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#046 Sustainability ♻️

Updated: Jun 26, 2022

Hi folks 👋

This week’s post will be on Sustainability! I did struggle writing this post so a lot of the information is derived from a bit of research! I have linked to the source articles where available.

I would highly advise you to go through the candidate guide and the QS pathway guide to understand the basic requirements.

DISCLAIMER: The following is not an exhaustive set of notes, but it's an attempt to help those who, like me at the beginning, did not know where to start! Please feel free to let me know if I have said anything incorrect or out of date!

So what is Level 1 Sustainability all about?

The RICS note that to demonstrate competence at Level 1, you need to demonstrate your ability to:

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of why and how sustainability seeks to balance economic, environmental and social objectives at global, national and local levels in the context of land, property and the built environment.

The principles of sustainability within development and the construction process

  • What does Sustainable Construction mean?

    • According to CHAS Sustainability is about creating projects which have positive outcomes for society and the environment. Sustainable construction has the following goals:

    1. sourcing renewable and recyclable resources and reusing materials where possible to avoid sending waste to landfills.

    2. having a positive impact on wider society by creating good jobs and providing skills training, responsible approaches to human rights and modern slavery in supply chains, and greater encouragement of diversity and inclusion.

    3. targeted outcomes associated with a circular economy and net-zero emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The relationship between property and the environment

How national and international legislation, regulations and taxation relating to sustainability affect construction

Criteria by which sustainability is measured in relation to finished buildings

  • There are several frameworks available to assess sustainability:

    • The Passivhaus Trust is an independent, nonprofit organisation that provides guidance on low energy design standards.

    • BREEAM is another sustainability assessment method for environment construction, including new builds and refurbishment of existing infrastructure.

    • ISO 14001 certification demonstrates a commitment to reducing the negative impacts of construction on the environment and improving sustainability in line with the Environmental Management System’s requirements.

    • The Common Assessment Standard is the industry gold standard for 12 key areas of risk management. A focal point of the review of risk in the Common Assessment Standard is health and safety.

The principles of how design, technology and construction processes can contribute to sustainable building

  • According to Andrew Sadler, there are 7 principles of sustainable construction which contribute to a greener built environment whilst helping reduce our overall carbon footprint:

    1. sustainable design

    2. durability

    3. energy efficiency

    4. waste reduction

    5. indoor air quality

    6. water conservation

    7. sustainable building materials

The principles of material resource efficiency within the supply chain

  • The BRE Group define material resource efficiency as ‘doing more with less. This means using material resources in the most sustainable way whilst minimising their environmental impact.

    • This can be done by doing the following:

    • Using fewer materials.

    • Optimising the use of materials.

    • Preventing waste.

    • Using materials that are reclaimed or that have a higher recycled content.

  • The preferred option is not to produce waste, followed by reuse, recycling, and then disposal.

Design considerations – site, location, building form, materials, lighting, ventilation, heating, water and drainage.

  • Site and Location: The location of a built asset affects a range of environmental factors, which is why it's crucial to consider it very early! Here is an article which delves into this further.

  • Building Form: Building envelope is a key element to address environmental concerns, as it is responsible for thermal transfers to the outdoors, causing energy demand and carbon emissions. It also requires cladding, thus consuming a significant amount of finite resources. Here is an article which discusses this further.

  • Materials: Eco materials are environmentally friendly materials which have a low environmental impact with respect to their production and maintenance. Here is an article which discusses this further.

  • Lighting: In general, an efficient lighting system is one that requires the least energy. Here is an article which discusses LED lighting systems: How Does LED Lighting Help the Environment? - UK Energy Lighting

  • Ventilation: A sustainable ventilation system is one which provides superior thermal performance, and high levels of air tightness whilst not compromising the supply of fresh air. Here is an article which discusses this further.

  • Heating: Sustainable heating considers how heat can be generated for a built asset whilst using less energy and reducing waste. Here’s an article which discusses this further.

  • Water and Drainage:

    • Water - A sustainable water supply refers to finding reliable approaches to human needs for water that do neither exhaust the water sources and the local economy nor have a long-term negative impact on the environment - here is an article that discusses this further.

    • Drainage - Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) are a natural approach to managing drainage in and around properties and other developments. SuDS work by slowing and holding back the water that runs off from a site, allowing natural processes to break down pollutants. Here is an article which discusses this further.

Sources of renewable energy and energy recovery

  • A renewable energy source means energy that is sustainable - something that can't run out, or is endless, like the sun. When you hear the term 'alternative energy' it's usually referring to renewable energy sources too. It means sources of energy that are alternative to the most commonly used non-sustainable sources - like coal.

    1. Solar energy

    2. Wind energy

    3. Hydro energy

    4. Tidal energy

    5. Geothermal energy

    6. Biomass energy

  • Energy recovery from waste is the conversion of non-recyclable waste materials into usable heat, electricity, or fuel through a variety of processes, including combustion, gasification, pyrolization, anaerobic digestion and landfill gas recovery. This process is often called waste to energy. Here is an article that discusses this further.


That’s all for this post folks, any queries just drop me a message!

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