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Module 1

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  1. Module 1 Defining an Ecology of Construction









  10. Overview • Introduction to concepts • Environmental systems • Industrial ecology • Political and economic environment • Green design • Summary and Conclusions

  11. Sustainable Construction “Creating a healthy built environment based on ecologically sound principles” • Built Environment • Life cycle (planning, design, construction, operation, renovation/retrofit, demolition/deconstruction) • Resources (materials, land, energy, water) • Principles: Reduce, reuse, recycle, protect nature, eliminate toxics, life cycle costing • Principles of Ecology • Ecosystems are: cyclic, resilient, diversified, efficient, complex • Function and interdependence at multiple scales

  12. Applications of the Ecological Metaphor to Human Systems Urban Ecology Social Ecology Political Ecology Industrial Ecology

  13. Industrial Ecology • Material Basis: choice of material, product design, product recovery • Institutional Forces: market structure, financial considerations, regulatory environment • Regional Strategies: geographic, economic and political issues; “industrial symbiosis”

  14. Construction Ecology Can be viewed as a subset of industrial ecology, but with characteristics that link it back to social, political, urban systems. Major subset: 8% of GDP, 40% of materials consumption and 30% of energy resources. Potential “Factor 10” reduction

  15. Construction Ecology Goals: • Closed-loop material system • Dependence on renewable resources • Preservation of / integration with natural systems • Accomplishment of these goals at all scales

  16. Construction EcologyWould Create a Built Environment That: • Is deconstructable • Has easily replaceable components • Uses recycled products • Uses recyclable products • Has a very slow metabolism • Promotes the health of occupants / users • Promotes a symbiotic relationship with the natural environment

  17. Forging a New View Some ancient societies have persevered for many centuries by living in equilibrium, and in a sense of harmony, with the environment. More technologically advanced societies have committed ecological suicide. Technology may not offer the best answers. We may wish to pursue an understanding of:

  18. Ecosystem Components: • Inorganic substances (carbon, nitrogen) • Organic compounds (proteins, etc…) • Climate regime (temperature, rainfall) • Autotrophic organisms (producers) • Heterotrophic organisms (consumers) • Herbivores (primary consumers) • Carnivores (secondary consumers) • Tertiary consumers • Decomposers (Yeang 7,8)

  19. Lessons From Natural Systems:Ecosystems maintain resilience through diversifiedfunctions. Separate niches provide non-competitivelifestyles among different species. • Fundamental Niche-that which is available to a species • Realized Niche-that which is being used by a species

  20. Lessons From Natural Systems: • Mature ecosystems are efficient by using a cooperative web. • Mature ecosystems are complex enough to change with the external environment. • Mature ecosystems are cyclic and operate with solar flux and organic storage(Odum and Brown).

  21. Lessons From Natural Systems: • Natural systems are not sustainable over long periods of time. • Constant change shapes their existence, and their existence begins and ends as a part of a larger system. • By studying natural systems we can expect to improve the effectiveness of our design process and products. • James Kay (will be covered later in the course)

  22. A brief history of life on earth: • Stage one: fermentation based, anabolic, carbon dioxide producing, and anaerobic • Stage two: photosynthetic, carbon consuming, and oxygen producing (oxygen as toxic substance) • Stage three: oxygen consuming, and capable of metabolizing multiple molecules

  23. Industrial System: • Our current industrial systems are equivalent to Stage One of life on Earth-- Carbon consuming and carbon dioxide emitting. • Our current industrial systems are consuming solar produced resources (fossil fuels) at 10,000 times the rate of regeneration.

  24. Industrial System: • The creation of the built environment generates 0.4 to 0.5 tons of waste per capita per year. (Based on projections of 2000 census data, this is somewhere between 120 million tons and 150 million tons per year in U.S.). • Construction industry provides 8% of GDP while using 40% of materials and 30% of energy resources in U.S. • Our built environment currently stores as much as 90% of extracted materials

  25. The Ecology of Systems • H.T. Odum’s “Systems Ecology” deals with the transformation of energy as it moves through various systems. • It all begins with sunlight. • The energy in sunlight is transformed by natural processes (e.g. photosynthesis, tidal flows), building biomass or yielding energy in other forms. • ALL other forms of energy are quantifiable in terms of sunlight – thus a “common currency” for evaluating the impacts and efficiency of systems.

  26. Five General Building Components of Built Environment: • Manufactured, site installed components (windows, doors, etc…)

  27. Five General Building Components ofBuilt Environment: • Engineered, off-site fabricated, site assembled (Structural trusses, etc…)

  28. Five General Building Components ofBuilt Environment: • Off-site processed, site finished products (Concrete, asphalt, etc…)

  29. Five General Building Components ofBuilt Environment: • Manufactured, site processed (Lumber, drywall, wiring, etc…)

  30. Five General Building Components ofBuilt Environment: • Manufactured, site-installed, low mass Products (Paints, glues, etc…)

  31. Managing the Five Components of the Built Environment • Designing for cyclical patterns of use • Dematerialization • Closed loop material cycles

  32. Designing For Cyclical Pattern of Use: • The energy and material cost of recovery • The ecosystem impacts of dismantling and recovery • The emissions and outputs of recovery process • The form, type, and mass of materials used in the built system (Yeang 136)

  33. Designing For Cyclical Pattern of Use: • The forms of construction • The manner of demolition or dismantling • The existence of a use or a need for the recovered product • Choice of servicing system (Yeang 138)

  34. Dematerialization: • Definition: The reduction of quantities of materials needed to serve economic functions or the decline over time in the weight of materials used in industrial end-products. • Dematerialization serves to reduce resource consumption and reduce weight of the built environment. • Dematerialization and a cyclic pattern of use can help close material cycles

  35. Closed Loop Material Cycles: • Buildings are not currently designed or built to be disassembled • Products constituting the built environment are not designed for disassembly • The material constituting building products are often composite and difficult to recycle • These difficulties increase resource consumption, cost, and waste

  36. Difficulties with Dematerialization: • Does not take into consideration the by-products of materials extraction and processing • Encourages use of light weight composite materials that are difficult if not impossible to recycle • Currently struggles against free market system that promotes diversity and availability • Lacks emphasis on recycling and reuse, detoxification, decarbonization, and deenergization • Lack of coordination between economic, industrial, and governmental systems to encourage or enforce dematerialization

  37. Political / Economic Environment • Federal Initiatives EPA Energy Star Program; US Government Buildings Construction Guidelines • Market Conditions and Strategies USGBC LEED; Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

  38. Political / Economic Environment • National Organizations US Green Building Council; National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) • State and Local Ordinances Florida Green Building Coalition • Local Green Building Enterprises Austin, TX; Seattle, WA

  39. Market Conditions and Strategies • US Green Building Council State and Local Green Building Initiatives Committee 15 local and state entities, developing tools to disseminate information and help governing bodies create mandates and incentives for green building. • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Primary implementation is in Europe; aim is to shift costs and physical obligations of production of goods from municipalities and individuals to producers themselves. Focus is on assigning responsibility to producers for mitigating / minimizing environmental impacts, with an emphasis on “upstream effects.”

  40. Federal Initiatives • EPA Energy Star Program Partnering system between government and business, aimed at reducing energy consumption of facilities through upgrades of building components, systems, and appliances. • US Government Buildings Federal Energy Management Program: Greening Federal Facilities, Second Edition Buildings must conform to “a project-specific point system that accounts for factors such as local fuel costs, climate, and construction costs for energy efficiency measures”

  41. National Organizations • US Green Building Council – LEED Rating System “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design: Voluntary, consensus-based, market-driven initiative based on existing, proven technology. Whole building, entire life cycle, performance-oriented. Definitive standard for “green” building in US. • National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 200,000 members in 800 local chapters. Pamphlet “Building Greener, Building Better” gives an overview of green design strategies and energy consumption improvements in residential construction. Fact sheets on environmental issues published for contractor education.

  42. State and Local Ordinances • Maryland Green Building Council Energy-conservation orientation, promotes efficiency upgrades rather than construction-oriented initiatives. • Boulder, CO Green Points Building Program Green Points New Home Program: requires selection among acceptable options for receipt of a building permit for new construction and additions over 500sf. Green Points Remodeling Program: voluntary program encouraging homeowners with small projects to seek green solutions.

  43. Local Green Building Initiatives • Austin, TX Green Building Program “…the first comprehensive program to encourage using sustainable building techniques in residential, multifamily, commercial and municipal construction.” Provides technical assistance, program membership for building professionals, rating system, education and outreach. • Seattle, WA “Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) partners with other government agencies, businesses, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations to promote sustainable design and construction practices and technology in the building and landscaping industries.”

  44. Green Design • Ecological Design • Historical Advocates • Goals of Green Design • Sustainable Example: Thurgoona Campus • Green Home Improvement

  45. Ecological Design • Also termed Green Design • Definition: (as stated by Van der Ryn and Cowen, 1996) • Any form of design that minimizes environmentally destructive impacts by integrating itself with living processes. • Sustainable construction: (as stated by Kibert, 1994) • The creation and maintenance of a healthy built environment using ecologically sound principles. • Specifically materials that are natural, renewable and native, with low embodied E. Is this true?

  46. Historical Advocates • Architects: • Frank Lloyd Wright • Richard Neutra • Malcolm Wells • Urban Planners: • Lewis Mumford • John Tillman Lyle

  47. Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect • Lived 1869 - 1959 • Inspired by his mentor, Louis Sullivan, whose slogan was ‘form follows function’ • Coined the term ‘organic architecture’ meaning to reinterpret nature’s principles. • Wright believed that a buildings design should be influenced by its site and function.

  48. Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect • Guggenheim Museum in New York City, 1959 • Ziggurat allows people to descend a continuous ramp at their own pace. • Nautilus shape allows for free space. • Design fuses the paintings and building into a symphony of art. • Considered ‘refreshing’ architecture

  49. Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect • 1935’s FallingWater, where forest, rock, stream and all the elements of structure come together • Experience nature as the habitat that formed us, find spiritual awakening • The walls are made of the native Pottsville sandstone

  50. Richard Neutra, Architect