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Science for Environment Policy: Green Construction

Ekologické stavění, bydlení
Science for Environment Policy: Green Construction

Building a greener construction sector for Europe

Sustainability 'score' for buildings accounts for range of environmental impacts
Researchers in Lithuania have assessed and ranked the sustainability of buildings on a wide range of criteria, from pollution caused by the building materials to the running costs of the building. An overall sustainability index based on these criteria allows the comparison of different buildings and, using this index, the study estimated that a wood-based building is 7.5% more sustainable than a house made of bricks.
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Top-down approach recommended for assessing sustainability of buildings
There is a wide range of systems for assessing and communicating the sustainability of buildings, but the variation can be confusing. Recent research has analysed the elements needed for effective assessment and examined the needs of stakeholders to inform the presentation and communication of assessment results.
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'Absolute approach to assessing building sustainability
There is growing demand for sound evidence-based indicators to evaluate the sustainability of buildings. In a recent study, researchers have presented a new sustainability assessment that considers carbon emissions from site development, construction and operation of a building and compares this to the original or 'native' level of carbon storage before the building project commenced.
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Potential of zero energy buildings for district heating systems assessed
Denmark aims to develop an energy system based only on renewable energy sources by 2050. Energy saving buildings are an essential part of this plan, according to new research, which investigates how excess heat production from net zero energy buildings (NZEBs) can benefit district heating systems and reduce reliance on combustible fuels.
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Building refurbishments could bring energy savings of 20% for heating
Implementing energy efficiency measures in existing housing stock could save 10% of current heating consumption by 2020 and 20% by 2030, according to a recent study of nine European countries. Planning authorities can play a major role by providing support and unbiased information to all stakeholders involved in the renovations.
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Energy-efficient refurbishments in homes: more incentives needed
Motivating homeowners to carry out energy-efficient refurbishments remains a significant challenge for policymakers. New research from Germany has called for more government incentives and better communication strategies to ensure homeowners are aware of the advantages of making energy saving changes to their homes..
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Can loans scheme encourage green refurbishment of homes?
A UK Government scheme, designed to help finance energy efficiency improvements in the home, has been assessed in a recent study. The researchers advise that better information for homeowners is needed to encourage uptake of the 'Green Deal' initiative, and point to Germany's Passivhaus standard as an aspirational model for green retrofitting.
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Barriers to installing innovative energy systems in existing housing stock identified
Several barriers to upgrading existing social housing with innovative energy systems (IES) have been identified by a study of eight large-scale renovation projects in the Netherlands. These include a lack of trust between stakeholders, opposition from tenants on grounds of increased costs or delays, or poor experience with previous energy projects.
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The significance of embodied carbon and energy in house construction
Although most energy in homes is used for heating and hot water, significant amounts of energy are also used when a house is built. A lifecycle assessment of a low-energy, affordable timber house indicates that large energy and carbon savings can be made when alternatives to traditional methods of construction are used.
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From grey to green: environmental impact of concretes must be fully assessed
When assessing the environmental impacts of new 'green' concretes, care should be taken to ensure that a range of impacts are considered, such as ecosystem damage and water depletion, rather than a sole focus on CO2 emissions, a recent study concludes. It demonstrates that cement incorporating industrial by-products performs substantially better than Portland cement when rated across several classifications of environmental impact.
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Standardising building life cycle assessments can improve energy efficiency
As buildings become increasingly energy-efficient in terms of heating and operation, researchers are highlighting the importance of reducing the energy needed to construct the buildings. However, there is a lack of accurate, consistent data, or a standard methodology to properly assess energy requirements at this stage, a new study has found.
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Could Building Information Modelling support sustainable building practices?
Building Information Modelling (BIM) can enhance the design of a building, reduce costs and save energy. However, little research has been carried out on its impact on sustainable practices. A US survey illustrates that many practitioners do not see sustainability as a primary application, suggesting that more effort is needed to encourage the integration of 'green' design and construction into BIM.
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