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Sustainable Construction

As the population grows civilization must find ways to expand without depleting resources allowing later generations to live comfortably. Green building is an idea evolving from this need. One concept of green building is sustainable construction. This is an on the rise ecofriendly method of construction intended to reduce negative impact on our environment throughout the building process and a structures life cycle. Obtaining sustainable developments calls for strict coordination from the architects, engineers, and owners. The process begins with locating a site best fit for the project. During construction there will be change to the surrounding ecosystem there beforehand. Good planning can play down effects of developing land. Designers utilize natural resources to minimize damage to environment. The sun and wind can be energy sources in a building. Specialist in heating and air, water, and electric install systems to reduce energy use. With a little more time and planning sustainable construction can help ensure the population develops responsibly bettering the environment for the future population. Land development as you might expect disturbs an environment displacing species and entire ecosystems. Sustainable construction attempts to do this with minimal impact by taking more concern in the planning processes. A protection plan can be put together for vegetation and trees. Trees can be transplanted to other sites where needed such as a park or community space. Site access plans appropriate areas for traffic and storage units as well as deems places sensitive and prohibits activity where necessary. Environmental specialist will survey areas to determine water run-off possibilities. Toxins are to be kept from slipping into natural water sources. Erosion can be problematic as well to the environment and must be kept in check. The best and easiest way to accomplish this would be to change as little as possible. Design the project to fit the sites context: its topography, soils, drainage patterns, and natural vegetation. Minimize the area of construction disturbance and limit the removal of vegetation cover. (Kibert 140) Where needed, silt fences can provide added help to stop erosion. Any soil removed can be stockpiled and used during the project as needed or moved to different locations for use. Plans to reduce dust, smoke, and odours are prepared along with noise pollution plans. The environment will be effected by construction taking place but considering all options to minimize effects is what makes a project green. After site preparation construction on the quarters may begin. Materials must be chosen for the building process and play a large role in the sustainability of a unit. Taken into account when figuring a materials quality is: the amount of energy used to produce the material, impact on environment from extraction, toxicity of the material, transportation from manufacturing and delivery, and the degree of pollution left at the end of its useless life. (Roaf, Fuentes, Thomas 39) Designers must design the units to minimize energy usage. How much energy is spent heating and cooling the house can vary significantly depending on the layout. Design must be done to allow the deconstruction process of a unit to be friendly environmentally using non toxic and recyclable material. Termed Design for Disassembly (DfD), deconstruction is the whole or partial disassembly of buildings to facilitate component reuse and materials recycling DfD is the deliberate effort during design to maximize the potential for disassembly, as Sean Latimer 25th March 2012

opposed to demolishing the building totally or partially, to allow the recovery of components for reuse and materials for recycling and to reduce long-term waist generation. (Kibert 258) After a structure is complete adding heating and air units properly can save a bunch of energy. Saving energy is vital to sustainable construction. A great deal of energy is used heating and cooling homes, apartment complexes, offices, and schools each day leaving a lot of energy to cut back. HVAC vents should be insulated properly as they are usually found in areas such as attics and roofs where solar heat can spike temperatures. Solar heating through rooftop panels when in prime locations can provide up to eighty percent of heating needs.

Future generations will depend greatly on our decisions going forward today. The earth and its resources are not sufficient to replenish itself at the rate we are consuming land and material. Sustainable construction can be one of the largest factors in reserving our environment tapping in to great minds to solve energy problems. This concept has been around for several decades and is evolving rapidly and blindly as it deals with the future and unknown. Curriculum is being designed today to push forward ideas into the new breed of builder. Teaching about sustainable development is also technically challenging it involves dealing with the future, with uncertainty and with problems that have no right answers. (Smith 5-6) Cost efficiency was the early downfall of the sustainable development movement but that is changing fast. New technology is pioneering green building. New materials are developed each year that are better biodegradable and less harmful to human health. When it is time to build make sure to look into sustainable construction and be not afraid to try something new. Future generations are depending on us. Works Cited Kibert, Charles J. Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery Second Edition. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008. Roaf, Sue, Manuel Fuentes, Stephanie Thomas. Ecohouse: a Design Guide. Woburn, MA: Architectural Press, 2001. Smith, Maggie. Greener schools: The curriculum: Our collective social responsibility: Schools are in a unique position in which they can model good practice and increase awareness of sustainable development. The Guardian (London)-Final edition July 8th 2008: 5-6.

Sean Latimer

25th March 2012