Message - Sustainable Housing

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Posted by  John Cotterill on January 26, 2004 at 06:58:56:

Sustainable development may now be in the spotlight, but switched-on business people will know that the term has been around for over 20 years.

It first broke into the consciousness of many international policy-makers and multinational corporations in 1987, with the publication of Our Common Future, the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. The Commission’s definition, since widely adopted, was: "Development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Global Issues
It is widely recognised that there are four main global sustainability issues: global warming, non-renewable energy resource depletion, toxic pollution and ozone depletion, and that these global issues far outweigh any local sustainability issues in their need for immediate attention and potential impact from inaction.Recent studies have shown that the first three issues are essentially one. The extraction and consumption of fossil fuels is by far the most significant contributor to global warming, non renewable resources depletion and toxic pollution.In the UK 60% of fossil fuels are used to heat buildings. Therefore sustainability comes down to two main issues: reduce fossil fuel use and specify zero ODP products.By far the most economical method of reducing fossil fuel use is to reduce space heating and more recently cooling demand. The investment for renewable energy sources only becomes convincing once space heating and cooling demand is minimised as capital costs are prohibitive to most. There are two main methods of reducing space heating demand: Reduce heat loss through the building fabric;Reduce heat loss from unintentional air leakage.

Local Issues
Reduce Landfill - The UK construction industry generates at least 70 million tonnes of waste per annum. In addition to this, it is estimated that 13% of materials that go to site never get used and go straight into the waste stream. The key issues here is landfill, which is fast running out. The government are currently dealing with this by imposing increasingly heavy landfill taxes. However, a number of EU countries have already instigated a landfill ban on combustible and recyclable materials.Reduce Transport – Traditional construction methods such as masonry and timber frame often require delivery of components to site from many different manufacturers or distributors. This can often mean numerous deliveries to site increasing congestion, noise and traffic pollution, but all of which can have a major impact on the environment.

Sustainable Building Solution
The Kingspan TEK Haus Building System as designed and built by SIP home Ltd, can reduce space heating demands not only by achieving U-values as low as 0.1 W/m2.K but also by achieving air-tightness as low as 0.08 air changes per hour at normal pressures or 0.91 air changes per hour at 50 Pa. The Kingspan TEK Haus Building System panels are produced in a continuous zero Ozone Depletion Potential (CFC/HCFC-free) process.The OSB3 facings of the panels are manufactured from the routine thinnings from managed plantations.The Kingspan TEK Haus Building System is factory produced meaning there is minimal site wastage and therefore more efficient use of materials on site. The minimal level of site wastage means less landfill which also helps reduce costs. The waste materials produce in the factory and on site can be recycled and returned to the manufacturing process with almost no waste.The Kingspan TEK Haus Building System comes from one source and is ‘flat packed’ to optimise loading. Therefore there is less impact on the environment from congestion, noise and traffic pollution because fewer lorries are travelling to and from sites.

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