Sustainable Construction Essay

2200 words - 9 pages

SUSTAINABILITY

"Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs."
-- United Nations World Commission
on Environment and Development

SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION

The construction industry has been notorious for contributing to landfills and depleting raw materials. The industry contributes
28% of landfill material from construction and demolition waste. The industry consumes 40% of the world's natural resources,
many of which may be depleted within 50 years.

Sustainable construction is concerned with preserving finite resources of raw materials by developing products and practices
that are environmentally friendly in respect to their manufacture and application. The design of the built environment is another
important factor that can contribute to excessive waste of material and energy efficiency of the building.

CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS

Manufacture

* Local products. The transporting of materials from the manufacture to the distributor and to the construction site consumes large amounts of fossil fuel. Products that are of equal quality should be purchased from the nearest supplier. Using products that are locally available can greatly reduce the fossil fuel emissions from the transport vehicles. A reduction in fossil fuel cost reduces the cost of doing business between the parties involved.
* Recycling materials.

-Preserves natural resources. Recycling materials reduces the consumption of raw materials. For example,
most metal products can be easily melted down into their base elements. The raw material can then be forged
or molded into a finished product that performs identically to new products. Wood products are another
example. Wood products and byproducts can be ground into a base fibrous material. This fibrous material can
then be combined with other substances to make fiberboard, structural laminated beams, or insulation material.
For example, Faswall is a product consisting of 90% wood fibers (mill waste) and 10% Portland Cement.
Faswall is similar to drywall, but the insulating qualities of Faswall are much higher than that of drywall.
Therefore, Faswall is more energy efficient.

-Reduces energy consumption. Embodied energy is the total energy required in manufacturing a product from
the point of extraction or harvest of the raw material through deconstruction at the end of the product life.
Recycling materials reduces the total energy required to manufacture a product because it does not require
harvesting or extraction from the Earth. For example, recycling steel and aluminum reduces the amount of
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