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T11.3: Key Environmental Considerations of Sustainable Development

Climate Change, a consequence of increasing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel generated energy, is causing a warming of the earth and more extremes of weather. Water as a resource is becoming increasingly scarce and will need to be managed more effectively if it is to provide adequately for future generations. Production and consumption of materials and associated waste needs to be more efficient and reduce the burden on landfill sites and other methods of disposal. Collectively, these issues have highlighted the urgent need for more environmentally sustainable development. This range of issues will require an interdisciplinary approach and the generic skills of leadership, creating a project vision and good project management to deliver appropriate solutions as set out in the Egan Review of ‘Skills for Sustainable Communities 2004’.

In general, the approach should aim to reduce ‘linear’ processes whereby natural resources are used and waste is produced, and promote ‘circular’ processes that make maximum use of reuse, refurbishment and recycling opportunities. The following key issues are therefore considered to be critical in achieving more environmentally sustainable building/community practices. 

  • Energy: reduce demand for energy (energy efficiency) and promote efficient supply and renewable energy, potentially through integrated site wide solutions. 
  • Water: assess flood risks, minimise foul drainage and promote efficient water supply and sustainable [urban] drainage systems. 
  • Materials: resource efficiency in construction methods and materials. 
  • Waste: Minimising waste by reusing and recycling materials and construction site waste management.

Each of the issues outlined above are described in more detail in subsequent sections of this guide with appropriate links to further information.

Last Updated on Wednesday 16/02/2011 - 10:44AM

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Advisory Team for Large Applications (ATLAS), 2017