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The Importance of Sustainable Building
Using eco-friendly methods and practices
importance of sustainable building

The Importance of Sustainable Building

By nature, the construction industry is a dominant consumer of minerals and natural resources, however, in recent years, concern over its true environmental impact has only grown.

With climate change on the rise and legislation evolving by the year, now more than ever, the design and creation of sustainable buildings is a key consideration for self-builders and construction companies alike.

Contributing to a greener future and reducing our own ecological footprint won’t only achieve an economically sustainable building for the individuals involved – but will also support the greater movement of stopping climate change. Want to take a step in the right direction? Here’s what individuals and companies can do, within the industry or when undertaking their own sustainable construction, to make a positive impact – no matter how small.

What is sustainable building?

Sustainable building, also known as green building, involves the conscious effort to change the structure and living habits of those occupying, typically, new and urban developments.

As a part of this effort, throughout a building’s life-cycle (including planning, design, construction and maintenance) environmental and resource-efficient processes are put in place to ensure the end result is as sustainable as possible. Whether this be changes made to existing properties or building from scratch, implementing green and eco-friendly materials and systems where possible greatly influences the impact a building has on the environment – typically for the better. Some characteristics of green buildings and construction factors recognised by LEED, include:

what is sustainable building
Choice of location
Building in environmentally stable areas with a reliable public transport service, will alleviate the effect car emissions have on the atmosphere when private cars are used
Efficient water use
Minimising a construction’s water consumption and the installation of economical water systems will help protect and maintain aquatic ecosystems and drinking water resources
Materials and resources
Using sustainable materials as much as possible and integrating recycling systems can reduce wasted resources - during and post-construction
Indoor quality
Air cleanliness, noise pollution and thermal control should be considered for any occupants of the building

Energy and atmosphere
Using renewable energy wherever possible, such as active and passive solar power to generate energy, assists in reducing grid consumption and pollution from fossil fuels

What are the benefits of sustainable building methods?

There are many benefits of creating sustainable a building, both for its surrounding environment and occupants. Whether the end result is a domestic build or a piece of commercial infrastructure, using an eco-friendly approach to construction and beyond can impact and assist in these factors:

Cost effective
The return on investment with sustainable building is certain, even though upfront costs may be slightly higher than conventional building methods. Renewable energy will remove rising energy costs from your concern and even, for example, see reimbursed funds for your contribution to the energy grid from solar power, should you choose to use or install panels.
Enhanced quality of life
Sustainable buildings not only better the environment, but also the living and working conditions for its habitants. Using design elements such as windows allows for increased natural lighting, improved thermal performance and upgraded air conditions will help to aid in health, stress and overall quality of life.
Environmental protection
The aim of sustainable construction is to conserve natural resources and, where possible, help to reverse the effects of global warming. Building in ecologically fragile areas such as built-up urban developments with sustainable methods and systems can assist in the rejuvenation of the surrounding environment.

Achieving an eco-friendly build

Sustainable building, also known as green building, involves the conscious effort to change the structure and living habits of those occupying, typically, new and urban developments.

The housing industry is inevitably growing along with the population, contributing to unfortunate global climate change. More now than ever, it is important to mindfully choose building systems and materials to help bring sustainable building forward as a solution.

Achieving a sustainable build, or even optimising an existing property can seem like a large undertaking – but is often more than worth the work. Our experts suggest using a framework in the design and creation process, allowing for sustainable building improvements to be made at every stage of construction. BREEAM’s standards and categories, in particular, can be used as a guide or auditing tool, offering overviews of low-impact design, carbon emissions reduction, design durability and adaptation to climate change.

sustainable building

How to build sustainably

When building from scratch, you can factor a few things into your design to ensure maximum sustainability; whether that be materials, or practices used. Involving these practices will protect the building from increasing energy prices and will provide a long-lasting, efficient home for those living or working within.

Simple steps many homeowners are taking to help reduce energy consumption and cost include improving insulation and airtightness. Ensuring that your property or new build is not draughty or poorly insulated will increase its thermal, environmental and economical value. Sheep’s wool is an incredibly effective insulation material whilst being sustainable and renewable.
Natural light
The use of natural light through large windows and skylights will also see a beneficial impact by way of minimising electrical energy consumption, especially through the summer months when days are lighter for longer. Enhanced light isn’t only better energy-wise - the health benefits of increased light include a boost in productivity, overall happiness and exposure to vitamin D.
Waste management
Having a robust waste management policy or plan in place will ensure that the amount of unused materials is kept to a minimum and that any present are disposed of efficiently. From ordering the correct amount of goods for the job/project to re-using and recycling scrap stock wherever possible, being mindful of how you utilise materials will help you achieve a sustainable build.
Build systems
Sustainable building methods should be considered when planning and designing take place. Using build systems that have no or little carbon footprint, will be the ultimate first step to an environmentally-friendly build. The building material with the lowest CO2 cost is timber frame, which is a stable system in the industry. Using green materials such as recycled metals, reclaimed wood, and recycled stone will also offer a sustainable yet durable structural build.
To maintain a sustainable building, on-site systems should be installed to carry forward an eco-friendly lifestyle. Solar panels, heat pumps and rainwater harvesting are ways to create a self-sustainable home that gives back to the environment and homeowner. For example, with the use of solar panels, you will be able to produce your own electric energy to heat your home and water whilst producing no greenhouse gasses or contributing to global warming.

Contact us

M Jarrald knows the importance of sustainable building and how conscious, small decisions can make big impacts on the environment. Using eco-friendly build methods and construction systems is worth looking into and how you can implement them into your home too – existing or new builds!

Want to know how we can assist with your eco-friendly build? Get in touch today and discuss with our friendly team what M Jarrald can do for you.