Global warming and environmental friendliness is always in the news and is certainly one of the most pressing subjects that needs addressing. It is one of the great challenges facing our ever growing population with climate change, depletion of resources, high levels of pollution and oil almost reaching its peak. One of the areas that faces the biggest shake up in the coming years is the building industry as there are strong links with environmental impact and the construction of new buildings.
With a growing population comes an increase in demand for resources and for everyday necessities such as energy and housing. This means demand is high but for some resources the supply is low and seemingly decreasing every day, becoming increasingly expensive. The building industry is reliant on cheap oil for everything from the manufacturing of materials and tools used in the construction (and deconstruction) of property, through to the transportation of materials. In the UK the building industry accounts for over half of the total carbon emissions that lead to climate change, due to the vast quantities of fossil fuels that are used. On top of this there is a significant amount of air, soil and water pollution caused by construction and millions of tonnes of waster put into landfill can also be accredited to the industry. Clearly there are a number of things that need to change within the industry.
Reduced dependency on fossil fuels
It is agreed by most scientists and governments all over the world that reducing our energy consumption is an essential strategy with the inevitability of declining levels of fossil fuels and the shadow of climate change globally.
By choosing to build in an environmentally friendly manner, energy is being saved. Green products have a low embodiment of energy, meaning that very small amounts of energy went into their manufacture – the use of these types of product give a direct reduction in carbon emissions. This can be further enhanced through eco-friendly designs, reducing energy consumption in a building and minimising the need for energy inputs such as heating, cooling and light. The use of energy efficient appliances on top of this means that saving energy will save an occupant money, which is key with the rising costs of energy.
Environmentally healthy homes
Going green does not just help the environment and Mother Nature, it can also develop a healthier environment to live in. The more conventional building materials have been linked to a number of health problems. These can be caused through chemical pollutants in solvents, paints, plastics and composites. There are also biological pollutants including dust mites and moulds, all of which are known to have links with illnesses such as Asthma and Eczma. Through good ventilation, breathable walls and the use of natural, environmentally friendly produced materials.
Eco is necessary
Building in an environmentally friendly manner is absolutely necessary for the future wellbeing of both the planet’s and our own wellbeing. The construction industry is starting to adopt eco-friendly practices and materials, although this needs to increase and reach a high point before there is irreversible damage to our life supporting systems – i.e. the planet. The UK Government recognises this urgency and has stated its commitment to integrating green specifications into the building regulations and codes. Outside of Government policy, it is the industry itself that needs to take the initiative and develop new and innovative ways to design and build new properties, using renewable energy resources and adopting policies on non-polluting materials. The world knows about the importance of being environmentally friendly, it is now time for the building industry to show that they do to.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the property industry – working alongside a selection of companies including Sussex-based engineering design company BSE3D, who were consulted over the information in this piece.