Sustainability and Green Development


Moreover, in many cases scarcity is an issue heavily related with the poverty. Despite the fact, that the Earth’s crust actually contains enough minerals that in fact technically can be extracted, nevertheless it cannot be done in reasonable price and be affordable for the poor.

Prices of raw materials have been growing in the last ten years reaching in some cases (e.g. in summer 2008) unprecedented levels. Though the more recent evolution of prices has changed, displaying a drastic fall in the last two years, prices are expected to rise again in the near future. Manifold reasons are behind this belief. Between them, the pressure on demand caused by the emerging economies and the diffusion of new technologies are important factors.

The increasing tendency in the raw materials’ prices and the volatility showed during the years 2005-2009 that governments and companies need to worry about the access to resources of the materials. The competition for the access to resources has intensified since supplier countries like China had started to consume raw materials and also began to retain some parts of the production, besides that China restricted exports.

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The economic development of emerging countries and the population growth contributed to increase the demand of raw materials in quantitative terms; at the same time the variety of materials extracted and used has increased (Mancini, 2013). It includes the so-called “technology metals”, which have essential properties for the production of high-tech devices and engineering systems applied e.g. in the production of clean energy technologies.

No matter how one does the calculations, the implications of current patterns of material use for the environment (including climate), the economy and our survival are profound and unsustainable. We must change the historical relationship of materials, energy, growth and the environment. Used carelessly, materials hold set of keys, which open equally threats to our heath, our economy and our environment.

Life Cycle Assessment or LCA can be defined as a systematic inventory and analysis of the environmental effect that is caused by a product or process starting from the extraction of raw materials, production, use, etc. up to the waste treatment (Walter Klopffer, 2014).Each of these steps include thorough analyses, which ones covers the use of material, sources of the energy used in the production, manufacturer and end of life stage, besides that analyses of the environmental impact. These analyses help to determine the weaknesses of the products, services or process.

LCA is a useful tool in (based on (Walter Klopffer, 2014)):

The change of the climate, energy policy, and the economy all create headings, but the stories that follow often miss the point that all these issues are, in part, symptoms of how we use materials. It is becoming increasingly clear that how we use materials is a large factor in energy use, climate change and the economy, and an important issue in its own right.

One of the most important political agenda of the EU[1] has become the security of supply of the raw materials. The European Union has started to take an action in order to assure the access to resources and avoid shortages of supply, which would reflect on loss of competitiveness. Moreover, a safe supply of minerals is essential to achieve the goals of the European environmental policy with respect to a low carbon economy, mitigation of climate change and energy efficient society.

Considering the population and consumption growth in the past 10 years, the demand for the resources had also increased significantly. As a consequence of demand for the resources the prices for resources are also increasing. Furthermore, the scientists are very aware that non-renewable resources will not last forever. People have a lot of discussion considering this fact whether it will be 20, 200 or 1000 years before, for example, the world’s petroleum resources are very scarce, but everyone agrees that this will happen someday.

The depletion of raw materials is one of the major sustainability problems. In fact the risks involved with the depletion of raw materials probably are higher than the issue of global warming. If we will take a look at history for example, at scarcity of substantial materials, mankind usually has gone fighting for them. Wherefore it is nearly unavoidable that the history will repeat itself.

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Furthermore, the depletion of the resources will affect the future generations and even the living that still are too poor and underdeveloped to take their fair share of these materials. However, the question of the scarcity of raw materials is unavoidable. Scarcity may be temporary if it appertains on available technology and costs. Short term scarcity is considered by the regular economy and in fact is one of the main principles of the law of supply and demand. It is only long term scarcity that is insufficiently considered and increasingly financial speculation systems ruin sustainable and sound price formation. (Scarcity of resources, 2014)

Sustainability is important to the well-being of our planet, continued growth of a society, and human development. Building construction and operations have significant direct and indirect impacts on the environment. The buildings use resources such as raw materials, water, energy besides that they also generate waste (construction, occupant and demolition), and emit supposedly harmful environmental emissions. Holders, architects, and workman’s of the buildings face a remarkable challenges to meet requirements for new and refurbished constructions that are productive, healthy, accessible and secure while reducing their impact on the environment. This requires for new improvements in structures, using operations (that are environmentally reliable) and efficiency of materials during a buildings life time from design phase till deconstruction including construction, operation, maintenance, and renovation.

At present, it is widely accepted that economic development must be sustainable, as far as minimisation of environmental impacts and safe-guarding of non-renewable resources is concerned. In particular, the opportunity of re-using solid waste materials as a replacement for those extracted from quarries in building construction is becoming more and more widespread.

One of the most important factors defining a sustainable building is the materials. Some examples of the sustainable building materials include various types of lumber, fine-grain woods, marble mantels, sheep wool andbamboo.

According tothe Environmental Protection Agency: “Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony that permits fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.”

Oftentimes, green buildings and sustainable practices are used variably. Sustainable practices are processes that maintain human needs and ameliorate the life quality in the process of making effective and environmentally responsible use of economic, natural and human resources. Terry J. Williamson, in his “Understanding Sustainable Architecture” describes that green building is a construction using any various methods that promote resource conservation (materials, energy, and water) and reduces environmental impact while keeping operational costs low (Terry J. Williamson, 2002). Sustainable architecture also looks at the life cycle of a building in terms of energy use and environmental impact.

In 1970 the world voiced their concern about the increasing population growth and the exponential increase in the activity of the industry.During the 70’s the concern was heightened even more when the Middle East cut down the supplies of fossil fuels and prices for the energy had risen. Scientist, architects and other people began to search for ways of preserving the environment and consuming less energy in the buildings.

People became tired of the uncontrolled pollution and materials which damages the environment. A whole new accentuation was placed on using the free natural resources of the earth, as well as recycling the resources which were already exploited. New analyses initiated to display the advantages of taxing effects of pollution, and more importantly, that there was still time to do something about it. Activists began creating laws restricting pollution output and even forbidding some chemicals and industrial products.

The world promptly learned that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Even thought, properly disposing of dangerous materials and filtering smoke from the factories was a costly effort, it was undoubtedly cheaper than cleaning up the environment later.

One of the easiest places to experiment with sustainability was within the living space. Using natural building materials, which ones are closer to the nature, such as wood and stone are much more natural than steel and concrete. Therefore, using recycled elements in the construction saves landfills from countless amount of garbage every year.Sustainability was not only about saving money, but also enabled buildings to become part of the environment, rather than stick out from it. Sustainability also became known as "green" architecture.

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Green development, eco-housing, sustainable design - environmentally sound housing has as many names as it has definitions, but the Rocky Mountain Institute, in its "Primer on Sustainable Building", describes this new kind of architecture as "taking less from the Earth and giving more to people." (Dianna Lopez Barnett, 1995) In practice, "green" housing varies widely. For example, it can fluctuate from being energy efficient and using green products for various parts of the construction to being fully constructed of recycled materials and completely powered by the sun (or any other renewable energy sources).

Green building practices offer a possibility to build resource efficient and environmentally friendly buildings by using a blended approach to the design. Sustainable buildings promote resource protection, including efficiency of the energy, renewable energy sources and water preservation features; reflect on the environmental impacts during the life time and waste minimization at the end of life stage; create an intact and convenient environment; reduce maintenance and operation costs; and address issues such as cultural heritage, access to public transportation and other community systems. The whole life cycle (from the raw materials acquisition till end of life) of the building and its components is examined, as well as the environmental and economic impact and performance.

An increasing public consciousness of the impact that construction has on human well-being, climate change, usage of the energy and environmental degradation have led in recent years to an increasing interest in environmentally sustainable construction. One of the most significant factors inducing building sustainability is the sustainability of the materials used in the construction.

However, as the studies show, there is little connection between the assessment and measurement of materials sustainability attributes, resulting in the market today that is littered with hundreds of inconsistent, rivalling and often mistaken certifications, standards and eco-labels.

This controversy has led both to confusion among commercial purchasers and consumers of sustainable building materials, and to the implication of incompatible criteria for sustainability in larger building certification programs.

Global warming is the observed and projected increases in the average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans.The Earth's average temperature raises about 0.6° Celsius in the 20th century, see the temperature graph below.

The change of the climate is brought about by our actions that incorporate the release of remarkable amounts of greenhouse gases. Scientifically speaking greenhouse gases traps the heat and also allows some heat to escape back into the outer space. Basically, the more greenhouse gases are in the atmosphere, the more heat gets trapped.

The flourishing growth and increasing sustainable developments involves a wide ranging knowledge of guiding principles and issues over and above an objective understanding of scientific and economic reasonableness. Everyone needs to concentrate and participate in various educational programs, conferences in order to impart consciousness and understanding of the global warming effect. We need to take an enterprising approach to the environment, development of new power sources, building efficiency and engineering a sustainable approach to the progress.

At present the Earth is experiencing the warming effect which is called global warming. It is advantageous for the main cities[2] of the world to endorse the Kyoto protocols[3] to ensure the reduction emissions of the greenhouse gases. These cities have an enormous opportunity to change the environment. People must admit the fundamental and severe task of forming the cities because they are the main drivers of our social systems.

First of all, we need to understand what sustainability is. Awareness and responsiveness will help us to find the ways on how to lessen the dangers of the global warming. New technologies and understanding the importance of the global warming can help us to build a sustainable lifestyle which will last for generations. People must create a better and healthier world where every nation can live in a harmony with the nature.

The cities where we live are a proximate and actual measure of what we create and our families are the smallest unit of the society. This idea is the connection with the politics and government, built surroundings and environment, social and economic ideas. Looking at a work of our municipality allows us to evaluate our ability to help transform ourselves in better sustainable nations.

To figure out what is causing the global warming, scientists have analysed all the natural cycles and events that are familiar to influence the change of the climate. However, the amount and pattern of warming that is been measured cannot be explained by these factors alone.

There is just one way to clarify the pattern and it is to involve the effect of greenhouse gases (GHGs) released by people actions.

A group of the scientists called theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC formed by the United Nations[4] gathers all information about the causes of the global warming. The group meets every few years to survey the up to date scientific discoveries and write a protocol summarizing all what is being found about global warming. Each report represents an agreement between hundreds of leading scientists.

The scientists have figure out that there are several greenhouse gases responsible for warming, and humans emit them in a variety of ways. Most come from the combustion of fossil fuels in cars, factories and electricity production. The gas responsible for the most warming is carbon dioxide, also called CO2. Other contributors include methane released from landfills and agriculture (especially from the digestive systems of grazing animals), nitrous oxide from fertilizers, gases used for refrigeration and industrial processes, and the loss of forests that would otherwise store CO2. (Global Warming Causes, 2014)

Diverse types of greenhouse gases have very contrasting heat trapping capabilities. Some of the greenhouse gases can trap more heat than CO2 molecule. For example, one molecule of methane has 20 times bigger impact on the environment than a molecule of CO2. Another type of gases nitrous oxide is 300 times stronger than CO2 molecule. Other gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons (which have been banned in much of the world because they also degrade the ozone layer), have heat-trapping potential thousands of times greater than CO2 (Global Warming Causes, 2014). However, because the concentrations of the other gases are less than that of CO2, neither of these gases supplements as much heat to the atmosphere as CO2 does.

To understand and figure out the effects of all the gases generally, scientists looking after all greenhouse gases in terms of the equivalent amount of CO2. From 1990 more than a 20 percent of yearly emissions have risen up by about 6 billion metric tons of "carbon dioxide equivalent" worldwide (Global Warming Causes, 2014).

First off all, there need to be improvement in the energy efficiency. Very roughly one third of energy is used in the building sector (domestic and commercial), one third in the transport sector and one third in the industry sector. Considerable savings can be done in all three sectors, many with noticeable savings in the cost. However to achieve these savings in practice will require appropriate inducement and incentives from central and local government and a great deal of determination from all of us.

For example the sector of the buildings: all new developments need to include energy sources that are carbon-free. Existing buildings need to be upgrade for much higher energy efficiency. Large efficiency savings are also possible in the transport sector. For cars, for instance, a progression of technologies between now and 2050 is anticipated to begin with petrol/electric hybrids then move on to fuel cells and hydrogen fuel. Within the industrial sector a serious drive for energy savings is already occurring. A number of the world’s largest companies have already achieved savings in energy that have translated into money savings.

Secondly, there are possibilities for sequestration of carbon underground, for instance, in spent oil and gas fields or in suitable rock formations. For example: because of the large number of coal fired plants being built especially in China and India, rapid development, demonstration and implementation of carbon capture and storage (CCS)[5] in all new plants is a very high priority.

Thirdly, a wide variety of non-fossil-fuel sources of energy is available for development and exploitation, for instance, biomass (including waste), solar power, hydro, wind, wave, tidal, geothermal energy and nuclear. The potential of solar power, both photovoltaic and concentrated solar power (known as CSP in which solar energy is used to drive heat engines), is especially large, particularly in developing countries and near desert areas with high levels of sunshine. The opportunities within industry for innovation, development and investment in all these areas are considerable.

[1] EU - TheEuropean Union(EU) is apolitico-economicunion of 28member statesthat areprimarilylocated inEurope.

[2] Main cities are the leading countries in the world: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States and European Union.

[3] Kyoto protocol - is an international treaty that sets binding obligations on industrialized countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

[4] United Nations - is anintergovernmental organizationestablished on 24 October 1945 to promote international co-operation.

[5] Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) - is the process of capturing wastecarbon dioxide(CO2) from largepoint sources, such asfossil fuel power plants, transporting it to a storage site, and depositing it where it will not enter the atmosphere, normally an undergroundgeological formation.