Sustainable Building Intro Essay
“Sustainable building” is the design and construction of buildings using methods and materials that are resource efficient and that will not compromise the health of the environment or the associated health and well-being of the building’s occupants, construction workers, the general public, or future generations. Sustainable building involves the consideration of many issues, including land use, site impacts, indoor environment, energy and water use, solid waste, and lifecycle impacts of building materials.
In this thesis, the concept, benefits, and history of sustainable building are discussed. Empirical data, along with information from secondary sources, are then presented regarding: (a) the barriers to more widespread sustainable building practice; and (b) non-regulatory government programs with educational and economic strategies, as well as public-private collaborative efforts, that have been or might be effective in lowering the primary barriers.
The data presented in this thesis are mainly derived from interviews and from responses to a questionnaire that was developed for this research project. The questionnaire was completed by architects, engineers, contractors and builders, developers, and consultants who have a strong interest or involvement in the field of sustainable building.
The primary barriers to more widespread sustainable building practice, as identified by questionnaire respondents, are: (1) a lack of interest in or demand for sustainable building from clients (owners/developers), (2) a lack of training and education in sustainable design/construction, (3) the failure of service fee structures to account for the recovery of long-term savings, and (4) the higher costs (both real and perceived) of sustainable building options. The work concludes with recommendations for government action.