Presentation on theme: "A (UK) European’s perspective on sustainable construction Miles Keeping Oxford Centre for Real Estate Management, School of Architecture Oxford Brookes."— Presentation transcript:
Sustainability what is it? It is commonly argued that sustainable development encompasses three issues : Environmental issues; Social issues; Economic issues Others argue meanwhile that sustainable development is not so much a three-cornered stool as something with four aspects : Environment; Equity; Public participation; Futurity So what?
Environmental issues There are many examples in the relevant literature of confusion as to the difference between sustainable development and ‘environmental stewardship’. Whenever one asks questions of investors & developers about ‘sustainability’, they often respond with answers about ‘the environment’.
Environmental issues In a survey of 100 UK investors, developers, bankers and consultants (Parnell & Sayce, 1999): –89% were quite or very concerned about the state of the environment –only 17% felt able to contribute positively to ‘environmentally-friendly’ design on a frequent basis.
Environmental issues Whereas 35% consider rents currently to be affected by ‘environmental factors’, 66% thought this would be the case in 5 years. Whereas 44% consider yields (an indication of future rental growth) currently to be affected by ‘environmental factors’, 80% thought this would be the case in 5 years.
So what are ‘green’ buildings? Choice of materials Choice of systems Choice of ‘design & layout’ Choice of location etc… Those which are assessed as being ‘environmentally friendly’
Environmental assessments & sustainability Environmental assessments of buildings fail as ‘sustainability assessments’. “… there is no guarantee that buildings which score highly against the [BREEAM] framework are making a substantive contribution to increased ‘environmental’ sustainability at a global scale.” These scales are relative, not absolute.
Sustainability assessment criteria Note the differences between the different sustainability assessment criteria in terms of depth and breadth...
Property Advisory Group (1998) Establish possible presence of contamination & need for remediation Consider environmental benefits of buildings shape, orientation & landscaping Minimise energy consumption, e.g. with lighting & boiler specification Avoid polluting gases in components Allow space for collection & use of recyclable materials
Property Advisory Group (1998) Try to avoid factors associated with ‘sick building syndrome’ Ensure compliance with developer’s environmental policy Ensure legislative compliance re. materials, waste, noise, water & air pollution
Guy & Kibert (1998) Land: Amount of brownfield land developed as proportion of site Area of green space per building area Inventory of tree cover Ratio of land area to perimeter distance of municipality Water: Total impervious surface area per unit area Per capita water consumption Consumption of recycled/reclaimed water per capita
Guy & Kibert (1998) Materials: Mass of construction & demolition waste recycled per unit area of new construction No. of historic structures Proportion of commercial buildings with inherent recycling facilities Energy: Automobile accidents per selected intersection Proportion of electricity consumption from renewable resources Toxins: Smoke-free interior environments as proportion of total area.
Curwell & Cooper (1998) Review need for the building (might refurbishment meet need more efficiently?) Audit & justify all resource inputs (e.g. land, energy & water management strategies) Minimise waste & pollution from building & development process Reduce dependency on central infrastructure (e.g. water, energy, solid waste, effluent) Assess & minimise pollution outputs to air, land & water over life cycle (e.g. construction & demolition phases)
Curwell & Cooper (1998) Cost life cycle & identify building and component lifetimes during the design stage (enable design for reuse and recycling) Replace habitats destroyed or displaced by development, reintroduce locally relevant species & introduce drought resistant species Ensure local public participation in decision- making in terms of how the building might impact upon human development aspects of Local Agenda 21
Ball (1998) Energy efficiency Bicycle/pedestrian access Environmentally sound/green materials Buying locally Retaining heritage features Water conservation Using second hand/recycled materials Local community links
DETR (2000) Investment in people & equipment for a competitive industry Achieving high growth while reducing pollution & resource use Sharing the benefits of growth widely & fairly Improving towns and cities & protecting countryside’s quality Contributing to international sustainable development Being more profitable and competitive
DETR (2000) Delivering buildings and structures that provide greater satisfaction, well-being and value to customers & users Respecting & treating stakeholders fairly Enhancing and better protecting the natural environment Minimising energy consumption and natural resources
How are (should) assessment indicators (be) drawn up? Degree of community involvement Linkage (between sustainability issues) Validity Availability & timeliness Stability & reliability Are they understandable ?
How are (should) assessment indicators (be) drawn up? Responsiveness Policy relevance Degree to which they represent relevant issues Flexibility Degree to which they are proactive Whether they focus on the long term Whether they promote local sustainability at the expense of others (globally, for example).
Conclusions? Definitions of sustainability are many, various, different. Majority of actors consider environmental issues to be the main issue. Environmental appraisals are partially useful in determining a building's level of sustainability
Conclusions? Drawing up sustainability criteria is complex. Existing criteria (whether environmental, economic, social…) should be used in conjunction. Local criteria are useful, even if relative This is the one of the most urgent issues for investors to consider… There is a growing movement to get away from the so-called Vicious Circle of Blame
Occupiers: Demand sustainable buildings Have little choice Investors: Would fund sustainable buildings Experience no demand Developers: Would ask for sustainable buildings Believe investors won’t fund them Contractors: Can build environmentally efficient buildings Do not have demand Vicious Circle of Blame
Research & sustainability How do we research sustainability without entering into the realm of guesswork? There are “inevitable tendencies of the [urban sustainability] debate to promote a utopian vision of urban futures, however one might argue that this is a tendency of any envisioning and forward looking exercise”.