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Ethics in Sustainability in Green Construction

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1 Ethics in Sustainability in Green Construction
Jin-Lee Kim, Ph.D., P.E. Civil Engineering & Construction Engineering Management California State University, Long Beach

2 What is Sustainable Development?
is defined as “…meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” (Known as Our Common Future, Bruntland Report, 1987) Fundamental concepts of sustainable development (1) Intertemporal or intergenerational considerations (2) Responsibility of one generation to future generation (3) Rights of future generations vis-à-vis a contemporary population

3 What is Sustainability in Green Construction?
An integrative effort to transform the way built environments are designed, constructed, and operated Life Cycle of Built Environment Integrative Approach Costs and Benefits

4 Why is sustainability in green construction necessary?
Primary energy use % Electricity consumption % CO2 emissions % Potable water consumption % Global CO2 emissions by sector #1 Buildings #2 Transportation #3 Industry

5 Why is sustainability in green construction necessary?
Green buildings can reduce Energy use ~50% CO2 Emissions ~39% Water use % Solid waste % Green occupants are healthier & more productive In the U.S., people spend, on average, 90% or more of their time indoors Have better indoor air quality & lighting

6 How to define sustainable construction?
Phase Resources Principles Land Materials Water Energy Ecosystems Planning Development Design Construction Use & Operation Maintenance Modification Deconstruction Reduce Reuse Recycle Protect nature Eliminate toxics LCC Quality

7 Triple Bottom Lines for Sustainable Development
Economic Prosperity Environmental Stewardship Social Responsibility To establish metrics and rating systems for measuring buildings

8 The Structure of Matter & the Material World
“In short, physics has discovered that there are no solids, no continuous surfaces, no straight lines; only waves, no things only energy event complexes, only behaviors, only verbs, only relationships.” By R. Buckminster Fuller, mathematician and engineer (Ref.: Fuller, Buckminster Intuition. 2nd Edition, San Luis Obispo, California: Impact Publishers.)

9 Basic Concepts and Vocabulary
Industry Ecology The study of the physical, chemical, and biological interactions and interrelationships both between and among industrial and ecological systems

10 Basic Concepts and Vocabulary
Construction Ecology A subcategory of industrial ecology for built environment (1) Has a closed-loop materials system integrated with eco-industrial and natural systems (2) Depends on renewable energy sources (3) Fosters the preservation of natural system functions Application of these principles (1) Are readily deconstructable at the end of their useful lives (2) Have components that are decoupled from the building for easy replacement (3) Are composed of products designed for recycling (4) Are built using recyclable, bulk structural materials (5) Have slow “metabolisms” due to their durability and adaptability (6) Promote the health of their human occupants

11 Basic Concepts and Vocabulary
Biomimicry The direct application of ecological concepts to the production of industrial objects Design for the Environment (DfE) = Green design Environmental considerations into product and process engineering procedures, considering the entire product life cycle Front-loaded design The investment of greater effort during the design phase to ensure the recovery, reuse, and/or recycling of the product’s components E.g. design for disassembly, recycling, reuse, remanufacturing, etc.

12 Basic Concepts and Vocabulary
Ecological Economics The relationship between human economies and natural ecosystems Carrying Capacity The limits of a specific land’s capability to support people and their activities Ecological Footprint The land area required to support a certain population or activity The inverse of carrying capacity The amount of land needed to support a given population

13 Basic Concepts and Vocabulary
Ecological Rucksack and MIPS To quantify the mass of materials that must be moved in order to extract a specific resource Ecological Rucksack of Some Well-Known Materials Material Ecological Rucksack Rubber 5 Aluminum 85 Recycled aluminum 4 Steel 21 Recycled steel Platinum 350,000 Gold 540,000 Diamond 53,000,000

14 Basic Concepts and Vocabulary
Ecological Rucksack and MIPS Materials Intensity per Unit Service (MIPS) Measures how much service a given product delivers The higher or greater the service, the lower the MIPS value An indicator of resource productivity, or eco-efficiency

15 Basic Concepts and Vocabulary
The Biophilia Hypothesis An innate love for the natural world, supposed to be felt universally by humankind Nine values of biophilia offering a broad design template for sustainable building (1) Utilitarian value (2) Aesthetic value (3) Scientific value (4) Symbolic value (5) Naturalistic value (6) Humanistic value (7) Dominionistic value (8) Moralistic value (9) Negativistic value

16 Basic Concepts and Vocabulary
Eco-Efficiency Seven elements of eco-efficiency (World Business Council on Sustainable Development) 1. Reducing the material requirements of goods and services 2. Reducing the energy intensity of goods and services 3. Reducing toxic dispersion 4. Enhancing materials recyclability 5. Maximizing sustainable use of renewable resources 6. Extending product durability 7. Increasing the service intensity of goods and services

17 Basic Concepts and Vocabulary
The Natural Step A framework for considering the effects of materials selection on human health Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) A method for determining the environmental and resource impacts of a material, a product, or even a whole building over its entire life Life-Cycle Costing (LCC) A building’s financial performance over its life cycle Can be combined with LCA to consider both impacts

18 Basic Concepts and Vocabulary
Embodied Energy The total energy consumed in the acquisition and processing of raw materials, including manufacturing, transportation, and final installation Products with greater embodied energy have higher environmental impact due to the emissions and GHG A truer indicator of the environmental impact = The embodied energy / the product’s time in use More durable products will have a lower embodied energy per time in use

19 Basic Concepts and Vocabulary
Factor 4 and Factor 10 A set of guideline for comparing design options and for evaluating the performance of buildings and their component systems Factor 4 Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use Suggests reducing resource consumption to one-quarter of its current levels Factor 10: a parallel approach to Factor 4 Reducing resource consumption by a factor of 10

20 Major Environmental & Resource Concerns
Major environmental issues connected to built environment design and construction Climate change Ozone depletion Soil erosion Desertification Deforestation Eutrophication Acidification Loss of biodiversity Land, water, and air pollution Dispersion of toxic substances Depletion of fisheries

21 Major Environmental & Resource Concerns
1. Climate Change and Ozone Depletion Climate change Long-term fluctuations in temperature, precipitation, wind, and all other aspects of the Earth’s climate Ozone depletion Caused by the interaction of halogens-chloine- and bromine-containing gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) use in refrigeration and form blowing, and halons used for fire suppression

22 Major Environmental & Resource Concerns
2. Deforestation, Desertification, and Soil Erosion Deforestation Large-scale forest removal Desertification The destruction of natural vegetative cover Soil Erosion A key factor in land degradation

23 Major Environmental & Resource Concerns
3. Eutrophication and Acidification Eutrophication The overenrichment of water bodies with nutrients from agricultural and landscape fertilizer, urban runoff, sewage discharge, and eroded stream banks Acidification The process whereby air pollution in the form of ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides, mainly released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, is converted into acids The resulting acid rain makes damages to forests and lakes

24 Major Environmental & Resource Concerns
4. Loss of Biodiversity The variety and variability of living organisms and the ecosystems in which they occur 5. Toxic Substances and Endocrine Disruptors Toxic substances A chemical causing death, disease, behavioral abnormalities, cancer, genetic mutations, physiological or reproductive malfunctions, or physical deformities in any organism or its offspring, or that can become poisonous after concentration in the food chain or in combination with any other substances Endocrine-disrupting chemicals Interfere with the hormones produced by the endocrine system (e.g., dioxin, various pesticides, etc.) 6. Depletion of Metal Stocks

25 Why do we need ethics in sustainable development?
Ethics must be broadened to address relationships between people by providing rules of conduct that are generally agreed to govern the good behavior of contemporaries In the context of sustainable development and sustainable construction, a more extensive set of ethical principles is required to guide ethical behavior

26 What ethical challenges do we face in sustainable development?
To make decisions about how to move forward to sustainable development over the generations (1) An ethical framework that represents society’s general moral attitudes toward life and future generations (2) An understanding of and willingness to accept risk (3) The economic costs of implementation and resulting impacts

27 Ethical principles 1 Intergenerational Justice & the Chain of Obligation
The concept that the choices of today’s generations will directly affect the quality and quantity of resource remaining for future inhabitants of Earth and environmental quality This concept will include parent’s responsibility for enabling their offspring to meet their moral obligations to their children and beyond

28 Ethical principles 2 Distributional Equity (Distributive Justice)
An obligation to ensure fair distribution of resources among present people in order to address the life prospects of all people on Earth For example, resources include materials, land, energy, water, and high environmental quality Six sub-principles in this concept: Difference principle Resource-based principles Welfare-based principles Desert-based principles Libertarian principles Feminist principles

29 Ethical principles 3 Precautionary Principle
This principle requires the exercise of caution when making decisions that may adversely affect nature, natural ecosystems, and global biogeochemical cycles Global climate change is an excellent example of the need to act with caution, which is the hottest topic in sustainability in green construction The fundamental premise is that those who are responsible for implementing technologies must be prepared to address the consequences of their implementation

30 Ethical principles 4 Reversibility Principle
It is notable that decision made by current generations can be undone by future generations This principle is related to the precautionary principle in that the criteria must be observed before any adoption of a new technology Like the precautionary principle, the fundamental premise of this principle is that those who are responsible for implementing technologies must be prepared to address the consequences of their implementation

31 Ethical principles 5 Polluter Pays Principle and Producer Responsibility
Polluter pays principle addresses existing technologies that have not been subject to these other principles, while producer responsibility addresses whole life-cycle environmental problems of the production process from initial minimization of resource usage to recovery and recycling of products from waste Mitigating damage and consequences on the individuals causing the impacts

32 Ethical principles 6 Protecting the Vulnerable
There are vulnerable due to the destruction of ecosystems under the guise of development, introduction of technology, and general patterns of conduct Toxic substances, endocrine disruptors, and genetically modified organisms are examples of technology introduction To name a few, the examples of general patterns of conduct include war, deforestation, soil erosion, eutrophication, desertification, and acid rain This ethical principle is vital because an enormous responsibility is placed on Earth’s present population

33 Ethical principles 7 Protecting the Rights of the Nonhuman World
The extension of the principle of protecting the vulnerable to plants, animals, bacteria, viruses, mold, and other living organisms Humans should consider restoring nature in all our activities, righting the wrongs of the past, and restoring the badly needed link between humans and nature

34 Ethical principles 8 Respect for Nature and the Land Ethic
An ethics of respect for nature is based on the fundamental concepts that humans are members of the Earth’s community of life, all species are interconnected in a web of life, each species is a teleological center of life pursuing good in its own way, and human beings are not superior to other species

35 Nature’s Conscious Representatives
“In the end We will conserve only what we love, We love only what we understand, We will understand only what we are taught.” By Baba Dioum, Senegalese Ecologist (Ref.: Baba Dioum, Senegalese Ecologist. He is the General Coordinator of the Conference of Ministers of West and Central Africa, and organization that represents 20 African countries. This quote is taken from a speech made in New Delhi, India, to the general assembly of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.)

36 Reading Assignments for Technical Report
Eisenberg, David and Reed, William “Regenerative Design: Toward the Re-Integration of Human Systems with Nature.” IAEA, Ethical considerations in protecting the environment from the effects of ionizing radiation, International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, VIENNA. Dwivedi, O. P “An ethical approach to environmental protection: a code of conduct and guiding principles,” Canadian Public Administration, 35(3), pp Peterson, Gary “Ecology of Construction,” in Construction Ecology: Ecology as the Basis for Green Buildings, Charles J. Kibert, Jan Sendzimir, and Bradley Guy, eds. London: Spon Press. Wang, Wilfried “Sustainability is a Cultural Problem,” Harvard Design Magazine, Spring/Summer 2003, No. 18. Goodin, Robert E “Ethical Principles for Environmental Protection,” in Environmental Philosohpy, R. Elliot and A. Gare, eds. London: Open University Press. Angyal, Thomas J “Thomas Berry’s Earth Spirituality and the ‘Great Work,’” The Ecozoic Reader, 3, pp Berry, Thomas “Rights of the Earth: Earth Democracy,” Resurgence, 214, pp Leopold, Aldo A Sand County Almanac. New York: Oxford University Press. Taylor, Paul W “The Ethics of Respect for Nature,” Environmental Ethics, 3, pp Fuller, Buckminster Intuition. 2nd Edition, San Luis Obispo, California: Impact Publishers. Our Common Future, Bruntland Report, UN World Commission on Environment and Development, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Howarth, Richard B “International Justice and the Chain of Obligation,” Environmental Values, 1, Isle of Harris, U.K.: White Horse Press. Center for Community Action and Environmental Justices, accessed from Drexler, K. Eric Engines of Creation. New York: Anchor Books. Rochlin, Gene I “Nuclear Waste Disposal: Two Social Criteria,” Science, 195, pp

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