Sustainable Development was defined in the 1987 Bruntland Report as the “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Population growth constantly requires the construction of projects. Compared to other industrial sectors, the construction industry is larger in size and linked to various activities that are incredibly crucial to society as a whole. Housing and infrastructure, such as transport, communications, water supply and sewage, are necessary for any country’s proper economic and social development and are essential for achieving sustainability on a global level. In the European Union, for example, buildings account for 40% of energy consumption, and the construction industry, as a whole, is responsible for 40% of the total waste generated.
The Agenda 21 for Sustainable Construction summarizes the issues and problems relating to the implementation of sustainability principles by the construction sector. Furthermore, it provides a framework that attempts to be the intermediary between sustainability declarations of a more general and global nature and their implementation at a more local level in each country.
The notion of Sustainable Construction is different in every country and depends on the degree of economic development. The concept of sustainable construction has evolved in recent years. Initially, sustainable construction was mainly a matter of technical issues, such as the type of materials, reducing energy consumption, and the overall environmental impact. Today, sustainable construction is being extended to new non-technical issues, relating to social and cultural problems associated with construction.
It is apparent that it is impossible to establish general rules for sustainable construction that apply in all cases and at all scales, given the different degrees of economic development in different countries, national and local social and cultural differences, the economic climate, and the environment. However, despite the existing differences, it is possible to point out some general elements that apply to sustainable construction at a country level, such as:
- Reduction of energy consumption
- Reduction of the use of materials
- Conservation of natural ecosystems and biodiversity
- Conservation of the quality of the built environment
- Conservation or maintenance of the quality of the indoor environment
At a local level, the following specific issues and problems are highlighted:
- The quality of the construction in relation to the property value
- The anticipation of the needs of property users in the future, an issue related to the ability of developers to adapt to the new real estate market
- The longer-term extension of the use of the properties
- The use of local natural resources, e.g., building materials or human resources
The type of problems relating to sustainable construction, generally, can be categorized into:
- “Physical” problems related to the use of natural resources such as energy, and materials
- “Biological” problems related to human survival
- “Social” problems that appear in many aspects such as socio-economic, socio-political, and socio-cultural.
Construction sustainability is a complicated matter which affects, in some way, a large part of society. At the same time, the considerations, objectives and procedures to address them involve many different hierarchical levels.
Source: INTRODUCTION TO SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION – T. Giannakopoulou, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace
IKIOS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, by defining the human environment, adopts the principles mentioned above and tries to contribute to achieving sustainable development goals, especially in regard to sustainable construction.
Our goal is to create buildings that are:
- architecturally attractive
- easy to construct, use, operate, and maintain
- minimally damaging to the internal and external environment during the construction, operation, and deconstruction phases
- resistant to adverse environmental/climatic conditions, and changes
- cost-effective for users, owners and society