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F8NA1 Environmental Sustainability In Construction

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F8NA1 Environmental Sustainability In Construction

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Course Code: F8NA1
University: University Of The West Of England is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: United Kingdom

Review low/zero-carbon design technology under the aspects of,
1) selection of low carbon construction materials,
2) innovative construction process,
3) management of operative energy consumption and consumption behaviour,
4) choice of renewable energy systems,
5) recycle and reuse. 6. Discuss the feasibility and challenges of implementing RH, and the ways to overcome the challenges.

Selection of Low Carbon Construction Materials
We often need building materials to carry out the construction processes of structures successfully. These materials include items such as steel, cement, building blocks, and many others. These materials often undergo many procedures to make them ready for consumption on the construction sites. While assessing these processes, it is relevant to conclude that every single process involved in material production and delivery to the construction site requires energy. This energy would be measured regarding carbon emission. Embodied carbon of a structure would, therefore, be an inclusive combination of all the carbon emissions generated during the manufacture and transportation of the building materials used to construct the structure. Designers are required to make selections of materials of less embodied emissions to build a Net Zero Building. Designers should make considerations about the recyclability of the materials chosen for the construction of the structure.
Below is a list that outlines the factors that should be considered before the selection of the building materials to be used in the building of a structure.

Distance is directly proportional to the carbon emissions of the materials. Hence, designers should consider the distance between the site of use and place of production.
There should be less raw materials used in the production of the materials selected
The complexity of production is directly proportional to the carbon emissions of the material; hence, designers should choose materials whose production processes are simple.
There should be a minimum wastage of materials during construction
There should be a possibility of recycling the materials selected since it reduces the energy consumption that would rather be used up in the reproduction of new materials.
These materials used should be sourced from renewable energy as it lowers the consumption of energy hence low emission.
These materials should have a high energy efficiency to contribute to the building energy rating.

Researchers have spent decades trying to unmask the concept of materials that are of low carbon emission. A result of this research has been manufacturing more law carbon emitting materials. Some of these materials have been used in the Redesign House as well.

Autoclaved Aerated Concrete: this is concrete that has low embodied energy. It also acts as a sound and thermal insulation. This concrete is manufactured by heating a mixture of foaming agents and general concrete with steam. This concrete is lightweight since it has many closed air spaces making it energy efficient and with sound and thermal insulation properties.
Recycled Metals: The recycling of already manufactured and used metals produces these recycled metals. Production of metals consumes a high amount of energy at the initial manufacturing hence emitting a lot of carbon. Recycling these metals reduces the embodied energy by exponent amounts.
Insulating concrete forms: they the segmental components that are made by filling concrete with polystyrene foam.  They form blocks by interlocking with each other. Joining and stacking these materials together with insulations makes them gain structural support and thermal mass as well.  Such materials stand a better chance in favoring projects that are after gaining zero carbon and thermal performance of high value.  

Low carbon materials make a significant contribution to the construction industry. Construction designers have a full mandate of implementing the usage of these materials as they make the budgeting to the clients. There should be a policy to make such materials locally available to increase their usability in projects.
Innovative Construction Process
All sectors of life have been affected by the raise awareness of sustainable development and increased climatic changes. Every area of life is struggling to limit the rate and amount of carbon emissions and the production of greenhouse gasses. This has led to new innovative equipment and implementation of advanced techniques and methodologies in construction. Major advancements have been reached in the sector of construction as a result of high research. Government policies concerning energy ratings have affected the way new buildings are carried out leading to processes that are conscious of low carbon emissions. This has changed the production sector as more materials produced are of low carbon emission. Materials that have been created in this line are not only low carbon but also reduce the amount of energy consumption since they are energy efficient.
There has been an adoption of Precast Construction methods which reduce onsite construction wastes and the in-situ construction carbon emissions. This type of construction requires a different casting of members in a different place and have them relocated and placed at the needed sites.
Implementation of Passive Solar and Radiant Heating in construction is a masterpiece technique that includes the diversion of the sun rays to various parts of the structure to raise the interior temperatures during winter. During summer, there is a similar diversion of a cool breeze to different interior parts of the structure to lower the temperatures.
There has been an adoption of better thermal insulation materials which reduce the cooling and heating load of the structure. Double glazed windows are getting preference over the single glazed ones; triple glazed windows have also shown a higher preference. There has also been the manufacturing of better glass which is improved to have low emission, a better u-value with a higher gain of solar heating.  There has been processing and production of materials that are of better R-value which has increased the general insulation of structures.
Management of Operative Energy Consumption and Consumption Behavior
In the construction of structures, energy administration is a technique of checking, controlling and decreasing the rate of energy consumption. Refined policies get implemented after a record of energy consumption has been taken. This implementation is vital in meeting the energy efficiency strategies in sustainable development in the construction sector. These policies help construction companies move towards better energy usage patterns. In structural construction, there should be a minimal application of materials that require high initial capital. Major equipment that needs top operative energy such as elevators, lighting systems, etc. needs to be selected wisely during the design phase of the project.
Taking measurements of energy demand encourages less usage of energy by the consumers. Tactical consumption of energy would be implemented by variation in the timing of consumer demands more so at peak hours. This type of management would not implicitly reduce the total energy demands but would significantly reduce the peak demand.
Designing structures in such a way that they utilize the natural light during the day is a vital method of managing energy consumption. The important factors to be considered in making this mode of management possible include building orientation, windows and doors placement. In managing the internal temperatures of the house, the house should be surrounded by trees which in return provide a serene atmosphere and also absorbs carbon (IV) oxide emitted from the structural appliances.
During construction, it is vital to select materials that consume less energy. In well-spaced areas, designers should construct hollow walled building which provides a good thermal insulation of the structure. Plasterboards and insulating materials would be used for constructing interior and exterior walls in regions that have large temperature variations in a day. In addition, energy saving appliances like water heaters, lighting systems and escalators should be used in structures to minimize energy consumption.
Renewable Energy Sources
The everlasting benefits of renewable energy sources call for usage and promotion in the construction sector. Renewable energy reis sourced from sources that rapidly get replaced by natural processes such as solar or wind.
Solar energy: The photovoltaic effect makes use of the photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electricity. Panels can be installed on roofs of structures where maximum sunlight can be harnessed. Some technologies that make use of solar energy include PV systems, solar electricity, house lighting, and solar hot water system.
Wind energy: wind has been used to run turbines that convert wind energy into electricity. Windmill turbines can be used as single entities or grouped to produce higher electric power. To install windmills, designers need to assess previous weather data to select an appropriate location favored by high wind velocity. This data will also be useful in determining the viability of installing windmills.
Recycle and Reuse
Recycling and reuse are essential processes in the process of construction as they lead to proper utilization of resources. These processes also reduce the usage of energy and water while limiting contamination. The processes also eliminate usage of new products. Products that could be recycled and reused include metals, timber, and plasterboards.
Feasibility and Challenges in implementing Re-design Home
The fore discussions have highlighted the importance of redesigning our homes one Net Zero Energy homes. A critical assessment shows that the process of adoption of the new design is easy and would eventually lower carbon emissions and will make homes energy efficient. These procedures should be followed during the construction of new structures as a strategy to make them sustainable to the environment, cost effective and energy efficient.
Considering the initial cost process, it is evident that there is a high initial investment on the processes adapting net-zero energy and low carbon emission materials and there is a tendency of avoiding these costs. Nevertheless, these costs would be paid back for a building’s since surplus energy would get sold to the grid. Lack of such benefits would be caused but ignorance of the public about the avenues of compensations that would be earned from such structures.
Proper awareness campaigns should be fostered to curb the rate of ignorance. People should be educated on the everlasting benefits of net-zero energy process. The government should implement more policies that are strict to ensure re-designed homes a must for all citizens.
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