Sustainable Design for Homes
The word 'sustainable' – something which can be sustained, or used for a very long time without self-limiting negative impact – is used in many contexts including building construction.
In construction we use the associated word ‘sustainability’ as a relative measure of merit, when we are considering a range of materials, techniques and technology, from which to choose.
It is generally accepted that human beings cannot go on using crude oil in the same quantities we have to date, because the oil wells will run dry. And it is easy to understand that if one leaves a bike locked to a stand in the open air, without a roof or any walls, then rain will get to the bike parts and eventually rust will set in.
On the other hand it is easy to perhaps less widely known that daylight and sunlight not only help us to see properly inside our homes, but that we also feel better about ourselves and our surroundings as a direct result of being in spaces which have good levels of natural light. And it is unlikely that many people understand that when installing insulation, not only is good contiguity important (all areas of insulation meeting and overlapping), but that the type of insulation chosen can either positively or negatively affect how a wall is able to deal with moisture in the air – both on the outside and the outside of a building.
The sustainable construction and refurbishment of buildings considers the way in which the construction work will be done, the materials and technology used within the buildings under construction, the wellbeing of the building users, way in which the finished buildings will be used, how the buildings may be adapted in the future and how the construction materials might be re-used following demolition.
If we build in an unsustainable manner then the generations that follow us will have to work much harder than we do to maintain a decent living environment.