Sustainability consists of avoiding the depletion of natural resources in order to preserve an ecological balance in an environment. The principles of sustainability are the foundation of what the concept of sustainability stands for. Sustainability is based on three pillars: economic, social and environmental. These principles are also used informally as profit, people and planet. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency defines sustainable construction as “the practice of creating structures and using environmentally friendly and resource efficient processes throughout the life cycle of a building, implantation in the design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and reconstruction. ”
About 40% of total energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are directly due to the construction and operation of buildings. The best way to reduce this impact is to use green building construction techniques. The cement industry is one of the two biggest producers of carbon dioxide, releasing a powerful greenhouse gas. According to Umberto Berardi in his book Moving to Sustainable Buildings: Paths to Adopt Green Innovations in Developed countries, published in 2013, on page 22, “The building sector is receiving increasing attention in global sustainability policies. . The buildings are now designed with plants around them and integrating the use of renewable energies.
Sustainable architecture is architecture that seeks to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings through efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy and development space and the ecosystem in his outfit. Sustainable buildings use renewable energy and architects are now designing buildings using solar panels as roofing materials and road lights using solar energy. Sustainable development is now the navigator of construction methods for civil engineering infrastructure.
Designers incorporate natural lighting and ventilation to reduce energy consumption in their modern design. The occupancy motion detector light detects when occupants are in a room and turns off when there is no more occupant. This system will reduce energy consumption in buildings. In rooms with good daylight conditions, motion detectors should have built-in light sensors. Natural fibers from different parts of plants, such as fibers taken from the stem, leaf or seed, are tested as a reinforcing material in cement concrete.
Architects are now introducing the use of modern building materials which are consistent with durability. They are experimenting with new materials and techniques which have given them greater freedom to create new forms. In 1903-1904 in Paris, Auguste Perret and Henri Sauvage started using reinforced concrete to build apartments / residential buildings that were previously only used for industrial buildings. According to Ken Ward-Harvey in Fundamental Building Materials published in 2009, the security, stability and permanence of a building depend very much on the earth’s crust that lies just below. Sustainability in construction requires that building foundations are designed according to the geology of the site and that constructions are not oversized.
Lijuan Li in Advances in Building Materials published in 2011, page 1 said, “Currently, no one can doubt the importance of low carbon lifestyle and architecture. Many new advanced materials and technologies have been used in countries around the world during the development of low carbon architectures, some of which have had a favorable outcome, such as London’s zero carbon pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010. ”We all know that building materials are the basis of the construction industry; it costs a lot of energy. For building materials, taking the green building materials path is necessary to accommodate continued economic growth and meet the need for sustainable development.
Concrete is now recycled and reused in the construction of buildings. Aluminum envelopes filled with shredded waste are used as wall materials for the construction of prefabricated buildings. Balfour Beatty, the contractors who managed the Birmingham New Hospital project, appointed Premier Waste to handle all waste produced during construction of the hospital. Balfour Beatty approached waste reduction, recovery and management throughout the planning, design and construction stages of the project, working with subcontractors, suppliers and waste management contractors to develop and apply a range of approaches and mechanisms. From the outset of civil engineering construction, the issue of construction waste and how to recycle it is addressed.
These waste management mechanisms included: waste design; establish benchmarks and targets for the waste and recycling of materials; set the contractual requirements of subcontractors and suppliers for the production, treatment and management of waste; establish take-back programs with suppliers for specific material streams and use closed-loop recycling in the construction of “green rooms”; use an on-site waste management contractor to coordinate on-site waste management, and use off-site waste management contractors to recover the resulting sorted and mixed waste.
Civil engineering works have a crucial role to play in the sustainable development of our environment insofar as they contribute annually to around 40% of carbon dioxide emissions linked to energy. Any measure that can reduce or completely stop this emission will have an impact on climate change and the mitigation of global warming. That is why all governments are laying serious foundations for the induction of sustainable design and construction of civil engineering. The construction of civil engineering infrastructure has a direct impact on the economic, social and environmental development of nations. A good example is the role of construction in the economic, environmental and social development of Chicago in the state of Illinois in the United States of America.
- Olufemi A. Oyedele, a surveyor and real estate expert, writes from Lagos
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