The building and construction industry is an essential component to any country’s economy although it has an important effect on the environment. In accordance to size, construction is among the leading consumers of energy, water, as well as material resources and it is an arduous emitter (Wong, and Zhou, 2015, p. 156). In response to these effects, there is an increased consensus amongst organisations dedicated to environmental performance targets which advocates actions and strategies required to make construction practices more sustainable (Balaban, and de Oliveira, 2017, p. 68). Accordingly, with regard to such important impact to the building construction sector, the ecological building methodology has a greater prospective to make a notable involvement to sustainable progress. Indeed, sustainability is a complex and comprehensive model that has amplified to become a major argument in the building sector. Currently, the performance of sustainable technologies within the building industry is traditionally not entirely evaluated holistically, but only from majorly one sided issue perspective such as environmentally, or only financially. Therefore, such pr
actices are restricted in a way that they ignore the relation between technologies in the physical facility as expressed in the life cycle expenses, design objectives of the project and its shareholders, and effect on the environment may be conflicting (Kibert, 2016). Accordingly, this paper identifies the key cause-and-effect relation of chosen sustainable building technologies and presents elements of a framework for the systematic evaluation of their performance from a social, environmental, technical and economic point of view. (Research gap). The research question: What engineering approach should be applied to ensure sustainable buildings?
According to Chang, Huang, Ries, and Masanet, (2016) a construction project can only be said to be sustainable if and only if it meets the following aspects of sustainability that is social, technological, environmental and economic. Several sustainability matters are intertwined and the interaction of the building with its neighbourhood is also significant. Subsequently, the environmental matter share a common concern that entails the decline in the consumption of non-renewable resources, water, wastes, reduction in emissions as well as pollutants (Shou, Wang, Wang, and Chong, 2015, p. 293). Therefore, these objectives can be realised through a range of building sustainability assessment approaches: minimisation of energy use, use of eco-friendly materials and products, conservation and preservation of water resources and optimised operational and maintenance practices.
Harris, Shealy, and Klotz, (2016) Claim that so as to realise a sustainable future in the building sector, there is need to adopt multi-disciplinary approach including a range of aspects like advanced use of materials, energy saving, control of emissions and pollutants, and minimising waste materials. There are several approach through which the present nature of building practice can be improved and regulated to make it less destructive to the surrounding. Thus, to advance a competitive advantage by using eco-friendly building performance, the entire lifecycle of the building should be under the context that these practices are undertaken (Pearce, and Ahn, 2017). Research has highlighted a number of objectives which are supposed to shape the structure for instigating ecological building design and building while considering the ethics of sustainable concerns such as ecological, technological, social and economic aspects. As such objectives include cost efficiency, resource maintenance and design for humanoid adaptation.
Resource conservation is the practice of realising more with less which involves managing of the usage of resources by humans to give the maximum outcome to the present generation and at the same time maintaining the aptitude to attain the requirements of the upcoming generations Von (Geibler et al, 2017, p. 133). This matter has become a fierce discussion regarding sustainable development. Guo, Tian, Chertow, and Chen, (2016) asserts that some means are becoming exceptionally intermittent thus the use of the outstanding stock should be carefully handled. The building sector is the leading user of natural resources thus there is need to pursue initiatives to construct environment sustaining buildings to focus on the rising the efficiency of resource consumption (Grubler et al., 2018, p. 515). Accordingly, approaches which decline wastage of material during the process of construction and give prospects for reusing as well as reuse of construction materials contribute to enhancing efficient resource consumption. Certainly, calls for becoming resource effective has been spearheaded by the rising concern by the exhaustion of non-renewable resources. Renewable materials play a vital part in the building industry such as water, energy, material and land. The preservation of non-renewable means play a great role towards a sustainable future.
Research has shown that the use of energy is an essential environmental subject matter and managing its usage is unavoidable in any operational civilisation with houses being the predominant energy users. Building use energy in addition other resources at every phase of the construction project from inception of design and building through operations to final flattening. Chen, Lin, and Tseng, (2015) argue that the volume of energy used during the lifecycle of a construction material from fabrication process to managing of the construction resources after its end life impact on the flow of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to the air in various ways. Thus, the consumption can be immensely reduced by enhancing productivity which is an appropriate way to minimise greenhouse gas emissions. Also in the process it slow down the depletion of non-renewable energy sources. According to Giesekam, Barrett, Taylor, and Owen, (2014) building lifecycle analysis shows that operation energy accounts for approximately 80 percent of the aggregate energy use and carbon dioxide discharges of a building that come from habitation through, ventilation, cooling, heating and use of hot water (p. 202). Certainly, this comprise energy from burning of fuels like coal and oil, gas, and electricity.
The target of sustainable energy preservation is to decline the use of fossil energy and upturn the use of renewable energy resources (Weaver et al., 2017). Therefore, some of the approaches under consideration include choices of materials as well as construction techniques (Moss, and Marvin, 2016). According to Ernst et al. (2016) making right choices of materials which have low embodied energy plays a major role in declining the energy used through manufacturing, processing, and transporting the materials. Similarly, insulating the building envelope is also a significant energy conservation measure as it has the greatest expedite effect on energy consumption (Zhang, Provis, Reid, and Wang, 2014, p. 115). Planning for energy resourceful deconstruction and reusing of materials reduce the use of energy in the manufacturing which saves on natural resources (Dincer, and Acar, 2015, p. 587). Therefore, buildings designed for deconstruction should involve unravelling of systems and reductions in chemically incongruent binder cements.
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