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Environmental Ecosystem Eco-friendly

Eco-Friendly Housing

Chapter 1 General Information

1.1 Introduction

Environment is being abused by some. Trees are being cut down for their business. The consequence of their actions is affecting the safety of the people in earth. Because of the extreme usage and wasting of our environmental resources our ecosystem has become compromised. This paper involves reasons why there is an increase in eco-friendly housing. It involves the study of the factors as well as the life cycle cost. The paper also includes the beginning of eco friendly houses and the increasing number of eco friendly houses. With stringent measures planned by the government to ensure greater energy efficiency and a reduction in the demand for water and electricity, it seems energy efficient eco houses are the way to the future. (Nini and Mokoena, 2008).

The impact we have impaled on our earths environment can no longer be ignored. There have been thousands of acres of woodlands reaped for the use of only a few houses. Leftover's from construction projects and homes demolished to place new homes on land purchased are ending up in our landfills to only sit there for thousands of years, poisoning our earth painfully, a little at a time. This poisoning will affect not only the planet for us but for centuries to come. Many people have found come to believe that our earth is worth more to them as a whole, rather than as a

part and have started taken part in recycling projects, even getting into building recycled homes from earth, eco-friendly homes.(Prior, 2005).

We will be able to evaluate the importance of eco friendly houses in UK. It is claim by others that houses comprises the biggest demand for wood; therefore they are one of the destroyers of the environment. Enable to prevent such destruction UK government are studying the implementation of the eco-friendly law. Today eco friendly awareness and the understanding of renewable energy are paramount in the future of our planets survival. Many households around the UK are starting to realise that changes in the way we run our homes and the products we use in them need to adapt in order to help prevent further climate change.

The reason for promoting eco friendly houses is really quite important. We need to live more lightly on the earth, because the degradation of our environment comprises not only our survival, but the survival of most other living beings on the planet. It is now evident the impact of earth's ecosystems. Studies and reaches are increasing to be able to evaluate how bad our environment is. Builders and other construction company are now engaging on the campaign to build eco-friendly houses.

Building an eco-friendly house involves proper choice of materials to be used. How we build our homes, both in design and choice of materials, is one of the most significant ways that we can affect our future. What is an eco- friendly house? Eco-

friendly houses are those that were designed from the ground up to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

1.2 Aims and Objectives

As one-third of the UK's carbon emissions come from homes, rules on how our homes are built and maintained have become stricter. Builders have had to make changes in design, materials, building methods and energy efficiency in order to adhere to the new, tougher regulations. Below is an example of eco friendly house.

Sample of an eco-friendly house

Source: http://www.cleanairgardening.com/houseplan.html

This dissertation aims is to investigate the effects of housing upon the environment and the factors that need to be implemented to make the construction ECO friendly within the UK. Also the Life cycle costing will be presented to find the cost difference between general construction and ECO friendly development. As a whole this paper will evaluate the importance of having a sticker standard in building new houses. There are some who may think that this will be very costly, question about the cost will be answered in the later part of the paper. It is also the objective of this paper to enumerate the usefulness of having an eco friendly house.

Construction Companies is now joining the team of architects who are now designing eco-friendly houses.

1.3 Research and Methodology

This dissertation aims to determine the effects of housing upon the environment. To be able to assess the effects we will be doing qualitative researches why such effects exist. The reason will be analyzed to evaluate how it will affect the building of houses. In order to do this, a research work was done using the internet, journals and books as our resources.

It also aims to identify the factors that need to be implemented to make the construction ECO friendly within the UK. Using a qualitative method of research we will try to show the effects and factors by presenting studies and approaches done about Eco- friendly housing. In the literature review the review on the current policy done by the National Housing, planning consultants, and EDAW are discussed. The review of policy has come up with the results to further promote the construction of Eco friendly housing. Also in the literature review are the principles involve in building Eco friendly houses, established by Building Biology and Ecology Institute of New Zealand (BBE).

The dissertation also includes design and costing of the eco friendly houses and the conventional style of houses. There is a great difference on the design and materials used. The reason on why these where designed this why will be explained as you go along with the paper. This dissertation will have a clear view of the stand

of UK government on encouraging architects and designer to create an eco friendly house.

1.4 Summary of Dissertation

Chapter 1 of this paper includes the introduction, aims and objective of the study and the methodology used. In the introduction eco friendly houses are defined including the picture of how eco friendly house looks like. In aims and objective, purpose of the study is enumerated to be able to tell the importance of the dissertation. It is mentioned that the study aims to investigate the effects of housing upon the environment and the factors that need to be implemented to make the construction ECO friendly within the UK. Also the Life cycle costing will be presented to find the cost difference between general construction and ECO friendly development. The objective of the study is to enumerate the usefulness of having an eco friendly house. The principle that lies into it will be also one of the objectives. In the research and methodology the qualitative method is used to analyze the review of policies regarding the eco friendly houses. The cases wherein the building of eco friendly houses applies will also helped to show the importance of it. At the end of chapter 1 the analysis of what we have started from the introduction up to the research and methodology will be discussed.

Chapter 2 is the literature review; it includes studies and articles about the eco friendly houses. It also has the introduction, the main content and the summary of

the chapter. The main content includes the Article by Joseph Rowentee Foundation,

(1997) about the impact of housing in the environment. It also presents ways on what to do to limit the effect of environment. The location and characteristics of these houses will have a major impact on Britain's progress to achieving a more sustainable environment. Also in the literature review is the eco building principles established by the Building Biology and Ecology Institute of New Zealand (BBE).(Waitakere City Council, 2007). The budget and comparison of the cost on the traditional housing and the eco friendly housing will be shown on the later part of the paper.

Other articles and researches will be included in the literature review to further support our aims and objectives. The importance of the study will be carefully analyzed using the studies done and researches on the subject. The disadvantages of the eco friendly housing will be also discussed to balance the idea about the subject.

Chapter 3 is the part wherein the research and methodology used in the study was applied. As mentioned above we will be using qualitative method in presenting our data about the subject. This will be done thru the presentation of case study and researches done. The case study and researches will support our claims. This part also includes introduction, methodology, the data collected, the analysis and the summary of the chapter.

Chapter 4 includes the conclusion and recommendations. As the summary of our dissertation we will be able to conclude the importance of the study, its effects in

the environment and the factors involve as well as the principles.

Chapter 2 Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

The literature review includes study done by Joseph Rowentree Foundation (1997), the Philosophy in eco friendly housing as shown in the article of Waitakere Properties Limited of Waitakere City Council (2007). It also include the article written by Margo prior (2005) about “Homes that are good for the environment and your pocketbook”. The process of building the house will be also discussed. The materials used and the cost of each design are presented with illustration to clearly picture what it really looks like. As we go along with the review we will be able to find out why the government of UK are focus on the building and repairs of houses.

2.2 Literature Review

In the article of Joseph Rowentree Foundation (1997), focus was to lessen the impact of housing in the environment. National Housing Week, planning consultants, EDAW, reviewed current policy and practice and convened three working seminars to highlight key trends and initiatives in the UK and in Europe as a whole. The

reviewed of the policy was done because of the emerging consensus that a more sustainable approach to our environment is required. The way in which housing is located, built and maintained has a profound impact on the environment. The result of the reviewed are as follows: (www.jrf.org.uk).

  • There is no pressure or requirement in the UK to design houses which minimise the use of non-renewable building materials, conserve energy or reduce water consumption.
  • The UK lags far behind other European countries in finding ways of reducing housing's impact on the environment.
  • It is almost impossible for consumers to judge the environmental credentials of individual houses. The building industry is not required to give such information to consumers, nor are they or local authorities making any attempt to do so.
  • The location of new developments and the physical layout of neighbourhoods influence car use. Several initiatives in Europe have made real progress in reducing car travel. Few local authorities in the UK have made much progress on this front.
  • A wide range of effective, but small-scale local initiatives are under way in the UK and in the rest of Europe. However, the combined impact of these initiatives in the UK does not add up to any significant change in practice.
  • The researchers conclude that significant changes are needed in central and local government policies and in the behaviour of developers and consumers if future investment in housing is to become more sustainable.

The impact of housing in the environment depends on the way the housing is built, maintained and used. The location of any new development and its relationship to existing developments are important in minimising the effect. Below are the ways on what to do to lessen the effect in the environment

Use of non-renewable resources

Policies governing the design, construction and renovation of housing do not impose any requirement through legislation, regulation or fiscal incentives to minimise the use of non-renewable resources. There is no pressure to use designs which minimise the use of non-renewable material, re-cycled materials or materials which use less energy to manufacture.

Energy consumption

Energy consumption in houses accounts for 30 per cent of the UK's total energy consumption each year. UK houses perform poorly by comparison with the rest of Europe. On average UK homes consume more than 10 times the energy consumed by state-of-the-art houses being built elsewhere in Europe. Changes in the building regulations requiring improved standards of energy efficiency in new houses do not match the standards being achieved elsewhere in Europe. No regulation addresses energy-efficiency standards in existing houses. Ninety per cent of the current housing stock will still exist in 2020; significant investment in achieving higher standards of energy conservation in this stock, through insulation and double glazing, would bring major environmental benefits.

Water consumption

One-third of the water abstracted in England and Wales is consumed by households. Two-thirds of this drinking water is used to flush WCs, wash clothes or dishes and for bathing. Except when there are water shortages there is no expectation that households will conserve or re-cycle water. There is no consumer expectation or commitment from house builders to design homes in ways that conserve water.

The location of new housing

The Department of the Environment forecasts that there will be an increase of 4.4 million households in Britain between 1991 and 2016. The location and characteristics of these houses will have a major impact on Britain's progress to achieving a more sustainable environment. There is wide-spread agreement that more houses should be built within existing urban areas, but scepticism that the existing planning system and fiscal policies will achieve the maximum level of development on brownfield land. No mechanism exists to translate national housing requirements into effective land allocations in each local authority area in ways which take into account the impact on the environment. In particular, regional planning mechanisms are weak. There is no effective mechanism in the planning system to ensure that housebuilders and developers first consider sites within the urban area, before seeking permission to develop on greenfield sites.

Neighbourhoods

All neighbourhoods have an 'ecological footprint'. Neighbourhoods which are most compact and self-contained, with more local shopping, employment and community facilities, have a smaller 'footprint'. One implication of this is a potential reduction in dependence on the private car. Just under a third of all car mileage travelled each year is between home and work. Road transport is responsible for 91 per cent of carbon monoxide and 51 per cent of nitrogen dioxide in the UK. Reducing the need to use the car will make a significant contribution to more sustainable neighbourhoods. Altering car-parking requirements in statutory plans and the development of housing without any provision for cars can have big effects. Initiatives on this are being undertaken in Europe:

Eco Building Principles

The eco building principles established by the Building Biology and Ecology Institute of New Zealand (2007) are as follows:

Energy Efficiency

  • design passive solar energy facilities for the home using concrete floor thermal mass and pumice underfloor insulation
  • strive for a thermal resistance for the roof of R3.3 and R2.2 for the walls by using wool blend insulation
  • study life-cycle analysis of all building materials
  • use energy efficient appliances, solar panels and heat pump technology
  • centralise plumbing, insulate hot water cylinders and 'lag' hot water piping
  • consider resource efficiency, longevity of the building and strive for low maintenance.

Water Conservation

  • collect rainwater for external use i.e. garden/washing car
  • use water conserving appliances including toilets, shower, taps, washing machine and dish washer
  • reduce irrigation and surface water run-off .

Building Materials

  • use sustainable, certified, toxic treatment-free timber
  • select low volatile organic compounds (VOC) and toxic-free paints, finishes and adhesives
  • use materials that permit the building membrane to 'breathe'
  • apply natural floor surfaces such as tile, timber and linoleum
  • use sustainable solid timbers rather than processed composite sheet materials
  • use inert gypsum-based wall and ceiling linings.

Low Environmental Impact

  • create indoor/outdoor links and user-friendly transition areas
  • include water permeable landscape features
  • enhance native bush and create edible gardens
  • establish home recycling bins and garden composting.

Sustainability

  • think globally -act locally
  • reduce CO2 production, ozone and resource depletion, rainforest destruction and erosion
  • encourage environmentally-friendly technologies and sustainable solutions
  • assess the home according to the BRANZ Green Home Scheme
  • assess the home according to the Project C&D Waste Minimisation Programme
  • assess the home according to energy efficiency
  • assess the home according to the BBE eco-principles.

Waste Reduction

  • select materials using recycled components
  • design for re-use and recycling
  • control and reduce waste and packaging
  • reduce resource consumption.

Health and Wellbeing

  • meet the basic physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the home's residents
  • consider healthy lighting, colour and sound, controlled temperature and humidity and good indoor air quality to enhance the living environment
  • reduce formaldehyde emissions and use pollution fighting indoor plants
  • create an asthma aware home i.e. no fitted carpets, reduced ledges, low-allergen gardens
  • apply an integrated wiring system for lighting, power, security, fire alarm and audio facilities
  • design a safe and user-friendly home

Economic Performance

  • consider maintenance of the home plus initial 'running costs' pay-back period
  • strive for a balance between ecological integrity and economic viability.

Community Support

  • use local resources, skills, labour, crafts and art
  • consider local facilities and utilities
  • encourage community participation
  • integrate the streetscape and neighbourhood in the project.

In the article “Building Today for Tomorrow” of greenhomebuilding.com, the reason for building greener homes is really quite important. According to the article, we need to live more lightly on the earth, because the degradation of our environment is compromising not only our survival, but the survival of most other living beings on the planet. We can no longer ignore the impact we have on the earth's ecosystems. The way we live, the choices we make in providing for our needs, will have an enormous influence on the quality of life of those who will follow us. Now is the time to take responsibility for the consequences of our life styles! How we build our homes, both in design and choice of materials, is one of the most significant ways that we can affect our future. The website includes link on different information about the eco friendly building of houses.

Kelly Hart in her article “Thirteen Principles of Sustainable Architecture”, presented 13 principles. According to her, one of the most momentous choices that any of us will make is the kind of house we live in. That is why she comes up with the 13 principles of Sustainable Architecture:

  • Small is beautiful. The trend lately has been toward huge mansion-style houses. While these might fit the egos of those who purchase them, they don't fit with a sustainable life style. Large houses generally use a tremendous amount of energy to heat and cool. This energy usually comes from the combustion of fossil fuels, depleting these resources and emitting greenhouse gases and pollutants into the air. Also, the larger the house, the more materials go into its construction; materials which may have their own environmental consequences. A home should be just the right size for its occupants and their activities.
  • Heat with the sun. Nothing can be more comfortable for body and mind than living in a good solar-heated house.
  • Keep your cool. As I suggested above, a well designed solar house is both warm when you want it, and cool when you want it; that is to say, the temperature tends to stay fairly even. A good way to keep your cool is to dig into the earth. If you dig about six feet into the earth, you will find that the temperature there varies by only a few degrees year round. While this temperature (about 50-55 degrees

F.) might be too cool for general living comfort, you can use the stability of the earth's temperature to moderate the thermal fluctuations of the house. If you dig into a south-facing hillside to build, or berm the north part of the house with soil, you can take advantage of this. The part of the house that is under ground needs to be well insulated, or the earth will continually suck warmth out of the house.

  • Let nature cool your food. In the old days people relied on pantries and root cellars to help keep produce and other provisions fresh. Ice boxes made way for refrigerators, which are obviously much more convenient, but somehow the use of cool pantries and root cellars also fell by the wayside.
  • Be energy efficient. There are many ways to conserve the use of fossil fuel. Using the sun, wind, or water to produce electricity is one. If you choose to do this, you will be forced to be careful in the way you use your electricity because it is limited.
  • Conserve water. Between 100 and 250 gallons of water a day is the average consumption of an American. The use of low water capacity toilets, flow restrictors at shower heads and faucet aerators are fairly common now. More radical conservation approaches include diverting gray water from bathing, clothes washing and bathroom sinks to watering plants; catching rain water from roofs and paved areas for domestic use and switching to composting toilets. These can be very effective and safe means of water conservation if done carefully to avoid bacterial infestation. Landscaping with drought

tolerant, indigenous plants can save an enormous amount of water.

  • Use local materials. There are several benefits to using local, indigenous materials. For one, they naturally fit into the “feeling” of the place. For another, they don't burn as much fossil fuel to transport them, and they are likely to be less processed by industry.
  • Use natural materials. Again, naturally occurring materials often “feel” better to live with. When you step onto an adobe floor, for instance, you feel the resilient mother earth beneath your feet. A major reason for choosing natural materials over industrial ones is that the pollution often associated with their manufacture is minimized.
  • Save the forests. Having lived for many years in the Pacific Northwest, I can attest to the appalling degradation of national and private forests. While wood is ostensibly a renewable resource, we have gone way beyond sustainable harvesting and have ruined enormous ecosystems. Use wood as decoration. Cull dead trees for structural supports. Use masonry, straw bales, papercrete, cob, adobe, rocks, bags of volcanic rock, etc., instead of wood. Unfortunately it is difficult to get away from lumber in making a roof, so consider making a dome from materials that can be stacked. Domes are also more energy efficient and use less materials for the same space as a box. A conventional straw bale house only

diminishes the amount of wood used by about 15%!

  • Recycle materials. If the materials already exist, you might as well use them, because by doing so you are not promoting the creation of more of them. You might also be keeping them out of the landfill, or keeping them from being transported for further processing. Wood that is kept dry does not degrade much, nor does glass.
  • Build to last. There is an attitude in this throw-away society that an old house might as well be replaced by a new one. Unfortunately this is often true, because of shoddy construction or poor choice of materials, or lack of maintenance. A well made house can last for centuries, and it should. Moisture getting into a building can lead to ruin, and it is hard to avoid this, whether from the outside environment or from condensation from within.
  • Grow your food. Why not ask your house to help nourish you? With all of that south-facing glass, you might as well devote some of it to a greenhouse.
  • Share Facilities. A basic tenet of sustainability is to share what you have with others. Doing this can diminish the need for unnecessary duplication of facilities. In this way a group of people can not only have fewer tools or appliances or functional areas, but at the same time they can have available a greater variety of these facilities. This benefits both the environment (through less industrial activity) and the individual (by providing more options for living.)

The purpose of this article is to maintain a healthy environment for all of us inhabitants of planet earth. Based on the authors observation is does not take much study to notice that our environment has been taking tremendous hit over the last couple of centuries. Whole ecosystems have disappeared, along with the species that comprised them. We have been fouling our nest with our greed and disregard for the consequences of our actions.

Reference:

Building Today for Tomorrow (2007) http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/index.htm

Eco-friendly houses throw light on energy woes, January 2008 http://www.news24.com/City_Press/Lifestyle/0,,186-1697_2280552,00.html

Reducing the impact of housing on the environment, May 1997 http://www.jrf.org.uk/knowledge/findings/housing/H211.asp

Prior, M. (2005), Building an Eco Friendly Home

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6792/building_an_eco_friendly_home.html

http://www.waitakere.govt.nz/abtcit/ec/ecoinit/ecohsebrochure.asp


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