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Special Issue "Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment"

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A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2009)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Bart A.G. Bossink (Website)

VU University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Department of Information, Logistics and Innovation, De Boelelaan 1105, Room 5A-22, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Interests: environmentally sustainable innovation; sustainable construction; environmental design; environmental policy

Special Issue Information

Summary

Four management levels are distinguished at which the environmental sustainability of the built environment can be influenced. These are: environmental cooperation routines, environmental technology policies, environmental regulations and environmental incentives.

Environmental Cooperation Routines

Cooperation between governmental, institutional, scientific and commercial organizations can facilitate the development of an environmentally sustainable built environment in both emerging clusters of new organizations and in existing networks of established organizations. The first level at which environmentally sustainability for the built environment can be performed is the level of environmental cooperation routines between clusters of innovative organizations. The transition of industries towards sustainability is dependent upon networks of cooperating firms and institutions, and the coordination of their assets to transform traditional processes into ecologically friendly ones. Such firms rely upon daily dialogue and frequent exchange of environmental services and knowledge. The needed intensive environmental communication, environmental service provision, and environmental knowledge exchange typically takes place in specialized niches, apart from settings in which mainstream and less sustainable organizations are dominant. There is a symbiotic relationship between environmentally innovative firms, for instance in cases in which residual products of one firm can be used as raw material in another. But besides this, it is also found that mainstream organizations became more environmentally oriented in cooperation with others. Although traditionally operating industries are often resistant to greening initiatives, they are willing to change when their counterparts offer robust technologies that are capable of performing in accordance with new environmental standards.

Environmental Technology Policies

An environmentally sustainable built environment can be stimulated by a nationwide environmental technology policy in which public and private organizations cooperatively develop and execute environmental action plans. A second level at which the management of environmentally sustainability for the built environment can take place is the level of environmental technology policies that create the infrastructure in which innovative activity can emerge and be strengthened. A national environmental technology policy can play an important role in directing national industries towards environmental sustainability. A nation’s government and institutions have to develop a national innovation-policy, which induces research, invention, development and adoption of new technologies by governmental, institutional, scientific and commercial organizations. An analysis of Finnish national technology policies for example showed how environmental issues become part of a national technology policy. The Finnish integration of environmental goals in a national policy, in combination with an action and assessment program in which institutional and commercial organizations cooperated, produced considerable environmental results. In addition, the friction between sustainability as a common interest that is served by governmental, institutional and scientific organizations, and profitability as an individual interest, which is one of the primary goals of commercial organizations, is not easy to overcome. But to a certain degree it can be taken away by a national technology policy.

Environmental Regulations

Regulation can force, guide and stimulate environmentally sustainability for the built environment by cooperating firms in building. The third level at which environmentally sustainability for the built environment can take place is the level of environmental regulations. Environmental regulation can be used to force and invite organizations to increase the environmental sustainability of their operations. Although it is a common premise that regulation in terms of norms, procedures, laws and control is useful and appropriate, there is also evidence for the argument that it hinders environmental innovation. Firms, for example, react strategically to environmental regulation. They scan which competitors and counterparts in their environment respond to regulatory pressure and then decide to do it in the same way, or differently, based on their competitive strategy. In addition, firms that are confronted with environmental regulation, often just comply with the rules. They neglect sustainable options that are not part of the rules and norms and do not exceed the regulated standards. Performance standards could be introduced because these have the benefit that these just define the measures of the expected environmental performance of firms, and not the exact specifications of the applied methods and processes to achieve a certain level of environmental sustainability. There is also the possibility to use regulation that stimulates firms to embrace environmental issues as new competitive opportunities. Regulation could facilitate the development of objective data on the comparative environmental performance of organizations in the industry and stimulate and reward the most innovative organizations in industry.

Environmental Incentives

Financial incentives can support the development of environmentally sustainability for the built environment by cooperating building organizations. The fourth level at which the management of environmentally sustainability for the built environment can be situated is the level of environmental incentives that stimulate environmental innovation. Organizations primarily act on the social and economical pressure that is exerted by governments, institutions and communities. An important aspect is the stimulating effect of economic incentives on the environmental innovativeness of scientific and commercial organizations. The financial incentives of the government and institutions enable research institutes and companies to direct a part of their R&D-efforts towards the greening of their strategies, processes, products and services. Although funding and subsidies are generally stressed as means to stimulate sustainable development, it can also be argued that environmental innovation can be profitable by itself. Investments in environmental sustainability, especially in waste prevention practices, could result in decreasing costs of waste handling and emissions. But despite this, not every organization has the capability to profit from environmentally sustainable innovation. Most organizations need a strong foundation of innovative capabilities to be able to create and generate financial advantages of environmental management. When they do not have this basis, they heavily rely upon subsidies.

The special issue focuses on the state-of-the-art developments in this field. It is a theme that is of importance to both practitioners and scholars because of the increasing societal incentives to go green. The call for papers could focus on University Departments dedicated to the built environment. In the UK, USA, and Europe several departments are dedicated to this field. In addition, readership can focus on these scholars and on practitioners working for the government, institutions and commercial firms, who have to and want to innovate in the field of environmental sustainability in their planning- and building-related work.

Dr. Bart A.G. Bossink
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • environmental sustainability
  • sustainable construction
  • green building
  • environmental
  • management

Published Papers (18 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Stakeholder Engagement: Achieving Sustainability in the Construction Sector
Sustainability 2013, 5(2), 695-710; doi:10.3390/su5020695
Received: 20 December 2012 / Revised: 29 January 2013 / Accepted: 6 February 2013 / Published: 13 February 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (215 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Achieving sustainability-related targets in construction projects is increasingly becoming a key performance driver. Yet sustainability is a complex concept in projects and there are many diverse stakeholders. Some stakeholders are generally recognized as important, i.e., the client and main contractor, yet [...] Read more.
Achieving sustainability-related targets in construction projects is increasingly becoming a key performance driver. Yet sustainability is a complex concept in projects and there are many diverse stakeholders. Some stakeholders are generally recognized as important, i.e., the client and main contractor, yet there are others not always perceived as such and whose absence from the decision-making processes may result in a failure to address sustainability issues. Hence there is a need for a systematic approach to engage with stakeholders with high salience in relation to sustainability. This paper reports the results of an exploratory study involving interviews with construction project practitioners that are involved in sustainability in some way. Data were collected from the practitioners in terms of the processes for engaging with stakeholders to deliver sustainability. The data suggests six steps to a stakeholder engagement process: (i) identification; (ii) relating stakeholders to different sustainability-related targets; (iii) prioritization; (iv) managing; (v) measuring performance; and (vi) putting targets into action. The results suggest that understanding the different sustainability agendas of stakeholders and measuring their performance using key performance indicators are important stages to be emphasized in any stakeholder engagement process to achieve sustainability-related goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Designing the Future
Sustainability 2010, 2(4), 902-918; doi:10.3390/su2040902
Received: 26 January 2010 / Revised: 16 March 2010 / Accepted: 17 March 2010 / Published: 1 April 2010
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (539 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Netherlands has a tradition in public spatial planning and design. In the past 20 years, we have seen an increasing role for the market in this field, and more recently, growing attention for sustainability. Sustainability has become an economic factor. Not [...] Read more.
The Netherlands has a tradition in public spatial planning and design. In the past 20 years, we have seen an increasing role for the market in this field, and more recently, growing attention for sustainability. Sustainability has become an economic factor. Not only at the building level, but also on the level of large-scale area development projects. More and more local governments have high ambitions for sustainable development. Increasingly, during project development, buildings are developed on a sustainable basis. Most of the time, the focus in this approach is on energy. However, sustainability also comprises social aspects. Energy measures have a direct relation to an economic factor such as investment costs, and payback time can be calculated. The economic aspects of social sustainability are more complex. Therefore, for all sustainability development projects, especially in large-scale projects planned over a longer period, it is necessary to make presumptions, which are less reliable as the planning period is extended. For future larger-scale developments, experience in the Netherlands points to two design approaches: ‘backcasting’, or using a growth model (or a combination of these two). The power of design is the ability to imagine possible scenarios for the future. The layer approach helps to integrate sustainability into public spatial planning. And more specifically, Urban Design Management (UDM) supports an integrative and collaborative approach also on the operational level of a project in which public and market partners work together. This article outlines how design, based on these approaches, can contribute to sustainable development based on the ‘new playing field’, where spatial problems should be solved in networks. Dutch projects in Almere (Benoordenhout) and Rijswijk are used to illustrate this approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Carbon Efficient Building Solutions
Sustainability 2010, 2(3), 844-858; doi:10.3390/su2030844
Received: 1 February 2010 / Revised: 24 February 2010 / Accepted: 1 March 2010 / Published: 23 March 2010
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (96 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Traditionally, the Finnish legislation have focused on energy use and especially on energy used for heating space in buildings. However, in many cases this does not lead to the optimal concept in respect to minimizing green house gases. This paper studies how [...] Read more.
Traditionally, the Finnish legislation have focused on energy use and especially on energy used for heating space in buildings. However, in many cases this does not lead to the optimal concept in respect to minimizing green house gases. This paper studies how CO2 emission levels are affected by different measures to reduce energy use in buildings. This paper presents two real apartment buildings with different options of energy efficiency and power sources. The calculations clearly show that in the future electricity and domestic hot water use will have high importance in respect to energy efficiency, and therefore also CO2 equivalent (eq) emissions. The importance increases when the energy efficiency of the building increases. There are big differences between average Finnish production and individual power plants; CO2 eq emissions might nearly double depending on the energy source and the power plant type. Both a building with an efficient district heating as a power source, and a building with ground heat in addition to nuclear power electricity as a complimentary electricity source performed very similarly to each other in respect to CO2 eq emissions. However, it is dangerous to conclude that it is not important which energy source is chosen. If hypothetically, the use of district heating would dramatically drop, the primary energy factor and CO2 eq emissions from electricity would rise, which in turn would lead to the increase of the ground heat systems emissions. A problem in the yearly calculations is that the fact that it is very important, sometimes even crucial, when energy is needed, is always excluded. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Construction of an Environmentally Sustainable Development on a Modified Coastal Sand Mined and Landfill Site—Part 2. Re-Establishing the Natural Ecosystems on the Reconstructed Beach Dunes
Sustainability 2010, 2(3), 717-741; doi:10.3390/su2030717
Received: 1 February 2010 / Revised: 25 February 2010 / Accepted: 1 March 2010 / Published: 9 March 2010
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (864 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mimicking natural processes lead to progressive colonization and stabilization of the reconstructed beach dune ecosystem, as part of the ecologically sustainable development of Magenta Shores, on the central coast of New South Wales, Australia. The retained and enhanced incipient dune formed the [...] Read more.
Mimicking natural processes lead to progressive colonization and stabilization of the reconstructed beach dune ecosystem, as part of the ecologically sustainable development of Magenta Shores, on the central coast of New South Wales, Australia. The retained and enhanced incipient dune formed the first line of storm defence. Placement of fibrous Leptospermum windrows allowed wind blown sand to form crests and swales parallel to the beach. Burial of Spinifex seed head in the moist sand layer achieved primary colonization of the reconstructed dune and development of a soil fungal hyphae network prior to introduction of secondary colonizing species. Monitoring stakes were used as roosts by birds, promoting re-introduction of native plant species requiring germination by digestive tract stimulation. Bush regeneration reduced competition from weeds, allowing native vegetation cover to succeed. On-going weeding and monitoring are essential at Magenta Shores until bitou bush is controlled for the entire length of beach. The reconstructed dunes provide enhanced protection from sand movement and storm bite, for built assets, remnant significant vegetation and sensitive estuarine ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Entrepreneurship in the Dutch Construction Industry
Sustainability 2010, 2(2), 505-523; doi:10.3390/su2020505
Received: 1 December 2009 / Accepted: 22 January 2010 / Published: 4 February 2010
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (256 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article discusses the strategies that sustainable entrepreneurs use to interact with their environment in the Dutch construction industry. The Dutch construction industry is under great pressure to move towards sustainability, and entrepreneurs are believed to be able to play a large [...] Read more.
This article discusses the strategies that sustainable entrepreneurs use to interact with their environment in the Dutch construction industry. The Dutch construction industry is under great pressure to move towards sustainability, and entrepreneurs are believed to be able to play a large role in this transition by introducing new products and new business practices. But how can entrepreneurs prosper in an environment that is not geared up towards such a change? And which strategies do they use to bend conditions in their favor? In this article we make use of the Market and System Failure Framework to analyze the pressures that entrepreneurs are confronted with when introducing sustainable innovations. We recognize that these pressures can be seen as bottlenecks, but that market and system failures can also create entrepreneurial opportunities. We interviewed 16 entrepreneurs in the Dutch construction industry to determine the influences they experienced from their environment and the strategies they use to deal with these. We conclude that we can distinguish between system building and following entrepreneurs, where the former aims to build a new system to challenge the old one, whereas the latter rather makes use of existing structures to build a business. We find that both strategies can be successful and that overall, the entrepreneurs confirm the belief that sustainability on people, planet and transparency aspects, can contribute very well to the long term profitability of the businesses the entrepreneurs are running. These in-depth insights into the influences from the context on the one hand, and the entrepreneurs’ strategic reactions on the other hand, contribute to our understanding of the interactions between entrepreneurs and the system context. This can help us to more effectively stimulate and support innovating entrepreneurs to contribute to the transition towards sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Energy Renovation of Buildings Utilizing the U-value Meter, a New Heat Loss Measuring Device
Sustainability 2010, 2(2), 461-474; doi:10.3390/su2020461
Received: 15 December 2009 / Accepted: 22 January 2010 / Published: 29 January 2010
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (250 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A new device with the ability to measure heat loss from building facades is proposed. Yet to be commercially developed, the U-value Meter can be used as stand-alone apparatus, or in combination with thermographic-equipment. The U-value meter complements thermographs, which only reproduce [...] Read more.
A new device with the ability to measure heat loss from building facades is proposed. Yet to be commercially developed, the U-value Meter can be used as stand-alone apparatus, or in combination with thermographic-equipment. The U-value meter complements thermographs, which only reproduce surface temperature and not the heat loss distribution. There is need for a device that measures the heat loss in a quantitative manner. Convective as well as radiative heat losses are captured and measured with a five-layer thermal system. Heat losses are measured in the SI-unit W/m2K. The aim is to achieve more cost-effective building renovation, and provide a means to check the fulfillment of Building Regulation requirements with respect to stated U-values (heat transmission coefficients). In this way it should be possible to greatly reduce energy consumption of buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Reduction of CO2 Emissions in Houses of Historic and Visual Importance
Sustainability 2010, 2(2), 443-460; doi:10.3390/su2020443
Received: 10 December 2009 / Accepted: 18 January 2010 / Published: 27 January 2010
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (554 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
According to the ‘Climate Programme’ the municipality of Amsterdam has the ambition to reduce the CO2 emissions within the city limits by 40% in the year 2025 compared to the year 1990. To realize this ambition substantial CO2 savings have [...] Read more.
According to the ‘Climate Programme’ the municipality of Amsterdam has the ambition to reduce the CO2 emissions within the city limits by 40% in the year 2025 compared to the year 1990. To realize this ambition substantial CO2 savings have to be realized at the 375,000 current houses in the city. A special challenge is formed by the houses of historic and visual importance, as the implementation of standard energy saving measures may conflict with the ambition to protect their cultural and historic values. Nyenrode Business University was asked to study the possibilities for a successful combination of ambitions in both fields. This article shows an overview of suggestions that focus on the combination of technical and process orientated innovations which can contribute to the acceleration of the reduction of CO2 emissions in houses of historic and visual importance. The article therefore addresses political and technical as well as financial and process related aspects in implementing energy saving measures in this category of buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle A Fair Accord: Cradle to Cradle as a Design Theory Measured against John Rawls’ Theory of Justice and Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 371-382; doi:10.3390/su2010371
Received: 7 December 2009 / Accepted: 19 January 2010 / Published: 25 January 2010
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (237 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This essay explores a specific aspect of the role of attitude in design. The design of the built environment requires us constantly to make aesthetic and ethical judgments; every design decision has to be satisfactorily justified. Surprisingly perhaps, this requires a clear [...] Read more.
This essay explores a specific aspect of the role of attitude in design. The design of the built environment requires us constantly to make aesthetic and ethical judgments; every design decision has to be satisfactorily justified. Surprisingly perhaps, this requires a clear concept of justice against which a design can be grounded. Aesthetic concerns about quality spill into ethical concerns about the rightness of a decision and vice versa. This essay discusses a simple but crucial question: if a designer is aware of Cradle to Cradle as a theory of design but fails to act according to its principles, is it then possible to justify the resultant design? In other words, is Cradle to Cradle as a design theory that most rare of transcendental notions: a Categorical Imperative? Why might it be useful to describe it as such? Does the fact that we do not yet know how to redesign most products and processes according to its principles disqualify the theory? Does a dismissal of the Cradle to Cradle theory inevitably lead to an unfair society? These are serious questions, with interesting answers and far reaching implications for the way we think about design. First we shall explain what Cradle to Cradle means and how it distinguishes itself from other theories of sustainability. Then we shall put that explanation in the context of two ethical theories, first of all John Rawls’ Theory of Justice and second Immanuel Kant’s concept of the Categorical Imperative. After that we shall note a few problems concerning Cradle to Cradle design theory and put those into perspective. This will lead to an important attitudinal conclusion, namely that Cradle to Cradle can legitimately be described as one of those extremely rare cases which deserves universal applicability. We will offer a two-pronged strategy as to how to proceed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Developing a Sustainability Assessment Model: The Sustainable Infrastructure, Land-Use, Environment and Transport Model
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 321-340; doi:10.3390/su2010321
Received: 7 December 2009 / Accepted: 11 January 2010 / Published: 18 January 2010
Cited by 31 | PDF Full-text (823 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Measuring the comparative sustainability levels of cities, regions, institutions and projects is an essential procedure in creating sustainable urban futures. This paper introduces a new urban sustainability assessment model: “The Sustainable Infrastructure, Land-use, Environment and Transport Model (SILENT)”. The SILENT Model is [...] Read more.
Measuring the comparative sustainability levels of cities, regions, institutions and projects is an essential procedure in creating sustainable urban futures. This paper introduces a new urban sustainability assessment model: “The Sustainable Infrastructure, Land-use, Environment and Transport Model (SILENT)”. The SILENT Model is an advanced geographic information system and indicator-based comparative urban sustainability indexing model. The model aims to assist planners and policy makers in their daily tasks in sustainable urban planning and development by providing an integrated sustainability assessment framework. The paper gives an overview of the conceptual framework and components of the model and discusses the theoretical constructs, methodological procedures, and future development of this promising urban sustainability assessment model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Incentives for Improving Energy Efficiency When Renovating Large-Scale Housing Estates: A Case Study of the Swedish Million Homes Programme
Sustainability 2009, 1(4), 1349-1365; doi:10.3390/su1041349
Received: 4 November 2009 / Accepted: 9 December 2009 / Published: 16 December 2009
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (189 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sweden has adopted ambitious energy savings objectives for buildings, but at the current rate of energy efficiency investments the objectives are unlikely to be reached. In this article we report the early findings of how real estate owners reason and act in [...] Read more.
Sweden has adopted ambitious energy savings objectives for buildings, but at the current rate of energy efficiency investments the objectives are unlikely to be reached. In this article we report the early findings of how real estate owners reason and act in energy efficiency investment decisions. Based on the results from interviews with the real estate companies, the companies have been divided into four ideal types that illuminate the differences in energy efficiency ambition and strategies; the Strict Profit Maximizing Company, the Little Extra Company, the Policy Led Ambitious Company and the Administration Led Ambitious Company. The different strategies will determine how the companies respond to incentives to invest in energy efficiency, and affect the overall result in the energy efficiency work. The ideal types hence are important to have in mind when designing policies to increase energy efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Incorporating User Performance Criteria into Building Sustainability Rating Tools (BSRTs) for Buildings in Operation
Sustainability 2009, 1(4), 1069-1086; doi:10.3390/su1041069
Received: 12 October 2009 / Accepted: 15 November 2009 / Published: 17 November 2009
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (533 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Current Building Sustainability Rating Tools (BSRTs) are concerned mainly with the technical features of new designs. The author argues for the inclusion of user performance criteria in BSRTs for buildings in operation. The case is based on insights gained from surveys of [...] Read more.
Current Building Sustainability Rating Tools (BSRTs) are concerned mainly with the technical features of new designs. The author argues for the inclusion of user performance criteria in BSRTs for buildings in operation. The case is based on insights gained from surveys of users of sustainable buildings worldwide, and a review of the pioneering NABERS protocol. The paper advocates the establishment of a set of user performance criteria for existing buildings, as a key ingredient in making progress towards a truly sustainable building stock as buildings that perform poorly from the users‘ point of view are unlikely to ever be sustainable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Place-Making through Water Sensitive Urban Design
Sustainability 2009, 1(4), 789-814; doi:10.3390/su1040789
Received: 28 August 2009 / Accepted: 25 September 2009 / Published: 30 September 2009
PDF Full-text (666 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract The paper aims to develop a practice and evaluation model for public open spaces in residential areas that considers water sensitive urban design techniques contributing to place-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Tools for Measuring Progress towards Sustainable Neighborhood Environments
Sustainability 2009, 1(3), 612-627; doi:10.3390/su1030612
Received: 9 July 2009 / Accepted: 2 September 2009 / Published: 3 September 2009
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (210 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Various assessment tools are available to assist designers, developers and regulatory bodies to reduce the negative impacts of contemporary multi-housing subdivision projects in industrialized countries. These tools vary considerably in what and how they measure and how the measurement results are presented [...] Read more.
Various assessment tools are available to assist designers, developers and regulatory bodies to reduce the negative impacts of contemporary multi-housing subdivision projects in industrialized countries. These tools vary considerably in what and how they measure and how the measurement results are presented and interpreted. This paper is largely a desktop study of subdivision assessment tools developed in Australasia, Great Britain and the United States of America. The paper identified a variety of themes and sub-themes that support assessment tools at both the project design phase and the project operational phase. These themes and sub-themes revolve around one or more of the three pillars of sustainability—namely the environmental, economical and social pillars. The paper firstly compares the themes and sub-themes of the assessment tools and then relates those themes to a set of sustainability targets produced for a proposed inner suburban housing subdivision in Perth, Western Australia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Construction of an Environmentally Sustainable Development on a Modified Coastal Sand Mined and Landfill Site – Part 1. Planning and Implementation
Sustainability 2009, 1(2), 319-334; doi:10.3390/su1020319
Received: 27 April 2009 / Accepted: 17 June 2009 / Published: 24 June 2009
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (654 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Magenta Shores development fronts 2.3 km of Tuggerah Beach on a formerly sand mined and landfill site in an urban growth area on the central coast of New South Wales. To increase the natural defences against storm waves and mass sand [...] Read more.
The Magenta Shores development fronts 2.3 km of Tuggerah Beach on a formerly sand mined and landfill site in an urban growth area on the central coast of New South Wales. To increase the natural defences against storm waves and mass sand movements, the incipient foredune was retained and the parallel beach ridge landform was re-established by mimicking natural processes. Analysis of waste and resources led to a coordinated large-scale onsite re-use, recycling and waste management program that reduced landfill, transportation and natural resource requirements. Bitou bush removed from the Coastal Protection Zone was incorporated into golf course soils to improve grass growth. Leachate in the groundwater from the former landfill was diverted away from Tuggerah Lake and re-used in golf course irrigation. Upgrade of the local sewer treatment plant and installation of a public dual pipeline servicing Magenta and the adjoining township satisfied irrigation demands and provided non-potable water for the existing and expanding urban community. The sustainability challenges of the project were met through clear identification of existing environmental risks, application of scientific research, integrated team management and stakeholders’ cooperation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Sustainable Non-Metallic Building Materials
Sustainability 2010, 2(2), 400-427; doi:10.3390/su2020400
Received: 7 December 2009 / Accepted: 18 January 2010 / Published: 27 January 2010
Cited by 27 | PDF Full-text (274 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Buildings are the largest energy consumers and greenhouse gases emitters, both in the developed and developing countries. In continental Europe, the energy use in buildings alone is responsible for up to 50% of carbon dioxide emission. Urgent changes are, therefore, required relating [...] Read more.
Buildings are the largest energy consumers and greenhouse gases emitters, both in the developed and developing countries. In continental Europe, the energy use in buildings alone is responsible for up to 50% of carbon dioxide emission. Urgent changes are, therefore, required relating to energy saving, emissions control, production and application of materials, use of renewable resources, and to recycling and reuse of building materials. In addition, the development of new eco-friendly building materials and practices is of prime importance owing to the growing environmental concerns. This review reflects the key tendencies in the sector of sustainable building materials of a non-metallic nature that have occurred over the past decade or so. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessReview Analysis of Barriers and the Potential for Exploration of Deconstruction Techniques in Portuguese Construction Sites
Sustainability 2010, 2(2), 428-442; doi:10.3390/su2020428
Received: 1 December 2009 / Accepted: 22 January 2010 / Published: 27 January 2010
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (484 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Deconstructing a building is the careful dismantling of that building so as to make possible the recovery of construction materials and components, promoting their reuse and recycling. However, deconstruction remains a rare procedure in Portugal. Using previous studies and data collected from [...] Read more.
Deconstructing a building is the careful dismantling of that building so as to make possible the recovery of construction materials and components, promoting their reuse and recycling. However, deconstruction remains a rare procedure in Portugal. Using previous studies and data collected from present experiences, this paper presents a critical discussion on the importance of deconstruction for rehabilitation. Its aims are to discuss the main advantages, barriers and opportunities of this demolition technique, as well as the guidelines to the design process, aiming at assuring a successful management deconstruction process. Suggestions to impel this technique in Portugal are also described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
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Open AccessReview Toward Environmentally Sustainable Construction Processes: The U.S. and Canada’s Perspective on Energy Consumption and GHG/CAP Emissions
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 354-370; doi:10.3390/su2010354
Received: 3 December 2009 / Accepted: 18 January 2010 / Published: 21 January 2010
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (235 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the building and construction sector, most efforts related to sustainable development have concentrated on the environmental performance of the operation of buildings and infrastructure. However, several studies have called for the need to mitigate the considerable environmental impacts, especially air pollutant [...] Read more.
In the building and construction sector, most efforts related to sustainable development have concentrated on the environmental performance of the operation of buildings and infrastructure. However, several studies have called for the need to mitigate the considerable environmental impacts, especially air pollutant emissions and energy consumption, generated by construction processes. To provide a point of reference for initiating the development of environmentally sustainable construction processes, this article identifies energy consumption and air emissions resulting from construction activities and examines previous approaches utilized to assess such environmental impact. This research also identifies the opportunities and challenges to mitigate such environmental impact from construction processes, based on the investigation of current technology policies, regulations, incentives, and guidelines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessReview Life-Cycle Assessment and the Environmental Impact of Buildings: A Review
Sustainability 2009, 1(3), 674-701; doi:10.3390/su1030674
Received: 13 August 2009 / Accepted: 15 September 2009 / Published: 18 September 2009
Cited by 100 | PDF Full-text (393 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) is one of various management tools for evaluating environmental concerns. This paper reviews LCA from a buildings perspective. It highlights the need for its use within the building sector, and the importance of LCA as a decision making support [...] Read more.
Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) is one of various management tools for evaluating environmental concerns. This paper reviews LCA from a buildings perspective. It highlights the need for its use within the building sector, and the importance of LCA as a decision making support tool. It discusses LCA methodologies and applications within the building sector, reviewing some of the life-cycle studies applied to buildings or building materials and component combinations within the last fifteen years in Europe and the United States. It highlights the problems of a lack of an internationally comparable and agreed data inventory and assessment methodology which hinder the application of LCA within the building industry. It identifies key areas for future research as (i) the whole process of construction, (ii) the relative weighting of different environmental impacts and (iii) applications in developing countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)

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sustainability@mdpi.com
Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
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