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What is the difference between GREEN BUILDING – SUSTAINABLE AND ECOLOGICAL CONSTRUCTION.

Eco House Tree The term Green Building is a borrowed Americanism that refers to buildings or construction materials and can be described as: An environmentally sustainable building, designed, constructed and operated to minimise the total environmental impacts.

Sustainable means that all materials and the subject buildings performance must be considered at the design stage, specifying and selecting materials and components with low embodied energy outputs and materials that can be replenished that will contribute to a lower carbon emission over the whole life period of a new building. A definition may be environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from site location and orientation to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.

Ecological Construction is really a phrase that has been adopted to encompass all areas of perceived sustainable construction but a fair definition would be "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".

All the above are connected and basically have the same aims however the more generally accepted term for Green Building or Ecological construction is Sustainable Construction - with several codes in place to act both as a yardstick and with mandatory rules to achieve the specified target level s for a new development.

Many manufacturers claim a "green status" for their products which may also contain the words sustainable, bio-construction or ecological but as there are no global or EU standards for "green building" these claims can be very misleading.
Whichever description you apply sustainable building is a very complicated subject. The main aim for us is to incorporate material into a building or specify components that concern the structural elements of the building that:
House Jigsaw    a. Have a low embodied energy count .
   b. Contribute to low or target carbon emissions.

The overall sustainability criteria (not necessarily structural) by which new homes are measured are:
Items A & B above are only covered by the first requirement shown above which is Operational Energy and CO2 Emissions - So what is Embodied energy?

Embodied energy is not occupant dependent - the energy is built into the materials. Embodied energy content is incurred once (apart from maintenance and renovation) whereas operational energy accumulates over time and can be influenced throughout the life of the building. Operational energy consumption depends on the occupants - see below.

Embodied Energy is: Operational Energy:
Energy used to:
  • Extract raw resources
  • Process materials
  • Assemble building components
  • Transport between each step
  • Construction
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Deconstruction
  • Disposal
Electricity – Steam – Natural gas used to:
  • Operate the building (heating lighting cooling and ventilation etc.)
Embodied Carbon: Operational Carbon:
Carbon resulting from:
  • Embodied energy use – each energy expenditure has its own mix of fuel types
  • Chemical reactions
  • Sequestrations (Carbon absorbed)
Carbon resulting from:
  • Operational energy use – whole building uses a mix of fuel types


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