Myths about sustainable construction

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Nowadays, words such as sustainability, sustainable and ecological are in vogue. We use them to talk about cooking recipes or sustainable construction. You can imagine ecological villas, vertical farms in the middle of the cities and covered buildings by plants.

We’ve gone from sci-fi to “eco fiction”. All of this commotion which actually consists in energy savings, building with reciclable materials or reduce the buildings’ carbon footprint, has some myths that we have to take into account:

Some of these myths are:

Longer construction time: construction’s duration affects directly on the project’s overall cost. This doesn’t work like this if we apply tre proper materials and technologies. As for example, fibre cement. If we combine this material with skilled labour and a suitable modulation, we can save up to a 40% of labour hours.

Quality standards: it’s said that construction materials don’t always meet the standards of sustainable construction.

Even so, materials are proven to be certified and meet the standards. Apart from that, those guarantee a good performance in terms of quality, security and resistance.

– High price:  On the other hand, it’s thought too that as those are eco-friendly, require of a higher investment due to the different technologies they present. But it’s the system the thing that has to be analyzed, the value per squared metre, the required finishings, among other factors.

–A more complex planning: it isn’t about complexity, but about setting different factors starting from the work’s design. It must be taken into account to lighting, ventilation, water and enegy resources, among them, which boost the role of sustainability.

– Sustainable Construction is the same as Ecological Construction:

There’s no relation an actual relationship between sustainable and ecological construction. Sustainable construction is much more wide. A sustainable development is understood as that one which looks for the balance between people, economy  and environment’s behalf. The ecological factor is only one of the three factors used for this kind of development, so we’re talking about a more complex and complete context, with best interests for all the involved parts.

 Which are the advantages of sustainable construction?

We’d like to point out that sustainable construction generates much more economical benefits to the architects, engineers and workers within a construction work.

For example, the demolition costs of an old construction, the new materials to use, the building’s maintenance once it’s been finished, basic services such as water, energy or gas, that is tos ay, the cost of the own construction, is much more cheap if it’s built based on the principles of sustainability.

That saving is going to last for the whole useful life of the building, as who live inside or make use of this sustainable construction will also pay lower maintenance costs. This kind of “eco-friendly” buildings are adapted to the needs of people by: making use of all the sorrounding natural water resources, installing solar panels, designing shapes to suit cross ventilation (so they don’t need furhter air conditioning systems), and using low consumption home appliances and so save costs.

This kind of construcion is the future of engineering. Not only protects your economy, but environment, comfort, health, and life quality.

Sustainability criteria and parameters:

We have to establish several basic criteria, which allow us to set feasable targets to analyze and measure at the beginning of the process and during the service life of the buildings. There are five basic criteria to establish:

  • Land’s occupancy rate
  • Contribution to climate change
  • Natural water cycle variation
  • Material loop modification
  • Living space quality

Those criteria must be launched throughout a series of parameter which will define a constructive sustainable performance.

  • The appropiate integration at the physical environment
  • Restriction of land’s using
  • Shredding reduction
  • Toxic emissions prevention
  • Elaboration of Geobiological researches elaboration
  • Natural areas and biodiversity preservation

How is it a sustainable building?

If we have to underline the main features of a sustainable building:

  • Recycling: it’s an essential factor at the time of choosing materials: tiles made from pieces of glass bottles, parquet flooring with recycled wood from other constructions, courtyard’s pavement made of old powdered and compacted tiles.
  • Water recycling: one of the main natural resources and one of the most wasted. That’s why when we start from zero, it’s essential to plan a sustainable use of the water. As for example, by recycling raw sewages, collecting rain water.
  • Solar Energy: a good investment is to acquire solar panels to get electricity, air conditioning and hot water.
  • Natural light:  The current sustainability situation, consists in constructions designed and oriented to make the most of sunlight. This reduces considerably the electricity and air conditioning consumption
  • Low-carbon materials:  All of the materials used at a home’s construction must be delivered to the placement while it’s in progress, and some of them have to be made in situ. Both transportation and materials’ manufacturing issue some certain polluting gases to the atmosphere. Sustainable building companies increasingly bet on an ecological transportation.

For further information about this subject don’t hesitate to contact us detea@detea.com .

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