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Environmental Sustainability in Construction

In Australia epitomized vitality of a structure is huge several of yearly working vitality devoured, it ranges from 10 for regular residences to more than 30 for place of business. There are several steps, architects can take to make significant upfront impacts on the design and construction process. A typical home should be redesigned to get drop down of energy consumption and carbon emissions, considered Melbourne climate (Australia Zone-6).

1. Minimizing embodied energy and carbon by using low carbon building materials:

A research states the embodied energy of the construction material used in a building can sometimes equal or more than the operational energy over the building’s entire life time. We can control carbon emission by,

  • Energy preservation
  • Keep the use of high energy materials under control
  • Minimizing transportation while maximum use of local materials and resources
  • Decentralizing production as well as maximizing use of skills available locally
  • Utilizing industrial and wastage from mine
  • Recycling of building materials
  • Making use of renewable energy resources

So it is very critical to consider the materials while construction. The following structural materials can be replaceable over regular construction materials.

a. Blended cements:

This can be created by utilizing corresponding hardening materials (CCM, for instance, fly flotsam and jetsam, silica rage, granulated slag and responsive rice husk debris and so on. Mehtha presented a guide for acceptability of overall solid industry. He foreseen CO2 outpourings from solid industry to diminish unquestionably by 2030 by using blended cements. CO2 emanations will be at 940x106 tones by 2030 which will be same as emanations recorded for the year 1990, anyway there will be a huge augmentation in the full scale volume of concrete devoured.

b. Stabilizing mud blocks for masonry:

Burnt clay blocks are fundamentally produced by consuming at high temperatures of handled dirt which grant high vitality. Whereas stabilizing mud blocks are eco friendly, energy efficient, and good alternative to traditional burnt clay bricks. These are solid blocks manufactured by compacting sand, water, soil, cement and stabilizer like gypsum as additive.

Advantages of stabilizing mud blocks are,

  • These are energy efficient as they need no burning. Nearly 60-70% energy saving compared to clay.
  • Decentralizing production means, production onsite is possible.
  • We can also add other industrial wastes by replacing some amount of cement. Industrial solid wastes like stone quarry, dust, flyash etc. can be added.

c. Compacted flyash blocks:

A mix of flyash, lime and stone smasher buildup can be compacted into high thickness squares. Lime reacts with flyash minerals forming water insoluble bonds offering solidarity to squares. These reactions are deferred at encompassing temperatures (approx. 300C) and can be stimulated by steam soothing or using included substances like phosphor-gypsum which is also a mechanical waste.

Advantages of compacted flyash blocks are,

  • These are eco-friendly as all the materials used are naturally occurring or wastes produced by other industries.
  • Decentralizing of production is possible. Can be produced on site for tiny scale works.

d. Rammed earth walls:

It is a strategy of cultivating strong dividers by compacting prepared soil in dynamic layers in a transitory homestead work. In the event that stabilizer like concrete/gypsum included as an added substance these are called settled smashed earth dividers. Un-stabilized rammed earth walls:

These are zero carbon emission option because these are produced by compacting the natural occurring materials soil, sand and gravel. But the thickness of constructed wall should be minimum of 400mm. otherwise erosion makes the wall collapse.

Stabilized rammed earth walls:

These are made from adding an additive like cement/lime in addition to sand, soil and gravel. These types of walls majorly seen in Australia, USA and Europe etc.

Benefits of stabilized rammed earth walls are,

  • Materials of low energy intensity
  • Locally available materials
  • Reusable materials
  • More strength and
  • Less thickness

National average input-output analysis depicts that the direct energy of traditional residential constructions is approximately 3% of the total energy consumption. The life cycle energy consumption can be calculated by the given formula.

LCE=Ei+Erec+(OE*building life time)

LCE=Life cycle energy consumption

Ei =Initial emboided energy of the building, the total energy consumed to extract raw materials, manufacture and transport products and components assemble and constructions

Erec=the energy that is required to maintain a building and repair or replace its materials and components.

OE=operational energy used for heating, lighting, refrigiration, cooking appliances and equipments.

By seeing the given figure and information the following considerations are made.

Annual operational energy consumption is assumed constant. The temperature considered for heating and cooling by the air conditioner were taken as 240C and 180C respectively. And the time taken by the operation of the appliances is typical value as 18hours/day. The input-output analysis gives the initial emboided enrgy for the given different materials were.


 Energy emissions(MJ/Kg)

Carbon emission(Kg CO2/Kg)
















Plaster walls(1:3)






The total calculation of energy is seen in excel document.

2. Minimizing operating energy consumption by appliances:

Power costs have risen fundamentally year on year, to where it is the essential average cost for basic items worry for Australians. Therefore the following steps should be practiced to minimize the operating energy.

  • Unplug all electric appliances when they are idle and not in use. Some of appliances like microwave, Television, computer and some washing machine have feature called ‘stand by’ mode which means they are still using energy still they are not in use.
  • Buy only appliances which are energy efficient which can be identified with energy rating.
  • Incorporate more day lighting into your home.
  • Using LED lamps and bulbs which uses low energy to operate.

By seeing the model of the house given the applances observed are the air conditioners and exhaust fan. The operational energy is calculated by considering peak working hours 18 hours/day.The operational energy consumption can be calculated by the following expression.

OE(inKg of CO2)=Consumption of energy(KWh/Year)* Emission factor

The air conditioner of 1.5 ton is assumed to be operated at temperature set points of 18 and 230C. The energy consumption by such should be 10.512MKWh/year.

The emission factor is considered as 1.17

As the energy consumption of an exhaust fan is little it is neglected.

3. Minimizing operating energy consumption and emission by heating and cooling:

  1. Insulating ceiling or Roof top keeps the house within pleasant temperature range during winter and summer.
  2. Avoiding installing down lights. They uses lot if electric energy and also causing heat loss by penetrating the insulation and ceiling. CFL (Carbon Fluorescent Lights) bulbs are considerable alternative for ceiling.
  3. Shading to windows will help to avoid entering of heat into house.
  4. Using ceiling fans instead of ai conditioners will not only minimize the energy consumption also minimizes carbon emissions. Otherwise use air conditioners only when ever need.
  5. Planting trees will provide cool atmosphere around the house.

5. Design considerations in hot climate zones of Australia(Berlin):

Main Characteristics of Hot Zone

  1. Higher level of humidity with a degree of ‘dry season’
  2. Diurnal (day–night) temperature range
  3. To regulate seasonal temperature variation
  4. Moderate to high temperatures round the year

Key Design Objectives

Residences in mentioned atmospheres utilize significantly more vitality to accomplish warm solace than residences with a similar NatHERS star rating in increasingly amiable atmospheres. It is in this way basic to utilize plan procedures that lessen cooling vitality use to accomplish comparable carbon decreases. For instance, a 6 star residence in Darwin utilizes more than twofold the vitality of a 1 star residence in Brisbane, and a 9 star residence in Wyndham (WA Kimberley area) utilizes about equivalent to the Brisbane 1 star residence.

One of three peculiarly unique structure approaches should be picked at the start of the plan procedure. Each produce an out and out various game plan that is as often as possible difficult to change later on.

  • Free running: These structures should not be formed (absolutely warmed or cooled). Limitless air improvement from whirlybird ventilators, fans, stack ventilation and cross-ventilation is central.
  • Conditioned: These structures must be all around secured and fit to be made fixed shut while shaping is running. Both inner and outward development issues should be tended to.
  • Hybrid design: These structures fuse cooled, secured focus rooms in the point of convergence of the house (for instance a Television space) for top burden periods, included by free running spaces.

Unconditioned resting comfort is a fundamental structure thought in both adjusted and cream plan moves close.

Design Consideration

  • Orientate the structure to misuse cooling breezes, position organizing and storage facilities to channel breezes over, under and through the structure (see Orientation and Passive cooling).
  • Prioritise plan for evening time comfort.
  • Provide concealed open air living zones.
  • Locate pools and spas on the northern side of the structure where they are covered in the hot moist season and warmed during the dry season.
  • Roof fans installation in all rooms.

Windows and shading

  • Shade all windows and dividers, including south-bound, with extended rooftop where possible or vertical covering where not.
  • Use low sunlight based warmth gain coefficient (SHGC) coating (see Glazing).
  • Use multiple layers of rooftop and roof protection to make an impact of unidirectional valve.
  • Insulate divider inner surfaces well from any outside heated mass (for instance block facade).
  • Exclude sun powered radiation from windows, rooftop and dividers.
  • Conceal the entire structure with a fly rooftop.


  • Refer to Insulation for proper protection levels in every atmosphere zone.
  • Avoid protection to dividers and roofs with the exception of inadapted spaces.
  • Ensure rooftop spaces are well ventilated with whirlybirds or fans and plan for buildup expulsion.
  • Insulate raised floors with shut cell mass protection to resist upward warm stream and buildup.
  • Line open ventilated spaces with intelligent foil protection.

In conditioned building

  • Avoid abuse of coating.
  • Condition simply fundamental rooms in tendency to the entire house
  • Design to suit both internal and outward buildup (any place muggy warm air initially meets a cooler surface).
  • Provide roof fans in molded spaces — they give successful cooling when molding brings down dampness.
  • Use the most elevated vitality evaluated molding machines and introduce brilliant control frameworks and a variable yield speed blower to augment productivity (see Heating and cooling).
  • Design cooled spaces to be closed, forestalling loss of cooling when running.
  • Use low U-esteem coating to stay away from surrounding or directed warmth increase or cooling misfortune (see Glazing).
  • Use inside warm mass dividers encompassing adapted focal centers for brilliant cooling of connecting unconditioned resting spaces.

In free running structures

  • Use 100% openable windows, like louver or casement.
  • Locate resting spaces in lower levels.
  • Empower normal breeze stream with huge, raised level openings.
  • Use no warm mass completes in resting spaces to forestall brilliant warmth at sleep time.
  • Maximise outer divider regions (plans with one room profundity are perfect) to support cross-ventilation.
  • Elevate working to allow wind current underneath floors.

Construction Systems

  • Use lightweight (low mass) development (see Thermal mass).
  • Use light hued intelligent materials remotely.
  • Design and work for cyclonic conditions.

References for Environmental Sustainability in Construction

Albatayneh, A., Alterman, D., Page, A., & Moghtaderi, B. (2018). The significance of building design for the climate. Environmental and Climate Technologies, 22(1), 165-178. https://doi.org/10.2478/rtuect-2018-0011

The assessment of embodied energy in typical reinforced concrete building structures in Ireland. (n.d.). ScienceDirect.com | Science, health and medical journals, full text articles and books. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378778809003090?via%3Dihub

Design for climate. (n.d.). | YourHome. https://www.yourhome.gov.au/passive-design/design-climate

Evaluation of material selection on the initial embodied energy value of low-middle apartment in Indonesia. (n.d.). ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335081649_Evaluation_of_Material_Selection_on_the_Initial_Embodied_Energy_Value_of_Low-Middle_Apartment_in_Indonesia

Hanifah, Y., Dwika Reztrie, N., Ramadhan, T., & Larasati, D. (2019). Evaluation of material selection on the initial embodied energy value of low-middle apartment in Indonesia. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 294, 012036. https://doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/294/1/012036

Life cycle assessment. (n.d.). Designing Buildings Wiki. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Life_cycle_assessment

Pomponi, F., Wolf, C. D., & Moncaster, A. (2018). Embodied carbon in buildings: Measurement, management, and mitigation. Springer.

Suzuki, M., & Oka, T. (1998). Estimation of life cycle energy consumption and CO2 emission of office buildings in Japan. Energy and Buildings, 28(1), 33-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0378-7788(98)00010-3

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Building and Construction Assignment Help

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