To begin with, there are lots of different types of energy used in civil engineering and it is therefore necessary to provoke any possible waste of this energy. During the last few years many large building and housing associations have developed many projects aiming to reduce the wasted energy and have created the sustainable constructions.
Sustainable constructions are these that have been built by strictly following a certain method of construction during which the target is to carry out all the phases of the design and construction process by following the principles of sustainability in constructions. These principles address mainly towards the ecological, social and economic issues of a building and they aim to reduce the used resources during the construction, to choose resources that can be used again, to protect the natural environment during the construction and to eliminate the toxics that have been used. Furthermore, a sustainable construction must apply the life - cycle costing and the construction should be focused on the quality of the materials and the quality of the used resources.
After creating the first sustainable constructions projects the building associations discovered that they have many advantages. To begin with, the cost of the construction is low because as the used energy is reduced, the cost is going to be reduced as well. The economic benefit becomes even bigger because the costs that are going to be spent for the disposals are reduced and much lower than the ones normally spent in other building activities. In addition, these buildings are not going to have any problem if the future energy price increases as they absorb and use their own energy and they are not worried about any possible change of the environmental regulations about buildings as they have all the required ecological standards. There are also some social benefits created by the use of sustainable constructions, such as the increase of the local employment, the development opportunities for a construction company that has completed a sustainable construction project and the reduction of nuisance.
There are many examples of sustainable buildings and some of them are located into the UK. One of them is The Devonshire Building which is located at Newcastle, at Newcastle's University Campus. It is a six storey building which combines nice design and sustainability as the solar shading has managed to fit well into the design of the structure. This building contains an automatic motorized Brise Soleil which concentrates the solar energy in order to use it for the needs of heating or lighting of the building. The heat which comes from the office spaces is rejected into the cooling water circuit providing efficient water use. A geothermal water tank is also operating in the building, using the earth's energy for heating purposes with the help of a plate heat exchanger. The Devonshire Building has been operating since 2004 and has won the 'BREEAM Excellent Award'.
The Devonshire Building
Another sustainable building is the 'Gherkin Building' which is located at London. This building was constructed by SKANSKA and it is a forty storey tower located into the center of England's capital. The Gherkin Building has been into the center of the attention not only for its unusual size and shape but also because it was one of the first sustainable constructions in England. The building uses only half the power a similar tower would normally consume as it uses energy - saving methods. To begin with, there are some gaps on each floor which create six shafts that work as a natural ventilation system for the whole building by creating a giant double glazing effect as they keep the air between the two layers of glazing and insulate the office space inside. In addition, the shafts pull the warm air out of the building during the summer and warm the building during the winter by making use of the passive solar heating. Furthermore, the lighting costs are reduced as the shafts allow sunlight to pass through the building, while the environment of the building becomes more pleasant for both the workers and visitors. In conclusion , this fascinated construction is in operation since 2004 and on 2005 it was voted the most admired new building in the word , in a survey of the world's finest architects , as it was published in 2006 BD Word Architecture 200.