Suatainable Measures in Construction Plans Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

A report to sustainable retrofit options for Building 15 Harris Street Ultimo Sydney 622- 632 HARRIS STREET


For sustainable future attainment within the construction sector, it is recommended that the sector adopt a multi- disciplinary strategy which takes into account numerous features including energy conservation, more efficient material utilization, emissions and pollution control, and minimization of material wastage. Construction works’ present nature may be improved and controlled by various means, with a view to making it more ecofriendly whilst not reducing construction activities’ useful output. For effectively attaining an edge over competition by employing ecofriendly construction practices, edifices’ entire life- cycle ought to form the context of performance of these practices (Akadiri et al. 2012). A literature review on the subject gleans the following three broad aims that ought to shape the basis for sustainable building planning and construction implementation;

1. Cost- effectiveness;

1. Resource conservation; and

1. Human adaptation- friendly design

Resource Conservation

This involves managing natural resources’ utilization by humanity for deriving maximum benefits from them for the present age whilst simultaneously ensuring capacity is maintained for meeting future needs. Building material waste minimization techniques and providing material reuse and recycling opportunities help improve resource utilization efficacy as well.

Energy Conservation

Energy utilization from the lifecycle standpoint encompasses embodied energy as well as that required for operations. A building’s operational energy may be defined as energy required for maintaining its internal environment. Edifices’ lifecycle analyses reveal that this form of energy makes up between 85 and 95 percent of overall energy utilization and the building’s carbon- dioxide emissions ascribed to occupancy come from heating, hot water utilization, cooling, and ventilation (Akadiri et al. 2012).

Energy may be conserved through adopting the following techniques;

1. Construction technique and material choice are crucial factors that contribute to decreasing a building’s energy utilization by means of decreased solar heat loss or gain, thereby decreasing AC loads. Selecting low embodied energy materials will facilitate reduction in energy utilized in material mining, production, processing, and transport.

1. Building envelope insulation forms the most salient energy saving technique owing to the fact that it has maximum effect on energy consumption. An effectively planned and adopted insulation may bring about a minimum 50% decrease in quantity of heat loss via the envelope (Akadiri et al. 2012).

1. Energy- saving deconstruction design and material recycling saves natural resources and reduces production- related energy utilization. Deconstruction designs include system disentanglement, mechanical, thermal or chemical methods for constituent separation, and reduced chemically disparate coatings, binders, or adhesives (Ma et al. 2012).

1. Intensive low- energy transport designs decrease emissions which lead to pollution through impacting quantity of fuel utilized. Low energy house designs ought to be used in combination with urban designs which facilitate bicycle and public transport utilization.

1. Development of energy- saving technologies for building construction, maintenance and fit- out: A genuinely integrated energy- saving approach when it comes to construction processes would require project team encouragement and efforts from the outset, for achieving target levels of energy utilization.

1. Passive energy design utilization, including natural ventilation, building orientation, landscaping through vegetation, water body utilization for cooling and evaporation, among other things, may help attain internal visual and thermal comfort whilst ensuring a significant decline in energy utilization through artificial lighting and traditional air conditioning within a building.

Materials Conservation

Natural resource mining and utilization in the form of construction materials or raw materials used to manufacture construction materials, besides manufacture of construction materials to implement building works directly affect natural biodiversity on account of natural ecosystem fragmentation by building activities.

1. Waste minimization designing. The building sector is a key generator of wastes that result in a number of environmental, economic and social issues. Waste reduction and prevention within the building construction domain has the potential to save substantial quantities of precious non- renewable resources.

1. Specifying resilient, long- lasting materials. Buildings may be made more sustainable through enhancing material durability. A system, material or constituent is deemed to be durable if its performance or service life is almost equivalent to the time needed for relevant environmental effect absorption by the surrounding ecosystem.

1. Specifying local and natural materials. The toxicity and embodied energy of natural materials is usually lower as compared to man- made ones. Use of natural materials in construction products increases product sustainability (Akadiri et al. 2012; Ma et al. 2012). Locally- sourced building material utilization may decrease environmental burdens and reduce transportation distances, thereby decreasing vehicle- generated air pollution.

1. Pollution prevention design. Pollution prevention techniques adopted in the course of production of construction materials and the building process itself may have substantial positive impacts on environmental sustainability.

1. Specifying less- toxic or entirely non- toxic materials. Such materials prove less harmful to building residents/ users and construction workers. Use of less- toxic or entirely non- toxic materials may help avoid health issues and reduce air scrubber need.

Water conservation

Frequently, the most- ignored building design plan elements are water conservation plans and technologies. Several strategies may help decrease quantity of water consumption in a building’s life cycle, including:

1. Use of water- efficient plumbing including ultra- low flow urinals and toilets, waterless urinals, low- flow showers, water- saving washing machines and dishwaters and sensored and low- flow sinks, for wastewater minimization.

1. Dual plumbing designs which utilize recycled water to flush toilets or using a grey water system which recovers non- potable water such as rainwater to irrigate sites.

1. Collecting and utilizing rainwater for irrigation purposes by installing gray water storage systems serves to substantially decrease the need for treated water consumption. Additionally, rainwater may be treated and utilized for drinking and other household purposes.

1. Employment of recirculating systems to facilitate centralized distribution of hot water; this promotes water conservation as water usually gets wasted when people wait for hot water faucets to start spouting hot water (Ma et al. 2012).

1. Design of low- demand landscaping by utilizing local, native plants serves to decrease water consumption as well, owing…

Sources Used in Document:


Akadiri, P.O., Chinyio, E.A. and Olomolaiye, P.O., 2012. Design of a sustainable building: A conceptual framework for implementing sustainability in the building sector. Buildings, 2(2), pp.126-152.

Jensen, P.A., Maslesa, E., Gohardani, N., Björk, F., Kanarachos, S. and Fokaides, P.A., 2013, June. Sustainability Evaluation of Retrofitting and Renovation of Buildings in Early Stages. In Proceedings of 7th nordic conference on construction economics and organisation (pp. 12-14).

Ma, Z., Cooper, P., Daly, D. and Ledo, L., 2012. Existing building retrofits: Methodology and state-of-the-art. Energy and buildings, 55, pp.889-902.

Pombo, O., Allacker, K., Rivela, B. and Neila, J., 2016. Sustainability assessment of energy saving measures: A multi-criteria approach for residential buildings retrofitting—A case study of the Spanish housing stock. Energy and Buildings, 116, pp.384-394.

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