Timber Engineering Europe
What is the difference between GREEN BUILDING – SUSTAINABLE AND ECOLOGICAL CONSTRUCTION.
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.
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.
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
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:
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
- Energy and CO2 Emissions – Operational Energy and resulting emissions of carbon dioxide
to the atmosphere
- Water – Internal and external water saving measures specified.
- Materials – The sourcing and environmental impact of materials used to build the home
(minimum standards present).
- Surface Water Run-off – Management of surface water run-off from the development and flood risk
- Waste – Storage for recyclable waste and compost, and care taken to reduce, reuse and
recycle construction materials.
- Pollution – The use of insulation materials and heating systems that do not add to global warming.
- Health and Well-Being – Provision of good daylight quality, sound insulation, private space,
accessibility, and adaptability.
- Management – A Home User Guide, designing in security, and reducing the impact of construction
- Ecology – Protection and enhancement of the ecology of the area and efficient use of building land.
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?
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
|Embodied Energy is:
| Energy used to:
- Extract raw resources
- Process materials
- Assemble building components
- Transport between each step
- Maintenance and repair
| Electricity – Steam – Natural gas used to:
- Operate the building (heating lighting cooling and ventilation etc.)
| 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