Sustainable Factors Available In Construction Environmental Sciences

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Sustainable materials, technologies and energies which are suitable for domestic buildings and can reduce emissions footprint in existing and new structures significantly based on the principles of "The Code of Sustainable homes".


This Discipline research analysis will investigate the sustainable materials, technologies and energies which are available nowadays in construction. It will be focused only in domestic buildings and the needs of this category. It will be also defined the difference between a new and an existing structure needs. This topic is important and relevant to current owners and those which will live in the buildings because of the energy savings that can be earned and their part of their contribution to global warming.

There has been substantial research into this matter but because of the wide range we will be focalized at the most efficient solution for houses showing the limitations and guidelines of key tools such as "the code of sustainable homes" from BREEAM the environmental assessment method. It will also be analyzed the government and the EU policy and strategies on sustainability of buildings and also how it applies.

Every people on Earth need a place to live and in general that means a building which is constructed out of various building materials and technologies. Those buildings are commonly constructed from contractors or companies of varying sizes and the choice of them depends on constructor and client knowledge, the profit, the altruism and the final outcome. In this exact point is where this analysis takes place. It will be provide a basic up to date knowledge. A very good reason of doing that is because the construction industry many times stays out of date in new construction specs. Another argument it should be the cost of those technologies and materials which normally are more expensive than the standard ones. Smith (2004 cited in Muir 2007 p12) stated 'housing stock is the largest single cause of CO2 emissions, larger even than industry or transport.'

With this in mind, and the owners or potential new buyers where more sensitive in environmental issues than previous decades there is a need to live in a sustainable home that will also make a profit. After the catastrophic recent economic crisis which forced many construction companies go bankrupt, constructors may change their standard using sustainable solutions when designing and pricing their jobs to survive. In reality the cost of using sustainable solutions is commonly high but it's mathematically proven that sooner or later the amount which was spent will be recouped. The definition of a sustainable solution material is 'a product that should be capable of being made, used, and recycled continuously for a thousand years without negative environmental consequences' ( which can be natural or man- made materials. This research will investigate which sustainable solutions are most useful to incorporate in houses bearing in mind the cost and the time needed to re-coup those costs which is the payback time in comparison with the efficiency. The research will consists of a review of any available knowledge which has already been exist in this area and has been published in books, journals and websites. The possible research methodologies and methods that could be used to analyze data and then recommendations, lessons which had be learned and conclusions reached.

Questions that will be answered

What is BREEAM?

What is "the code of sustainable homes"?

How those tools can be used?

Which are the strategies for the reduction of carbon emissions in residential buildings?

Which materials, energies - technologies can be used in existing houses taking into account the efficiency and payback time?

Which materials, energies - technologies can be used in new house structures?

Aim / Objectives

The aim is to identify the availabilities in materials, energies and technologies that can be used to increase the green print in existing buildings and also keep low emissions or carbon free production in new residential structures. To spot, the efficiency of each sustainable technology and materials taking into account the recoup period. Identify the categories with the higher level of emissions in houses structures and try to propose solutions for the reduction of it. Analyze the strategies for reducing carbon emissions in residential buildings.

The Objectives are to:

Assess the efficiency of the different sustainable materials / technologies and the payback time.

Discover the sustainable solutions which can be used in new and existing domestic structures.

Find out how to reduce CO2 emissions in houses and which the EU and government strategies are.

Personal Motivation for conducting the research

I am viewer on the campaign which media produce to maintain a public interest for the climate changes / planet warming which affect Earth and people at present and in future. Generations in future will seriously be affected because of planet temperature rise year by year making ice in poles melting and sea level rise globally. This phenomenon exists due carbon emissions which mainly is a human creation.

Before I started my course in university I thought that the main reasons for this situation were industry (factories pollution) and transport. After a while I understand that houses and buildings in general, create significant amounts of carbon emissions because of not incorporating sustainable materials and technologies at their construction making them non energy efficient.

Because of climate change and economic crisis, people are more sensitive and more ready to integrate sustainability in their lives. As a consequence when I will enter the construction industry I will have to know the availabilities in sustainable materials and technologies and also the difference of incorporation in new and existing buildings. This research can never be complete or on date because of the loads of new materials and technologies invent and publish every year.

Finally I need to know how EU reacts on this problem and what the policy on CO2 emissions is. Moreover what is the strategy of government in UK and how people motivated to make a turn to sustainable materials and technologies.

2. Sustainability in houses construction

The construction of high efficient houses and structures in general in commonly more expensive than standard buildings using normal materials and technologies. This may exist because of the high initial cost of the products or the ignorance of the most people in construction, how the products can be installed, and as a result qualified staff will employed which can increase the cost. Nevertheless an issue stands of why the sustainable products are expensive and if people will get benefits of using them, in a long term.

In Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the United Nations decided agenda 21 for the Environment. A global plan to improve the Earth pollution issues in the 21st century by encourage the local communities in every country to act and oriented to this direction. ( ) The UN by adopting the agenda, visualized to achieve green print sustainable developments. With no influence, of sustainable solutions in structures in many EU countries including UK, that could not be feasible. As a complement another conference is taking place at the moment in Cancun in Mexico trying to find solutions on how Countries can reduce carbon emissions. It will also ask the production of schedules and plans from each country showing carbon reduction and more energy efficiency.

Since January 2008 in UK, through EU policy, an energy performance certificate (EPC) is requiring for every home which is for sale. In the EPC's it can be identified the current situation in detail, of the structure energy performance. Also a report on how energy performance can be improved and what the cost of the improvement is. Finally a calculation report of the annual savings will exist showing the profit that can be achieved after the improvements. ( By this certificate the house purchasers should have the advantage to decide for the most energy efficient home which will save them money on lighting and heating bills. They will also have proposed solutions to increase the present levels of efficiency to their decision house. The goal for both new and existing properties is to save money by using green sustainable sources which will also improve the global environmental problem. If both of these issues are essential for people the industry of construction should find solution through sustainable solution path only.

For the creation of green buildings there are many aspects which will be taking into account in addition of an acceptable result. Some of them are the orientation of the house and a well ventilation design but also eco-friendly insulation, breathable walls and the use of natural sustainable construction materials and technologies. The buying market of sources should be as much as possible from local communities. That should reduce the total cost of the materials because of the less transportation fees. If globally the transportation of materials redacts over long distances and overseas journeys a significant amount of carbon emissions and fuel cost can be earn. For statistics in Muir (2007) it was found that 75% of people were interested living in an eco-friendly home, 60% didn't know the meaning of zero carbon home, 58% worried about upkeep costs and whilst, 55% noticed that government should concentrate more to older housing making them more energy efficient rather than new ones and 27% worried about heating and property costs.

The materials and technologies in houses which will include in research are both inside and outside, including the roof. For example in internal materials category, natural insulation materials such as wool, hemp and wood fibre can be analyzed in comparison and argument with normal insulation products in efficiency, cost and payback period. The natural insulation is more efficient, sustainable and healthy and doesn't harm environment but is it also feasible because of the cost? (

An indoor technology which is essential in every building is heating. Nowadays many sustainable heating options exist. Commonly the decision for the selection is based on the limitations of the structure and the surround area scheme and if it will be installed in a new or existing building. Some of the options are ground source pumps, air source pumps and CHP boilers. Other technologies / energies that can corporate with heating systems are solar and wind power turbines.

Another part in building sustainable solutions includes installations which use recyclable materials or products. Rainwater harvesting systems, water saving / eco friendly toilets and low energy light bulbs are some of them. To understand the efficiency and bill savings that a water saving toilet can produce it is enough to be mentioned that needs 2 - 4 litres less water than a normal toilet flush and further on by using innovated dual flush technology the reduction of waste increase by up to 60%.

At last, as I previous mentioned the research will be also focused on the benefit that people will earn after the installation of the proposed products, when chronically those benefit will take place and moreover when the financial expense will be paid back.

3. Research Methodology

In dissertation it will be used the Qualitative Technique by using Archival and documentary analysis by using secondary data for books, journals and electronic resources. It will be used reviews of existing literatures from other authors which will help derive information and investigate the Government and EU strategies and also to find out the available material and technologies which can collaborate in new and existing houses. It will also use available existing statistics that can be found in addition to strengthen the result.

3.1 Probable problems and possible solutions

As with any project in real live, not everything goes well as expected when it was organized initially. To avoid the danger of non completion of the project a good planning must take place for using time efficiently and also be aware of the words limitation which can be easily overcome because of the wide area which sustainability subject covers.


The Discipline research project will analyse sustainable materials and technologies solutions that can be used in construction and the strategies that UK and EU used to make people more sensitive in environmental issues and as a result reduce their house carbon print.

Potential References and bibliography

Cavan, S. (1977) Review of J.D. Douglas (1976) Investigative Social Review: Individual and Team Field Research. The American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 83, No. 3, 809-811, cited in Cohen, L. & Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2000) Research Methods in Education. London & New York: RoutledgeFalmer).

Cohen L, Manion L & Morrison K (2001) Research Methods in Education5th Edition, RoutledgeFalmer London

Daily G (1997) Nature's service: reshaping the built environment Island Press

Diaper C, Jefferson B, Parsons A, Judd J (2007) Water-Recycling Technologies in the UK Water and Environment Journal Volume 15 Issue 4 Pages 282 - 286

Diesendorf M (2007). Greenhouse Solutions and Sustainable Energy UNSW Press, p. 86.

King P (2010) 'Sustainable construction will future-proof businesses ' article UK-GBC. accessed 0.12.10

Muir A (2007) The Social Greenhouse Effect UK: The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

Oppenheim, Questionnaire Design and Attitude Measurement, 1966, London: Heineman

Sorrell S (2002) Making the link: climate policy and the reform of the UK construction industry Environment and Energy Programme, SPRU (Science and Technology Policy), Mantell Building, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, East Sussex BNB 9RF, UK Available online 4 October 2002.

Wilson & MacLean (1994) cited in Cohen L, Manion L & Morrison K (2001) Research Methods in Education5th Edition, London: RoutledgeFalmer


Article name: Sustainable Factors Available In Construction Environmental Sciences essay, research paper, dissertation