Sustainable Architecture – Some important considerations

Sustainable Architecture - Some important considerations

The environmental sensitivity and commitment to sustainability have gained an important role in the world, is today a growing social demand and business case for all types of products.

This added value of sales has prompted developers and engineers to use the adjective ecological or sustainable in a building by simply having placed solar panels or heat reducers.

“It is called sustainable or sustainable architecture for a way to make the architectural design sustainable, seeking to use natural resources in ways that reduce the environmental impact of buildings on the environment and inhabitants.”

It is easy to say that a building is sustainable, but is much more difficult to prove, although the deregulation of these concepts in our industry makes them especially attractive for use without any qualms, unscientific and inconsistently.

“Everything that is not measured is to review” sums up this problem, because if we do not have a level playing field, about benchmarks and a system of homogeneous measure for comparing between different similar products, hardly able to “certify” a building when it comes to their environmental impacts.

For starters, you need to define what is a sustainable building, assess what the impacts are, what are the benchmarks … and with these clear premises which can establish the absolute impact of a building are and / or how much is sustainable a building or a reference to another reference.

The thresholds set by the regulations are clear and should consider the minimum reference, not sustainability objectives of the sector.

Since 2007, there is an energy certification , compulsory and available to buyers for new buildings, which classifies them from point A to point G of more or less efficient, which is the result of the transposition of the European Directive 2002 / 91 / EC the Spanish State with the RD47 / 2007.

Now, here they are valued only the energy consumption in the use phase, leaving all other stages of the construction process on the sidelines, leaving the distance to measure the impacts of the building.

We must go further and respond to the social demand defining objective parameters that allow certify the sustainability of a building in an objective, simple and easy to understand for users.

The European Union already defined, and the conference of housing ministers ano2002 established the way forward with procedures and methodology of LCA (Life Cycle Analysis).

The pyramid shows the accompanying processes established procedure, that part of the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) used in the construction that we provide relevant information as to the impacts of materials.

Are the data contained in the DAP applied to all materials that comprise the building which will allow us a correct and accurate assessment of the building in this area. And determine the economic cost of implementing a unit price to a measurement state building, we determine the environmental cost impact applying unit instead of the same measurement taken.

Another thing are the impacts that occur in the stages of construction, use and deconstruction, it is also necessary to identify and measure accurately (in terms of energy use phase already have advanced the energy certification required).

This is a great puzzle in which we have to go all the pieces fitting. This done, we will be able to compare one building to another accurately and objectively. Unfortunately, today the sector does not have all the information necessary to rigorously apply these procedures.

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