Central Park in New York City may have the look. but the most important process in both trends is catalytic destruction of ozone by atomic chlorine and bromine. and reduction of plankton populations in the ocean's photic zone may result from the increased UV exposure due to ozone depletion. etc.[1] The main source of these halogen atoms in the stratosphere is photodissociation of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) compounds. In landscape architecture. traffic engineers. The field is generally not regarded as an academic discipline in its own right. law. are designed by architects. decrease in stratospheric ozone over Earth's polar regions during the same period. The detailed mechanism by which the polar ozone holes form is different from that for the mid-latitude thinning. CFCs and other contributory substances are commonly referred to as ozone-depleting substances (ODS). and facilitation of productive enterprise within its bounds. In architecture and environmental psychology. but seasonal. etc. It is suspected that a variety of biological consequences such as increases in skin cancer. which occur near the surface in polar regions during spring. but as a "field of application" (or "interdiscipline") which draws upon the individual disciplines of economics. and a much larger. hydrologic systems. there are also tropospheric ozone depletion events. management. Recently there has also been considerable dialogue and research into the impact of the built environment's impact on population health Ozone depletion describes two distinct. design and technology in sustainable sense.

although the sun also emits significant energy in the ultraviolet and infrared bands. and radiation. The core occupies an area from the sun’s center to about a quarter of the star’s radius. Each photon that is created travels about one micrometer before being absorbed by an adjacent gas molecule. It takes a photon approximately 100. and small amounts of energy in the radio. Temperatures at the core are about 15 million degrees Kelvin (15 million degrees C or 27 million degrees F). Most of the electromagnetic radiation emitted from the sun's surface lies in the visible band centered at 500 nm (1 nm = 10-9 meters). The total quantity of energy emitted from the sun's surface is approximately 63. localized cool areas called sunspots occur. The last 20% of the journey to the surface the energy is transported more by convection than by radiation. has an average temperature of about 5.000 years or about 1025 absorptions and re-emissions to make the journey from the core to the sun’s surface. On the photosphere.5 billion years ago. are solar flares composed of gas. gravity pulls all of the mass of the sun inward and creates intense pressure. At the core. This absorption then causes the heating of the neighboring atom and it re-emits another photon that again travels a short distance before being absorbed by another atom. Figure 2: Major parts of the sun. The corona is the upper portion of the sun’s atmosphere.800 Kelvins. electrons. Since its formation 4. 700 million tons of hydrogen is converted into the heavier atom helium. the sun has used up about half of the hydrogen found in its core. microwave. This energy is then radiated to the convection zone. (Source of original image: SOHO) For each second of the solar nuclear fusion process. Erupting from the photosphere. This process then repeats itself many times over before the photon can finally be emitted to outer space at the sun’s surface. X-ray and gamma ray bands. The photosphere is the surface that emits solar radiation to space.000 Watts per square meter (W/m2 or Wm-2). The solar nuclear process also creates immense heat that causes atoms to discharge photons. This pressure is high enough to force the fusion of atomic masses. The trip from the sun’s surface to the Earth takes about 8 minutes.created at the core of the sun when hydrogen atoms are fused into helium by nuclear fusion (Figure 2). where mixing transfers the energy to the photosphere. Solar energy is produced at the core of the sun by nuclear fusion. . or photosphere.000. The radiative surface of the sun.

The intensity of solar radiation striking these objects is determined by a physical law known as the Inverse Square Law (Figure 3). microbiological. other celestial objects. This chapter offers recommendations on basic knowledge about how living things function and how they interact with one another and their environment. domestic wastewater (sewage. the basic building blocks of all organisms. simple technologies (e. septic tanks). The term "sanitation" can be applied to a specific aspect. the intensity will become only one-ninth of its original intensity at a distance of one unit. the structure and functioning of cells. Living envirolment Chapter 5: THE LIVING ENVIRONMENT People have long been curious about living things—how many different species there are. At three times the distance.refers to the management of human feces at the household level. all of the physical principles discussed in Chapter 4. or interstellar gas and dust.g. Hygienic means of prevention can be by using engineering solutions (e. This law merely states that the intensity of the radiation emitted from the sun varies with the squared distance from the source. or even by personal hygiene practices (e. sewerage and wastewater treatment). what they are like. greywater). principles. As a result of this law. where they live. concept. . Sanitation Sanitation is the hygienic means of promoting health through prevention of human contact with the hazards of wastes. The Physical Setting. the flow of matter and energy through the grand-scale cycles of life. simple handwashing with soap). biological or chemical agents of disease. Living organisms are made of the same components as all other matter. In particular. But living organisms also have characteristics that can be understood best through the application of other principles. sullage. the transfer of heritable characteristics from one generation to the next. Thus. Hazards can be either physical. or strategy. and how they behave. at twice the distance the intensity will become only one-quarter. if the intensity of radiation at a given distance is one unit. and agricultural wastes. industrial wastes. and how biological evolution explains the similarity and diversity of life. and television sets. latrines. The chapter focuses on six major subjects: the diversity of life. and theories that enable people to understand the living environment better. involve the same kind of transformations of energy.The energy emitted by the sun passes through space until it is intercepted by planets. solid wastes. how they relate to each other. Scientists seek to answer these questions and many more about the organisms that inhabit the earth. as reflected in the biological characteristics of the earth's organisms. and so on. raindrops. they try to develop the concepts. and move using the same basic kinds of forces. the interdependence of all organisms and their environment. This terminology is the indicator used to describe the target of the Millennium Development Goal on sanitation. Wastes that can cause health problems are human and animal feces.g. location. apply to life as well as to stars.g. such as:  Basic sanitation .

which can complicate wastewater treatment unless industries pre-treat their discharges. see Ecological sanitation. In many peri-urban and rural areas households are not connected to sewers.  Food sanitation .  Environmental sanitation .the collection and treatment of waste is done where it is deposited. industrial waste treatment and noise and pollution control. septic tanks.the control of environmental factors that form links in disease transmission. more or less diluted raw sewage being discharged into the environment. Ecological sanitation is sometimes presented as a radical alternative to conventional sanitation systems. The reuse of treated wastewater in landscaping (esp. They discharge their wastewater into septic tanks or other types of on-site sanitation. It thus eliminates the creation of blackwater and eliminates fecal pathogens from any still present wastewater (urine). If ecological sanitation is practiced municipal wastewater consists only of . Examples are the use of pit latrines. Wastewater Sanitation Wastewater collection The standard sanitation technology in urban areas is the collection of wastewater in sewers. lakes or the sea. on golf courses). [edit] Ecological sanitation For more details on this topic. its treatment in wastewater treatment plants for reuse or disposal in rivers.refers to the hygienic measures for ensuring food safety. Sewers are either combined with storm drains or separated from them as sanitary sewers. On-site sanitation . and imhoff tanks. Ecological sanitation is based on composting or vermicomposting toilets where an extra separation of urine and feces at the source for sanitization and recycling has been done. Industries often discharge wastewater into municipal sewers. Some countries have therefore promoted alternative wastewater collection systems such as condominial sewerage.a concept and an approach of recycling to nature the nutrients from human and animal wastes.  Ecological sanitation . irrigated agriculture and for industrial use is becoming increasingly widespread. water and wastewater treatment.[3] The high investment cost of conventional wastewater collection systems are difficult to afford for many developing countries. i. Subsets of this category are solid waste management. [edit] Reuse of wastewater The reuse of untreated wastewater in irrigated agriculture is common in developing countries. older parts or urban areas. Combined sewers are usually found in the central. which uses smaller diameter pipes at lower depth with different network layouts from conventional sewerage.e. Heavy rainfall and inadequate maintenance can lead to combined sewer overflows or sanitary sewer overflows.

99% of the population has access to improved sanitation and 81% were connected to sewers.[8] This outcome presents substantial public health risks as the waste could contaminate drinking water and cause life threatening forms of diarrhea to infants. Improved sanitation. 2. In the case of landfills. Published in Griffins Public Sanitation proven studies show that higher sanitation produces more attractiveness. where underdeveloped countries customarily rely upon less stringent protocols. The affects of sanitation have also had a large impact on society. Daily cover also minimises odor emissions and reduces windblown litter.[7] This includes 1.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation and thus must resort to open defecation or other unsanitary forms of defecation. in most cases greywater continues to be discharged to sewers. [edit] Global access to improved sanitation The Joint Monitoring Program for water and sanitation of WHO and UNICEF has defined improved sanitation as  connection to a public sewer  connection to a septic system  pour-flush latrine  simple pit latrine  ventilated improved pit latrine [6] According to that definition. [1] Only slightly more than half of them or 31% of the world population lived in houses connected to a sewer. as a result of inadequate sanitation and hygiene practices.[9] The importance of daily cover lies in the reduction of vector contact and spreading of pathogens. [edit] Sanitation and public health The importance of waste isolation lies in an effort to prevent water and sanitation related diseases. but incineration. up 8% since 1990. It is estimated that up to 5 million people die each year from preventable water-borne disease[5].[8] In developed countries. developed countries typically have . where less than 20% of the world population lives. recycling.greywater. such as public latrines or open pit latrines. advanced countries typically have rigid protocols for daily cover with topsoil. However.2 billion people who have access to no facilities at all. which can be recycled for gardening. 62% of the world's population has access to improved sanitation in 2008. including hand washing and water purification. Solid waste disposal Disposal of solid waste is most commonly conducted in landfills. Overall. Likewise.5 million children who suffer from diarrheal diseases each year. could save the lives of 1. composting and conversion to biofuels are also avenues. which afflicts both developed countries as well as developing countries to differing degrees.

emotional.[7] Indigenous people have argued. the fourth being cultural. Recycling and biofuel conversion are the sustainable options that generally have superior life cycle costs. Economic Sustainability: clearly identified information.[10] Composting value will ultimately be limited by the market demand for compost product. and participation as key building blocks to help countries achieve development that recognises these interdependent pillars. In this vision. Furthermore. Agenda 21 emphasises that broad public participation in decision making is a fundamental prerequisite for achieving sustainable development. the release of air pollutants. the United Nations released the Brundtland Report. It emphasises that in sustainable development everyone is a user and provider of information. including certain toxic components is an attendant adverse outcome. through various international forums such as the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Convention on Biological Diversity. integration. it becomes “one of the roots of development understood not simply in terms of economic growth. which defines sustainable development as 'development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.. Sustainable development does not focus solely on environmental issues.requirements for perimeter sealing of the landfill with clay-type soils to minimize migration of leachate that could contaminate groundwater (and hence jeopardize some drinking water supplies). The Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (UNESCO. For incineration options. but also as a means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual.cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature”.'[6] The United Nations 2005 World Summit Outcome Document refers to the "interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars" of sustainable development as economic development. It means resolving the conflict between the various competing . In 1987. strong sustainability and deep ecology. particularly when total ecological consequences are considered. social development. 2001) further elaborates the concept by stating that ". that there are four pillars of sustainable development. Unit 3 Sustainable development Scope and definitions The concept has included notions of weak sustainability. It stresses the need to change from old sector-centred ways of doing business to new approaches that involve cross-sectoral co-ordination and the integration of environmental and social concerns into all development processes. sustainability is a process which tells of a development of all aspects of human life affecting sustenance..[8] According to Hasna. moral and spiritual existence". and environmental protection. cultural diversity is the fourth policy area of sustainable development.

However.[9] Green development is generally differentiated from sustainable development in that Green development prioritizes what its proponents consider to be environmental sustainability over economic and cultural considerations. Proponents of Sustainable Development argue that it provides a context in which to improve overall sustainability where cutting edge Green development is unattainable. the same countries encourage third . This view is now being taught at many business schools including the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University and the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan. even if it is somewhat less effective from an environmental standpoint. Many definitions and images (Visualizing Sustainability) of sustainable development coexist. environmental quality and social equity famously known as three dimensions (triple bottom line) with is the resultant vector being technology. Sustainable development is said to set limits on the developing world. strong sustainability and deep ecology. the sustainable development mantra enjoins current generations to take a systems approach to growth and development and to manage natural. Broadly defined. hence it is a continually evolving process. the ‘journey’ (the process of achieving sustainability) is of course vitally important. as a wide array of views fall under its umbrella. Instead. and social capital for the welfare of their own and future generations. The concept has included notions of weak sustainability. different organizations have tried to measure and monitor the proximity to what they consider sustainability by implementing what has been called sustainability metrics and indices[12]. a cutting edge treatment plant with extremely high maintenance costs may not be sustainable in regions of the world with fewer financial resources. The Network of Excellence "Sustainable Development in a Diverse World".[10] sponsored by the European Union. integrates multidisciplinary capacities and interprets cultural diversity as a key element of a new strategy for sustainable development. but only as a means of getting to the destination (the desired future state). For example. While current first world countries polluted significantly during their development.the ‘destination’ of sustainability is not a fixed place in the normal sense that we understand destination. An environmentally ideal plant that is shut down due to bankruptcy is obviously less sustainable than one that is maintainable by the community. it is a set of wishful characteristics of a future system. Still other researchers view environmental and social challenges as opportunities for development action. and involves the simultaneous pursuit of economic prosperity. Different conceptions also reveal a strong tension between ecocentrism and anthropocentrism. Some research activities start from this definition to argue that the environment is a combination of nature and culture. This is particularly true in the concept of sustainable enterprise that frames these global needs as opportunities for private enterprise to provide innovative and entrepreneurial solutions. The United Nations Division for Sustainable Development lists the following areas as coming within the scope of sustainable development:[11] Sustainable development is an eclectic concept.goals. During the last ten years. produced.

and in so doing control population growth. sustainable agriculture. thus becoming the primary tool used to “promote” economic development in developing countries and to protect the environment. An "unsustainable situation" occurs when natural capital (the sum total of nature's resources) is used up faster than it can be replenished. the long-term result of environmental degradation is the inability to sustain human life. 1992). population control policies have become the overriding approach to development. and control all of the world's assets. Theoretically. and ecological sustainability is one of those terms that confuse a lot of people. Inherently the concept of sustainable development is intertwined with the concept of carrying capacity. sustainable growth. especially in international circles. Consumption of renewable resources State of environment Sustainability More than nature's ability to replenish Environmental degradation Not sustainable Equal to nature's ability to replenish Environmental equilibrium Steady state economy Less than nature's ability to replenish Environmental renewal Environmentally sustainable .world countries to reduce pollution."[13] [edit] Environmental sustainability Environmental sustainability is the process of making sure current processes of interaction with the environment are pursued with the idea of keeping the environment as pristine as naturally possible based on ideal-seeking behavior. By attaching a specific interpretation to sustainability. Joan Veon. a businesswoman and international reporter. which sometimes impedes growth. [21] It is suggested that this is the reason the main focus of most programs is still on low-income agriculture." . Everything is sustainable (Temple. who covered 64 global meetings on sustainable development posits that:[22] "Sustainable development has continued to evolve as that of protecting the world's resources while its true agenda is to control the world's resources. Such degradation on a global scale could imply extinction for humanity. Some consider that the implementation of sustainable development would mean a reversion to pre-modern lifestyles." Mary Jo Anderson suggests that the real purpose of sustainable development is to contain and limit economic development in developing countries. Sustainability requires that human activity only uses nature's resources at a rate at which they can be replenished naturally.[13] Others have criticized the overuse of the term: "[The] word sustainable has been used in too many situations today. You hear about sustainable development. [edit] Purpose Various writers have commented on the population control agenda that seems to underlie the concept of sustainable development. sustainable economies. Maria Sophia Aguirre writes:[20] "Sustainable development is a policy approach that has gained quite a lot of popularity in recent years. It should be noted that Agenda 21 sets up the global infrastructure needed to manage. sustainable societies. count.

tributyltins. Typical contaminants found on contaminated brownfield land include hydrocarbon spillages. on locations with abandoned factories or commercial buildings. For example. vapor from the soil phase is extracted from soils and treated.[1] In the United States city planning jargon. After the dot-com bubble of 2000. The environmental firm first performs an extensive investigation of the brownfield site to ensure that the guaranteed cleanup cost is reasonable and they will not wind up with any surprises. and development projects in brownfield lands. Small brownfields also may be found in many older residential neighborhoods. pesticides. some environmental firms have teamed up with insurance companies to underwrite the cleanup of distressed brownfield properties and provide a guaranteed cleanup cost for a specific brownfield property. The land may be contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution.g. these strategies are used in conjunction with each other or with other remedial strategies such as soil vapor extraction. brownfield sites exist in a city's or town's industrial section. Land that is more severely contaminated and has high concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution. which has the effect of removing contaminants from the soils and groundwater beneath a site. such as a Superfund site. brownfield land (or simply a brownfield) is land previously used for industrial purposes or certain commercial uses. many venture capital firms looking for new businesses in which to invest have done so in brownfields. many dry cleaning establishments or gas stations produced high levels of subsurface contaminants during prior operations. solvents. Some brownfields with . Innovative redevelopment strategies A number of innovative financial and remediation techniques have been used in the U.Brown field development Brownfields are abandoned or underused industrial and commercial facilities available for reuse. Old maps may assist in identifying areas to be tested. does not fall under the brownfield classification. a remedial strategy that uses naturally occurring microbes in soils and groundwater to expedite a cleanup. and the land they occupy might sit idle for decades as a brownfield. companies that do remediation. Often. and asbestos.[2] Locations Generally. and has the potential to be reused once it is cleaned up. Innovative remedial techniques used at distressed brownfields in recent years include bioremediation. or other previously polluting operations.S. Mothballed brownfields are properties which the owners are not willing to transfer or put to productive reuse. In this process. paints). heavy metals such as lead (e. in recent years to expedite the cleanup of brownfield sites.. Venture capital investments in brownfield-related businesses have included companies developing new cleanup technology. For example. to limit land developers' exposure to environmental remediation costs and pollution lawsuits. which is a remedial strategy that uses oxygen or oxidant chemicals to enhance a cleanup. Expansion or redevelopment of such a facility may be complicated by real or perceived environmental contaminations. and in-situ oxidation.

After they reach maturity. corn. However. In the process of cleaning contaminated brownfield sites. adaptive re-use. and switchgrass growing in a former industrial dump site in Oakland County. Michigan. Many of the most important provisions on liability relief are contained in state codes that can differ significantly from state to state. and disposal of a brownfield sites requires advanced and specialized appraisal analysis techniques. Many federal and state programs have been developed to help developers interested in cleaning up brownfield sites and restoring them to practical uses. investigation and cleanup of brownfield sites is largely regulated by state environmental agencies in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). as developable land grows less available in highly populated areas. The intent is to see if the plants can serve two purposes simultaneously: assist with phytoremediation.[4] Michigan State University. When unexpected circumstances arise. together with local and national government. Additionally. They can also provide tax incentives for cleanup that is not paid for outright. the highest and best use of the brownfield site may be affected by the contamination. For example. can provide technical help and some funding for assessment and cleanup of designated sites. both pre. [edit] Valuation Acquisition. to quantify the cleanup costs in an effort to move the redevelopment process forward. many developers insist that a site be thoroughly investigated (via a Phase II Site Investigation or Remedial Investigation) prior to commencing remedial cleanup activities. in collaboration with DaimlerChrysler and NextEnergy. such as previously unknown underground storage tanks. the cost for clean-up increases. To avoid unexpected contamination and increased costs.and post-remediation. redevelopment has become more common in the first decade of the 21st century. the plants – which now contain the heavy metal contaminants in their tissues – are removed and disposed of as hazardous waste. and contribute to the economical production of biodiesel and/or ethanol fuel. the methods of studying contaminated land have become more sophisticated and established. cleanup costs are fully tax-deductible in the year they are incurred. specifically. Regulation In the United States. surprises are sometimes encountered. the cleanup work may be delayed or stopped entirely. Some states and localities have spent considerable money assessing the contamination on local brownfield sites. and as a result. buried drums or buried railroad tank cars containing wastes. specifically for the production of biofuels. Also. the value should take into account residual stigma and potential for third-party .[5] The EPA. canola. has small plots of soybean.heavy metal contamination have even been cleaned up through an innovative approach called phytoremediation that uses deep-rooted plants to soak up metals in soils into the plant structure as the plant grows. Research is under way to see if some brownfields can be used to grow crops.[6] Barriers to redevelopment Many contaminated brownfield sites sit unused for decades because the cost of cleaning them to safe standards is more than the land would be worth after redevelopment.

at all possible spatial scales. global vegetation (including algal communities) has been the primary source of oxygen in the atmosphere. it refers to the ground cover provided by plants. and often overlooked. to those that feed on these). carbon. without specific reference to particular taxa. Household rainfall catchment systems are appropriate in areas with an average rainfall greater than 200mm per year. Rainwater harvesting Rainwater harvesting is the gathering. It is a general term.[1] Rainwater harvesting has been used to provide drinking water. including soil volume. can make an important contribution to drinking water. rainwater is either harvested from the ground or from a . vegetation serves as wildlife habitat and the energy source for the vast array of animal species on the planet (and.Perhaps most importantly. It is broader than the term flora which refers exclusively to species composition. Roof rainwater is usually of good quality and does not require treatment before consumption. structure. Second. Normal appraisal techniques frequently fail.liability. coastal mangrove stands. which feed back to affect various vegetational characteristics. In some cases. vegetation strongly affects soil characteristics. wheat fields. vegetation regulates the flow of numerous biogeochemical cycles (see biogeochemistry). Such cycles are important not only for global patterns of vegetation but also for those of climate. it is also of great importance in local and global energy balances. There are a number of types of systems to harvest rainwater ranging from very simple to the complex industrial systems. life forms. but vegetation can. including scales as large as the global. First. and appraisers must rely on more advanced techniques. all are encompassed by the term vegetation. or any other specific botanical or geographic characteristics. most critically those of water. refer to a wider range of spatial scales than that term does. Rainwater systems are simple to construct from inexpensive local materials. and no other accessible water sources (Skinner and Cotton. 1992). importance Vegetation supports critical functions in the biosphere. desert soil crusts. ultimately. and are potentially successful in most habitable locations. tents and local institutions. water for irrigation or to refill aquifers in a process called groundwater recharge. sphagnum bogs. Third. water for livestock. chemistry and texture. Perhaps the closest synonym is plant community. Primeval redwood forests. or accumulating and storing. such as contingent valuation. or from specially prepared areas of ground. of rainwater.[ Vegetation Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region. or economical. or statistical analyses. rainwater may be the only available. and nitrogen. Rainwater collected from the roofs of houses. roadside weed patches. case studies. spatial extent. enabling the aerobic metabolism systems to evolve and persist. and often does. including productivity and structure. cultivated gardens and lawns. Generally. water source.

rooftop rainwater is collected and stored in sump. to increase soil moisture levels for urban greenery.[3][4] In India. typically they were shallow with mud walls. Kannur under Kerala Agricultural University with the support of ICAR. Generally they are only considered in areas where rainwater is very scarce and other sources of water are not available. thereby raising the groundwater level and increasing the amount of water stored in the aquifer. ground catchments can collect large quantities of rainwater. Subsurface dyke A subsurface dyke is built in an aquifer to obstruct the natural flow of groundwater. bird droppings etc. The subsurface dyke at Krishi Vigyan Kendra. In . to mitigate urban flooding and to improve the quality of groundwater. its efficiency. They are more suited to small communities than individual families. reservoirs called tankas were used to store water. Ancient tankas still exist in some places. The sub-surface dyke has demonstrated that it is a feasible method for conserving and exploiting the groundwater resources of the Kerala state of India. In the US. If properly designed. to increase the ground water table through artificial recharge. Groundwater recharge Rainwater may also be used for groundwater recharge. The dyke is now the largest rainwater harvesting system in that region. Some of the reasons rainwater harvesting can be adopted in cities are to provide supplemental water for the city's requirements.[4] Advantages in urban areas Rainwater harvesting in urban areas can have manifold reasons. adding to the groundwater. has become an effective method for ground water conservation by means of rain water harvesting technologies. Roof gutters should have sufficient incline to avoid standing water. Rainwater harvesting systems require regular maintenance and cleaning to keep the system hygienic and in good working order. or ponds which collect the run-off from small streams in wide area.[2] In India this includes Bawdis and johads. and the intensity of rainfall. Ground catchment systems Ground catchments systems channel water from a prepared catchment area into storage. Storage tanks should be covered to prevent mosquito breeding and to reduce evaporation losses. The rate at which water can be collected from either system is dependent on the plan area of the system. where the runoff on the ground is collected and allowed to be absorbed. Roof catchment systems Roof catchment systems channel rainwater that falls onto a roof into storage via a system of gutters and pipes. contamination and algal growth. The first flush of rainwater after a dry season should be allowed to run to waste as it will be contaminated with dust.roof. They must be strong enough. and large enough to carry peak flows.

b) Collection of waste from community dumps. At the community level. Indeed in hard water areas it is superior to mains water for this. If recycling is done in a proper manner. many houses away from the larger towns and cities routinely rely on rainwater collected from roofs as the only source of water for all household activities. making pellets to be used Some items that can be recycled or reused Old copies in gasifiers. commercial places. Surveys carried out by Government and nongovernment agencies in the country have all recognized the importance of recycling wastes. etc. This is almost inevitably the case for many holiday homes. Most of the garbage generated in the household can be recycled and reused. at a household level. c) Collection/picking up of waste from final disposal sites. It reduces the amount of waste that is thrown into the community dustbins thereby making the environment cleaner and the air more fresh to breathe.urban areas of the developed world. Paper bags The steps involved in the process prior to recycling include a) Collection of waste from doorsteps. harvested rainwater can be used for flushing toilets and washing laundry. etc. it will solve the problems of waste or garbage. However. Recycling and reuse Recycling involves the collection of used and discarded materials processing these materials and making them into new products. Studies have revealed that 7 %-15% of the waste is recycled. It is being used for composting. a large number of NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) and private sector enterprises have taken an initiative in segregation and recycling of waste (EXNORA International in Chennai recycles a large part of the waste that is collected). Organic kitchen waste such as Newspapers Old greeting cards Cardboard box Plastic Containers Bottles Bags Sheets Glass and ceramics Bottles Plates Cup Bowls Miscellaneous Old cans Utensils Clothes Furniture . the methodology for safe recycling of waste has not been standardized. Plastics are sold to the Paper Old books factories that reuse them. It may require treatment prior to use for drinking In New Zealand. It can also be used for showering or bathing.

leftover foodstuff. saves on landfill space. saves money. vegetable peels. makes the surroundings cleaner and healthier. The schematic diagram below depicts recycling of wastes Source: CPCB Report on Management of Muncipal Solid Waste Waste recycling has some significant advantages. In your own homes you can contribute to waste reduction and the recycling and reuse of certain items. reduces environmental impacts arising from waste treatment and disposal. reduces the amount of energy required to manufacture new products. In fact recycling can prevent the creation of waste at the source. and spoilt or dried fruits and vegetables can be recycled by putting them in the compost pits that have been dug in the garden. Paper can also be made at home through a very simple process and you can paint on them. To cover you books you can use old calendars. magazines and bottles can be sold to the kabadiwala the man who buys these items from homes. Alternative technology . It leads to less utilization of raw materials. Old newspapers. old greeting cards can also be reused.

the terms have different meanings. It is technology that. at affordable cost and with a possible degree of control over the processes. Common political issues related to alternative technologies include whether they are practical for widespread use. and how environmentally unsound technologies and practices should be regulated. whether they are cost-effective. with minimum damage to the environment. whether widespread adoption would produce negative impacts on the economy. which technologies government regulations should favor.Alternative technology is a term used by environmental advocates to refer to technologies which are more environmentally friendly than the functionally equivalent technologies dominant in current practice. lifestyle or environment (production energy costs/pollutants). Alternative technologies themselves are part of environmentalist politics. whether public subsidies for adoption are appropriate. what technological research should be done and how it should be funded. The term is sometimes confused with appropriate technology. Some "alternative technologies" have in the past or may in the future become widely adopted." For example the use of wind turbines to produce electricity. and which of a field of competing alternative technologies should be pursued. but while there is significant overlap. after which they might no longer be considered "alternative. particularly related to the importance of low cost and ease of maintenance for developing country applications. aims to utilize resources sparingly. if any. Alternative technologies Alternative technologies include the following:  Anaerobic digestion  Composting  Fuel cells  Fuels for automobiles (besides gasoline and diesel) o Alcohol (either ethanol or methanol) o Biodiesel o Vegetable oil  Greywater  Solar panels o Silicon-based o Photosynthetic "Gratzel cells" (Titanium dioxide) . how to encourage rapid adoption. as an alternative to resource-intensive and wasteful industry.

fire cannot spread and there is no chance of combustion. Alternative natural materials have many practical uses in areas such as sustainable architecture and engineering. Straw provides excellent insulation and fire resistance in a traditional post-and-beam structure. Landfill gas extraction from landfills  Mechanical biological treatment  Recycling  Wind generators Alternative natural materials Alternative natural materials is a general term that describes natural materials like rock or adobe that are not as commonly in use as materials such as wood or iron. The main purpose of using such materials is to minimize the negative effects that our built environment can have on the planet while increasing the efficiency and adaptability of the structures. Although it can be difficult to join corners together. These characteristics make stone a great idea because the temperature in the house stays rather constant thus requiring less air conditioning and other cooling systems. bamboo is immensely strong and makes up for the hardships that can be encountered while building it. limestone. Bamboo is surprisingly strong and rather flexible and grows incredibly fast. Materials Rock Rock is a great way to get away from traditional materials that are harmful to the environment. Cordwood .[3] These straw walls are about 75% more energy efficient than standard drywalls and because no oxygen can get through the walls. making it a rather abundant material. Types of rocks that can be employed are reject stone (pieces of stone that are not able to be used for another task). Bamboo In Asian countries. bamboo is being used for structures like bridges and homes. Straw Straw bales can be used as a basis for walls instead of drywall. and flagstone. Rocks have two great characteristics: good thermal mass and thermal insulation. where a wood frame supports the house.

In addition. A mixture of sand. You can build an entire building with just cordwood or use stones to fill in the walls. it is not very waterproof and can be dangerous in earth-quake prone areas due to its tendency to crack easily. Earth-Sheltered Earth-Sheltering is a very unique building technique in which buildings are completely constructed on at least one side by some form of Earth whether it be a grass roof. Papercrete Papercrete is an interesting and very new material that is a good substitute for concrete. Cordwood provides the rustic look of log cabins without the use of tons of lumber. recyclling . and less prone to melting than regular ice. and water is poured into a mold and left in the sun to dry. Papercrete is very cheap as it usually only costs about $0. When dried. Papercrete is shredded paper.[3] Rammed Earth also provides great thermal mass. These small blocks of wood can easily be put together to make a structure that. Depending what type of sawdust used (hardwood is best) the wood chips in the walls absorb moisture and help prevent cracking during freeze/thaw cycles. Soil is packed tightly into wall molds where it is rammed together and hardened to form a durable wall packing made of nothing more than dirt. easy to obtain. thus providing excellent insulation during the summer to reduce energy costs. and sticks. Although this clay mixture provides excellent insulation from heat. stones. Buildings utilizing papercrete are very well-insulated as well as being termite. it is very weatherproof and durable enough that it was used in the Great Wall of China. Rammed Earth Rammed Earth is a very abundant material that can be used in place of concrete and brick. or both. This adds to the energy efficiency of the house by reducing lighting costs. which is strong. and cement mixed together that forms a very durable bricklike material.Cordwood is a combination of small remnants of firewood and other lumber that usually go to waste. like stone. This unique system usually includes plenty of windows because of the difficulty involved with using too much electricity in such a house.[1] Sawdust may be combined with water and frozen to produce a material commonly known as pykrete. has great insulation as well as thermal mass. Adobe doesn’t let much heat through to the inside of the structure. clay. sand. it is exceptionally strong and heat-resistant.35 per square foot. and ideal for hot environments. which means great energy savings. These walls turn out surprisingly sturdy and effectively recycle any trees that may need to be excavated from the building area. Sawdust Sawdust is a good material to combine with clay or cement mixtures and use for walls. Adobe Adobe is an age-old technique that is cheap.and fire-resistant. clay walls.

lead from car batteries. and the validity of arguments from both sides has led to enduring controversy. and that materials such as paper pulp can only be recycled a few times before material degradation prevents further recycling. either due to their intrinsic value (e. Although similar in effect. recycling of a material would produce a fresh supply of the same material. and lower greenhouse gas emissions as compared to virgin production. Reuse. cardboard) instead. or due to their hazardous nature (e. However.[2] Materials to be recycled are either brought to a collection center or picked up from the curbside.g. In a strict sense. textiles. Another form of recycling is the salvage of certain materials from complex products.[1][2] Recycling is a key component of modern waste management and is the third component of the "Reduce. and electronics. and reprocessed into new materials bound for manufacturing. Critics dispute the net economic and environmental benefits of recycling over its costs.g.Recycling involves processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials. or used foamed polystyrene to more polystyrene. reduce energy usage. Proponents of recycling dispute each of these claims. Recyclable materials include many kinds of glass. reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from landfilling) by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal. Aggregates and concrete Concrete blocks Main article: Concrete recycling .. and suggest that proponents of recycling often make matters worse and suffer from confirmation bias. metal.. this is often difficult or too expensive (compared with producing the same product from raw materials or other sources). Specifically. then sorted. the composting or other reuse of biodegradable waste – such as food or garden waste – is not typically considered recycling.g. Recycle" waste hierarchy. removal and reuse of mercury from various items). reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials. critics argue that the costs and energy used in collection and transportation detract from (and outweigh) the costs and energy saved in the production process. or gold from computer components). so "recycling" of many products or materials involves their reuse in producing different materials (e. cleaned. and other industries associated with virgin production. mining. plastic. paper.. also that the jobs produced by the recycling industry can be a poor trade for the jobs lost in logging. for example used office paper to more office paper.

Recycling is via a steelworks: scrap is either remelted in an electric arc furnace (90-100% scrap). while to extract mined aluminium from its ore requires 900 °C. This process does not produce any change in the metal. bricks.[ Timber A stack of wooden pallets awaits reuse or recycling.[52] Non-ferrous metals Main article: Aluminium recycling Aluminium is one of the most efficient and widely-recycled materials. The arrival of recycled timber as a construction product has been important in both raising industry and consumer awareness towards deforestation and promoting timber mills to adopt more environmentally friendly practices. 42% of crude steel produced is recycled material. with consumers commonly believing that by purchasing recycled wood the demand for green timber will fall and ultimately benefit the environment. the energy saved by recycling one aluminium can is enough to run a television for three hours. dirt.[53][54] Aluminium is shredded and ground into small pieces or crushed into bales. aluminium is 600 °C. Americans throw away enough aluminium every year to rebuild their entire commercial air fleet. This reduces the need for other rocks to be dug up. . By this stage the recycled aluminium is indistinguishable from virgin aluminium and further processing is identical for both.Concrete aggregate collected from demolition sites is put through a crushing machine. To reach this higher temperature. with no 'downgrading' from prime to lower quality materials as steel is recycled repeatedly. Main article: Timber recycling Recycling timber has become popular due to its image as an environmentally friendly product. much more energy is needed. Smaller pieces of concrete are used as gravel for new construction projects. which in turn saves trees and habitats Ferrous metals Steel crushed and baled for recycling Main article: Steel recycling Iron and steel are the world's most recycled materials. and rocks. Greenpeace also view recycled timber as an environmentally friendly product. Crushed recycled concrete can also be used as the dry aggregate for brand new concrete if it is free of contaminants. citing it as the most preferable timber source on their website. or used as part of the charge in a Basic Oxygen Furnace (around 25% scrap). Recycling aluminium saves 95% of the energy cost of processing new aluminium. nearly pure.[6] This is because the temperature necessary for melting recycled. often along with asphalt. leading to the high environmental benefits of aluminium recycling. so aluminium can be recycled indefinitely.[51] Any grade of steel can be recycled to top quality new metal. as they can be separated magnetically from the waste stream. and among the easiest materials to reprocess. These pieces or bales are melted in an aluminium smelter to produce molten aluminium. Also.

floor slabs. is that although many local authorities like the idea of recycling. windows. 0. Building Fabric The building fabric is a critical component of any building. for example. One of the countless examples. surface effects such as electrostatics and wetting dominate volume effects such as inertia or thermal mass. Also. The problem. wet etching (KOH. normally used to make electronics. They usually consist of a central unit that processes data. opportunities relating to the building fabric begin during the predesign phase of the building. Consisting of the building's roof. Namely.Wood recycling is a subject which has in recent years taken an ever greater role in our lives. recycling timber. walls. since it both protects the building occupants and plays a major role in regulating the indoor environment. The building fabric must balance requirements for ventilation and daylight while providing thermal and moisture protection appropriate to the climatic conditions of the site.e. they do not fully support it. and merges at the nano-scale into nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) and nanotechnology. These include molding and plating. At these size scales. TMAH) and dry etching (RIE and DRIE). The potential of very small machines was appreciated long before the technology existed that could make them—see. Richard Feynman's famous 1959 lecture There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom. the fabric controls the flow of energy between the interior and exterior of the building. MEMS became practical once they could be fabricated using modified semiconductor device fabrication technologies.MST (in Europe).001 to 0. MEMS are also referred to as micromachines (in Japan).1 mm) and MEMS devices generally range in size from 20 micrometres (20 millionths of a metre) to a millimetre. the extra cost for a high-performance fabric may be paid for through savings achieved by installing smaller HVAC equipment. the standard constructs of classical physics are not always useful. or Micro Systems Technology . and doors. or MicroElectroMechanical) is the technology of the very small. electro discharge machining (EDM). Fabric design is a major factor in determining the amount of energy a building will use in its operation. and other technologies capable of manufacturing very small devices. trees and other source Electro mechanical system Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) (also written as micro-electro-mechanical. however. When the right strategies are integrated through good design. which has been in the news is the concept of actually recycling wood which is growing in the cities. . An optimal design of the building fabric may provide significant reductions in heating and cooling loads-which in turn can allow downsizing of mechanical equipment. Due to MEMS' large surface area to volume ratio. MEMS are made up of components between 1 to 100 micrometres in size (i. MEMS are separate and distinct from the hypothetical vision of molecular nanotechnology or molecular electronics. For a new project. the microprocessor and several components that interact with the outside such as microsensors[1].

heating. and one that transfers the horizontal loads (wind loads) that are incident upon it. and air-conditioning (HVAC) and electrical strategies. daylighting and other passive solar design strategies. These loads are transferred to the main building structure through connections at floors or columns of the building. the thermal loads may be primarily internal (from people and equipment) rather than external (from the sun). Careful study is required to arrive at a building footprint and orientation that work with the building fabric to maximize energy benefit Curtain wall A curtain wall is a building façade that does not carry any dead load from the building other than its own dead load. One of the most important factors affecting fabric design is climate. temperate. Building Configuration also has significant impacts upon the efficiency and requirements of the building fabric. A curtain wall is designed to resist air and water infiltration. or cold climates will suggest different design strategies. Hot/dry. If the activity and equipment inside the building generate a significant amount of heat.the overall environmental life-cycle impacts and energy costs associated with the production and transportation of different envelope materials vary greatly. and project performance goals. ventilating. A second important factor in fabric design is what occurs inside the building. Specific designs and materials can take advantage of or provide solutions for the given climate. the entire design team must integrate design of the fabric with other design elements including material selection. This affects the rate at which a building gains or loses heat. wind . In keeping with the whole building approach. hot/humid.

. which provides an architecturally pleasing building. Perimeter sealants. Other common infills include: stone veneer. automation is a step beyond mechanization.forces acting on the building. water diversion. metal panels. programmable logic control. and lighting in the building.[1] In the scope of industrialization. However. and take into consideration design requirements such as: thermal expansion and contraction. in concert with other applications of information technology (such as computer-aided technologies [CAD. The aluminium frame is typically infilled with glass. Whereas mechanization provided human operators with machinery to assist them with the muscular requirements of work. parameters related to solar gain control such as thermal comfort and visual comfort are more difficult to control when using highly-glazed curtain walls. Processes and systems can also be automated. Anodized aluminum frames cannot be "re-anodized" in place. . and other industrial control systems). Aluminum frames are generally painted or anodized. building sway and movement. Curtain walls differ from storefront systems in that they are designed to span multiple floors. but can be cleaned and protected by proprietary clear coatings to improve appearance and durability. have a typical service life of 10 to 15 years. Automation Automation is the use of control systems (such as numerical control. although the first curtain walls were made of steel. and thermal efficiency for cost-effective heating. louvers. seismic forces (usually only those imposed by the inertia of the curtain wall). Maintenance and repair Curtain walls and perimeter sealants require maintenance to maximize service life. reducing the need for human intervention. Curtain walls are typically designed with extruded aluminium members. and to limit exposure of frame seals and insulating glass seals to wetting. to control industrial machinery and processes. Recoating with an air-dry fluoropolymer coating is possible but requires special surface preparation and is not as durable as the baked-on original coating. CAx]). properly designed and installed. Exposed glazing seals and gaskets require inspection and maintenance to minimize water penetration. Factory applied fluoropolymer thermoset coatings have good resistance to environmental degradation and require only periodic cleaning. as well as benefits such as daylighting. CAM. automation greatly reduces the need for human sensory and mental requirements as well. and operable windows or vents. cooling. Removal and replacement of perimeter sealants require meticulous surface preparation and proper detailing. and its own dead load forces.

degreasing. Sources . disinfecting. pesticides. Many roles for humans in industrial processes presently lie beyond the scope of automation. the use of humans is more cost-effective than mechanical approaches even where automation of industrial tasks is possible. referred to as programmable logic controllers (PLCs). paint strippers. and.and long-term adverse health effects. and language production ability are well beyond the capabilities of modern mechanical and computer systems. Examples include: paints and lacquers. EPA's Office of Research and Development's "Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) Study" (Volumes I through IV. completed in 1985) found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside. they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them. some of which may have short. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. correction fluids and carbonless copy paper. graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives. building materials and furnishings. such as scents and sounds. Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. currently require human expertise. when they are stored. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. and photographic solutions.Automation plays an increasingly important role in the global economy and in daily experience. as do many cleaning. cosmetic. Specialised hardened computers. This leads to precisely controlled actions that permit a tight control of almost any industrial process. Paints. Tasks requiring subjective assessment or synthesis of complex sensory data. In many cases. permanent markers. cleaning supplies. office equipment such as copiers and printers. Human-level pattern recognition. and hobby products. and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. to some degree. TEAM studies indicated that while people are using products containing organic chemicals. are frequently used to synchronize the flow of inputs from (physical) sensors and events with the flow of outputs to actuators and events. VOCs include a variety of chemicals. An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. and wax all contain organic solvents. as well as high-level tasks such as strategic planning. Engineers strive to combine automated devices with mathematical and organizational tools to create complex systems for a rapidly expanding range of applications and human activities. varnishes. language recognition. regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas.

 Use household products according to manufacturer's directions. headache. As with other pollutants. stored fuels and automotive products. and central nervous system. Do not store opened containers of unused paints and similar materials within the school. dry-cleaned clothing. visual disorders. cleansers and disinfectants. fatigue. loss of coordination. and memory impairment are among the immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure to some organics. emesis. cancer in humans. some are suspected of causing. and other solvents. levels may be 1. not much is known about what health effects occur from the levels of organics usually found in homes. During and for several hours immediately after certain activities.  Search EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) (a compilation of electronic reports on specific substances found in the environment and their potential to cause human health effects)  Drinking Water regulations . the extent and nature of the health effect will depend on many factors including level of exposure and length of time exposed. If not possible to remove. The ability of organic chemicals to cause health effects varies greatly from those that are highly toxic. Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctival irritation. . reduce exposure by using a sealant on all exposed surfaces of paneling and other furnishings. headaches. damage to liver. At present. wood preservatives. Formaldehyde. Some organics can cause cancer in animals. epistaxis.Contaminant Specific Fact Sheets: Volatile Organic Chemicals  Review information on VOCs in water sources developed by the U. such as paint stripping. Use integrated pest management techniques to reduce the need for pesticides. to those with no known health effect. hobby supplies. nausea. and if possible. Geology Survey's National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program and their Toxic Substances Hydrology Program: Toxic Program Research on VOCs Levels in Homes Studies have found that levels of several organics average 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. dyspnea. Health Effects Eye. kidney.000 times background outdoor levels. paint strippers. is one of the few indoor air pollutants that can be readily measured. or are known to cause. nose. headaches.S. aerosol sprays. and throat irritation.Household products including: paints. Identify. moth repellents and air fresheners. Steps to Reduce Exposure Increase ventilation when using products that emit VOCs. dizziness. dizziness. Many organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals. Eye and respiratory tract irritation. remove the source. one of the best known VOCs. some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans. declines in serum cholinesterase levels. Meet or exceed any label precautions.  Make sure you provide plenty of fresh air when using these products. allergic skin reaction. nausea. nose and throat discomfort.

Potentially hazardous products often have warnings aimed at reducing exposure of the user. think about organizing one. Keep exposure to benzene to a minimum. Throw away unused or little-used containers safely. Throw away partially full containers of old or unneeded chemicals safely. use indoors only if the area is well ventilated. and aerosol spray paints. The main indoor sources of this chemical are environmental tobacco smoke. Carefully read the labels containing health hazard information and cautions on the proper use of these products. providing for maximum ventilation during painting. and discarding paint supplies and special fuels that will not be used immediately. If no such collection days are available. . Buy limited quantities. Keep exposure to perchloroethylene emissions from newly dry-cleaned materials to a minimum. Because gases can leak even from closed containers.  Keep out of reach of children and pets.) Do not simply toss these unwanted products in the garbage can. Benzene is a known human carcinogen. and kerosene for space heaters or gasoline for lawn mowers. paint strippers. use them to dispose of the unwanted containers safely. if a label says to use the product in a well-ventilated area. stored fuels and paint supplies. this single step could help lower concentrations of organic chemicals in your home. For example. Methylene chloride is known to cause cancer in animals. Consumer products that contain methylene chloride include paint strippers. Also. buy in quantities that you will use soon. open up windows to provide the maximum amount of outdoor air possible. Find out if your local government or any organization in your community sponsors special days for the collection of toxic household wastes. go outdoors or in areas equipped with an exhaust fan to use it. such as paints. Actions that will reduce benzene exposure include eliminating smoking within the home.  Never mix household care products unless directed on the label. If such days are available. Keep exposure to emissions from products containing methylene chloride to a minimum. methylene chloride is converted to carbon monoxide in the body and can cause symptoms associated with exposure to carbon monoxide. and automobile emissions in attached garages. buy only as much as you will use right away. Otherwise. (Be sure that materials you decide to keep are stored not only in a well-ventilated area but are also safely out of reach of children. If you use products only occasionally or seasonally. Follow label instructions carefully. adhesive removers. Use products that contain methylene chloride outdoors when possible.

Some dry cleaners. VOCs. and includes suggestions for remedial action.S. and sick building syndrome. biological pollutants.1 ppm. Addresses the health problems that may be caused by contaminants encountered daily in the home and office. SICK BUILDING Introduction The term "sick building syndrome" (SBS) is used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a . Taking steps to minimize your exposure to this chemical is prudent.75 ppm. Recent studies indicate that people breathe low levels of this chemical both in homes where dry-cleaned goods are stored and as they wear dry-cleaned clothing. OSHA has adopted a Permissible Exposure Level (PEL) of . This booklet was coauthored with the American Lung Association. Additional Resources Indoor Air Fact Sheet No. provides a diagnostic checklist and quick reference summary. Dry cleaners recapture the perchloroethylene during the dry-cleaning process so they can save money by re-using it. try a different dry cleaner. If dry-cleaned goods have a strong chemical odor when you pick them up. Organized according to pollutant or pollutant groups such as environmental tobacco smoke.Sick Building Syndrome Explains the term "sick building syndrome" (SBS) and "building related illness" (BRI).5 ppm. a specific VOC. Consumer Product Safety Commission. HUD has established a level of . April 1991] Indoor Air Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals Assists health professionals (especially the primary care physician) in diagnosis of patient symptoms that could be related to an indoor air pollution problem. as a carcinogen. and an action level of 0. do not remove as much perchloroethylene as possible all of the time. If goods with a chemical odor are returned to you on subsequent visits. In laboratory studies. and provides general solutions for resolving the syndrome. it has been shown to cause cancer in animals. and the U. OSHA regulates formaldehyde.Perchloroethylene is the chemical most widely used in dry cleaning. Also includes references for information contained in each section. Standards or Guidelines No standards have been set for VOCs in non industrial settings. this booklet lists key signs and symptoms from exposure to these pollutants. do not accept them until they have been properly dried.4 ppm for mobile homes. Based upon current information.  HTML Version  [EPA 402-F-94-004. describes building investigation procedures. it is advisable to mitigate formaldehyde that is present at levels higher than 0. however. 4 (revised) . the American Medical Association. and they remove more of the chemical during the pressing and finishing processes. Discusses causes of sick building syndrome.

. or throat irritation. A 1984 World Health Organization Committee report suggested that up to 30 percent of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be the subject of excessive complaints related to indoor air quality (IAQ). e. SBS and BRI are associated with acute or immediate health problems. chills. See www. but some buildings have long-term problems.epa. job related stress or dissatisfaction. In contrast. chest tightness. or may be widespread throughout the building.building.  The cause of the symptoms is not known. Frequently.. and other psychosocial factors. These may include an illness contracted outside the building. eye. The complaints may be localized in a particular room or zone. nose. and are therefore not considered to be among the causes of sick buildings. Sometimes indoor air problems are a result of poor building design or occupant activities.g. but no specific illness or cause can be identified. and sensitivity to odors.. Indicators of SBS include:  Building occupants complain of symptoms associated with acute discomfort. dizziness and nausea.epa. Often this condition is temporary. The following have been cited causes of or contributing factors to sick building syndrome: . It is important to note that complaints may result from other causes. acute sensitivity (e. fever. difficulty in concentrating. Indicators of BRI include:  Building occupants complain of symptoms such as cough. This is not to say that the latter are not serious health risks. and muscle aches  The symptoms can be clinically defined and have clearly identifiable causes. dry cough. allergies). studies show that symptoms may be caused or exacerbated by indoor air quality problems.  Most of the complainants report relief soon after leaving the building.. headache. both should be included in any comprehensive evaluation of a building's IAQ. dry or itchy skin. radon and asbestos cause long-term diseases which occur years after exposure. problems result when a building is operated or maintained in a manner that is inconsistent with its original design or prescribed operating procedures. fatigue. Causes of Sick Building Syndrome A Word About Radon and and www. the term "building related illness" (BRI) is used when symptoms of diagnosable illness are identified and can be attributed directly to airborne building contaminants.g.  Complainants may require prolonged recovery times after leaving the building.

and viruses are types of biological contaminants. Carbon Monoxide. For example. Respirable Particles. other toxic compounds. carpeting. or insulation. can come from unvented kerosene and gas space heaters. For example. Chemical contaminants from indoor sources: Most indoor air pollution comes from sources inside the building. plumbing vents. Legionella. or where water has collected on ceiling tiles. ventilating. building ventilation standards called for approximately 15 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of outside air for each building occupant. and respirable particulate matter. pollen. nitrogen dioxide. fireplaces and gas stoves. In many cases these reduced outdoor air ventilation rates were found to be inadequate to maintain the health and comfort of building occupants. Nitrogen Dioxide. Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recently revised its ventilation standard to provide a minimum of 15 cfm of outdoor air per person (20 cfm/person in office spaces).. bathrooms and kitchens) can enter the building through poorly located air intake vents. pollutants from motor vehicle exhausts. and other openings. and some are known carcinogens. Research shows that some VOCs can cause chronic and acute health effects at high concentrations.g. and building exhausts (e. national energy conservation measures called for a reduction in the amount of outdoor air provided for ventilation to 5 cfm per occupant. Top of page Building Investigation Procedures . see VOCs. Low to moderate levels of multiple VOCs may also produce acute reactions. has caused both Legionnaire's Disease and Pontiac Fever. molds. chest tightness. combustion products can enter a building from a nearby garage. including formaldehyde. In addition. These elements may act in combination. These contaminants may breed in stagnant water that has accumulated in ducts. Even after a building investigation. Sometimes insects or bird droppings can be a source of biological contaminants. humidity. and cleaning agents may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). muscle aches. Physical symptoms related to biological contamination include cough. fever. manufactured wood products.Inadequate ventilation: In the early and mid 1900's. the American Society of Heating. adhesives. Inadequate ventilation. is thought to be an important factor in SBS. however. and allergic responses such as mucous membrane irritation and upper respiratory congestion. primarily to dilute and remove body odors. Biological contaminants: Bacteria. which may also occur if heating. pesticides. woodstoves. Formaldehyde. For more information. however. see Biologicals and Mold. carpeting. and air conditioning (HVAC) systems do not effectively distribute air to people in the building. and may supplement other complaints such as inadequate temperature. Chemical contaminants from outdoor sources: The outdoor air that enters a building can be a source of indoor air pollution. humidifiers and drain pans. Environmental tobacco smoke contributes high levels of VOCs. as well as respirable particles. For more information. One indoor bacterium. Combustion products such as carbon monoxide. copy machines. As a result of the 1973 oil embargo. or lighting. In an effort to achieve acceptable IAQ while minimizing energy consumption. upholstery. windows. Up to 60 cfm/person may be required in some spaces (such as smoking lounges) depending on the activities that normally occur in that space (see ASHRAE Standard 62-1989). chills. the specific causes of the complaints may remain unknown.

e. the investigator may have sufficient information to formulate a hypothesis. it seldom provides information about possible causes. An indoor air quality investigation procedure is best characterized as a cycle of information gathering. the investigator should move on to collect additional information to allow formulation of additional hypotheses. Although air sampling for contaminants might seem to be the logical response to occupant complaints. Top of page Solutions to Sick Building Syndrome Solutions to sick building syndrome usually include combinations of the following: . and determine the most appropriate corrective actions.g. steps should be taken to ensure that it does not recur. However. and see if the problem is solved. or if initial tests fail to reveal the problem. The process of formulating hypotheses. and. and air movement. identify the cause of the complaint.The goal of a building investigation is to identify and solve indoor air quality complaints in a way that prevents them from recurring and which avoids the creation of other problems. To achieve this goal. temperature. relative humidity. It generally begins with a walkthrough inspection of the problem area to provide information about the four basic factors that influence indoor air quality:  the occupants  the HVAC system  possible pollutant pathways  possible contaminant sources. test the hypothesis. The initial walkthrough should allow the investigator to develop some possible explanations for the complaint. If it is. While certain basic measurements. it is necessary for the investigator(s) to discover whether a complaint is actually related to indoor air quality. At this point. hypothesis formation. The walkthrough itself entails visual inspection of critical building areas and consultation with occupants and staff. and evaluating them continues until the problem is solved. identifying key individuals needed for information and access. Air sampling should not be undertaken until considerable information on the factors listed above has been collected. and any sampling strategy should be based on a comprehensive understanding of how the building operates and the nature of the complaints. if insufficient information is obtained from the walk through to construct a hypothesis. CO2. notifying occupants of the upcoming investigation. and hypothesis testing. identifying known HVAC zones and complaint areas. Preparation for a walkthrough should include documenting easily obtainable information about the history of the building and of the complaints. testing them. sampling for specific pollutant concentrations is often not required to solve the problem and can even be misleading. Contaminant concentration levels rarely exceed existing standards and guidelines even when occupants continue to report health complaints.. can provide a useful "snapshot" of current building conditions.

Particle control devices such as the typical furnace filter are inexpensive but do not effectively capture small particles. and printing facilities. management. and maintenance personnel fully communicate and understand the causes and consequences of IAQ problems. respirable particles but are relatively expensive to install and operate. or to solve them if they do. Several of these options may be exercised at one time. institution of smoking restrictions. but these devices can be expensive and require frequent replacement of the adsorbent material. but have limited application. solvents. and allowing time for building materials in new or remodeled areas to off-gas pollutants before occupancy. Increasing ventilation rates and air distribution often can be a cost effective means of reducing indoor pollutant levels. venting contaminant source emissions to the outdoors. and use of these pollutant sources during periods of non-occupancy. adhesives. high performance air filters capture the smaller. Mechanical filters do not remove gaseous pollutants.. (For a more detailed discussion of ventilation. however. IAQ can be improved by operating the HVAC system to at least its design standard.Pollutant source removal or modification is an effective approach to resolving an IAQ problem when sources are known and control is feasible. Local exhaust ventilation is particularly recommended to remove pollutants that accumulate in specific areas such as rest rooms. Some specific gaseous pollutants may be removed by adsorbent beds. In many buildings. When building occupants. local exhaust ventilation may be appropriate to exhaust contaminated air directly from the building.g. In sum. When there are strong pollutant sources. and pesticides in well ventilated areas. e. many systems are not operated or maintained to ensure that these design ventilation rates are provided. at a minimum. read Fact Sheet: Ventilation and Air Quality in Offices) Air cleaning can be a useful adjunct to source control and ventilation but has certain limitations. replacement of water-stained ceiling tile and carpeting. HVAC systems should be designed. Education and communication are important elements in both remedial and preventive indoor air quality management programs. to meet ventilation standards in local building codes. periodic cleaning or replacement of filters. they can work more effectively together to prevent problems from occurring. air cleaners can be useful. and to ASHRAE Standard 62-1989 if possible. . copy rooms. Examples include routine maintenance of HVAC systems. storage and use of paints.