Sustainable Construction Practices and Waste Management: A Case Study


Added on  2019-09-26

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BNV 7036 SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION: SHANE MADZIMAIntroductionThe construction industry in the UK utilizes over 400 million tonnes of construction material each year. This makes it the largest consumer of natural resources. To reduce the impact of this resource usage on the environment, the industry is encouraged to look at using recycledmaterial where possible and also consider the lifecycle impacts of materials from extraction to their disposal. There is substantial evidence that links climate change to activity in the construction industry therefore a mix of top-down approaches such as legislation and directives and bottom-up approaches such as assessments methods need to be combined in order to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, (O’Malley et al, 2014). Furthermore buildings are responsible for almost half the country’s carbon emissions (Strategy for Sustainable Construction, 2008). However, construction plays a pivotal role in promoting sustainability by reforming its practices. This text shall highlight the benefits and limitations ofthree sustainable construction practices and also outline the opportunities they bring as well as the threats to their success. The BREEAM Assessment has rendered greater sustainability in the construction arena. The focus on the methodology is basis the innovation strategy being deployed to a greater extent.Natural stoneAbout natural stoneThe use of natural stone dates back to the Neo-lithical era and it is the world’s oldest and most enduring building material. Megalithic temples of Malta, formerly known as Ggantija temples, built of limestone, are said to be the oldest stone structures in the world (Gesimondo and Postel, 2011). One of the enduring qualities of stone is the preservation of architectural history. Stone is formed naturally over a millennia years through varying climatic conditions and planetary changes. The properties of stones are different and are dependent on several factors which include mineral composition, formation and chemistry (Gesimondo and Postel, 2011). The drivers of using stone as a building materialNatural stone mirrors the mechanisms of the earth therefore making it a sustainable construction material that offers solidity, quality and prestige whilst remaining friendly to the environment (Stone Federation, 2011). Stone has environmentally friendly qualities in that it is natural and does not need any chemical during its formation and it is therefore non-toxic (Chaussemier, M. et al., 2015). Natural stone is durable and the durability characteristic is Page1 | 13
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BNV 7036 SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION: SHANE MADZIMAevident in stone structures that have stood for centuries such as the Maiden Castle in Dorset. It is a low maintenance material, which fills space with sense of permanence and luxury despite how elegant or rustic the finish (Gesimondo and Postel, 2011). There are three categories of stone namely; Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic. Igneous stone is formed by molten rock lava (magma) under the earth’s surface which slowly cools down and becomes solid (Gray, 2015). Granite is an example of an igneous stone and its qualities include beauty, durability and ease of cleaning. These characteristics make granite an excellent sustainable construction material (Natural Stone Council (NSC)). Sedimentary rockis a soft, fairly porous stone, formed from sediments of pre-existing rock that build up on the sea bed until they are compacted and forming layered rock (Gray, 2015). Limestone and sandstone are examples of sedimentary rock and their characteristics of adaptability and versatility makes them suited to various architectural styles and use as cladding, roofing and flooring materials (NSC). Metamorphic rock is a hard, non-porous stone formed from pre-existing rock that has been altered by intense heat. Marble and slate are examples of metamorphic rock (Gray, 2015). This type of rock is commonly used as statues, baths, roofing and flooring. Stone is also good as it is fireproof, vermin proof and bug free and has long lifespan. Stone is brought to its finer levels from its natural course texture as it ages thus becoming glossier. Surfaces such as cleft slate are fit for places where slip resistance isthe primary concern and are only maintained by regular sweeping. Stone has good resale value and enhances aesthetic appeal to the exterior and interior of any building (Watson andWatson, 1981). When compared with other building materials, it has been established that stone (granite, sandstone and slate) has less carbon footprint (see figure 1) and this points to its sustainability qualities (Stone Foundation, 2011). According to a study by the Universityof Bath in collaboration with the Stone Federation, it was established that quarrying sandstone and granite processes used less energy than the production of brick or concrete material proving its advantage over other building materials.Page2 | 13
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BNV 7036 SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION: SHANE MADZIMAThe limitations of using stone as a building materialThe disadvantage of natural stone’s naturalistic characteristic is that it needs to be quarried, dressed and transported thereby potentially harming the environment. In addition, stones arenot easily available in all parts of the country therefore transportation will be a requirement threatening the intention of reducing carbon emissions. However, carbon emissions as a result of unnecessary transport journeys can be mitigated by utilising local stone for areas where stone is available and therefore it is the duty of the PM to encourage local procurement. In addition, because of it being natural, stone can be difficult to identically match especially tiles or slabs during construction or for replacement (Watson and Watson, 1981). Stone is a labour and time consuming material especially when walling and cladding (Murray-White, 2015). Miglio et al (1997), highlights that some stones such as limestone weather over time and its colour mellows causing discolouration. In mitigation, these health issues can be minimised by using stones with less concentrations of silica, safe storage of clean and contaminated clothing and ensuring dust control measures and equipment in perfect working condition (Health and Safety Executive). The management helps prevent waste water entering the water supply and also reduces expenses (NSC, 2008; GWP, 2009).Page3 | 13
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BNV 7036 SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION: SHANE MADZIMABuilding Research Energy Efficiency Assessment Method (BREEAM)BREEAM was introduced in 1990 by British Research Establishment (Ding, 2008). Achievingsustainability in construction has been a priority for the construction industry in last few yearsand reducing energy consumption in the construction and management of buildings became paramount in order to reducing the negative impact on the environment, (Roderick et al, 2009). The impact of construction and eco-modelling of building materials captured the attention of building professionals around the world therefore building performance and environmental performance assessment have emerged as major issues in attaining sustainability in construction, (Ding, 2008). Systems such as BREEAM have been developedto evaluate how successful any project is with regards to balancing energy usage, environment and ecology, social and technological aspects of a building, (Ding, 2008). The leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in the USA and Green Star in Australia (O’Malley et al, 2014) stand to be of great significance. BREEAM standard requirements are embedded from the design stage of a project through to completion with assessments at different stages of the project (Taylor and Pimeo, 2015).Benefits of using BREEAMBREEAM addresses health and wellbeing by adhering to criteria set in the variety of schemes one might choose to implement for example ecological value and green spaces arepromoted by the use of BREEAM and this improves better air quality, general wellbeing and reduces urban heat islands, (Taylor and Pimeo, 2015). BREEAM’s objectives allow corporate sustainable objectives to be demonstrated by organisations (BREEAM, 2011) thusforming part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR).Using BREEAM offers occupier benefits such as good indoor quality as well as resource efficiency, for example, water and energy. Economic benefits include that those properties that are BREEAM certified command higher rentals and purchase prices than those without the certification. BREEAM certified buildings are highly marketable because of their sustainability performances and their risk premium is low (Griffiths, 2011). The initial high cost of BREEAM will be counterbalanced by cost savings through reduced energy and water. BREEAM’s other advantages include that it can be tailored to individual buildings because of the variety of schemes available, it is robust, increases marketability and it is popular (Williams and Clear, 2015). An indirect benefit of BREEAM is that it has the potential to bring about teamwork anddialogue between various sectors of the industry in achieving a common goal, (Lowe and Page4 | 13
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