A very distinguished subject which needs major limelight is the climatic change and effect of our construction on nature.
In layman words we all consider carbon footprints and topics related it - a thing of professionals and we have no say in it. But since the problem is everyone's so, we need to understand what it is, how it's effecting our nature & us and how it can be reduced.
It's a well known fact that construction constitutes a major part in greenhouse gas emission thus increasing carbon footprints in the would.
Be it a personal construction project for common man or be it a professional project for architects, engineers or any person involved we all have gone through a phase of it and we are least aware of the carbon footprints and the adverse effects on nature.
Initiating the publication with-
What actually is a carbon footprint?
A methodology used to calculate the overall emission of greenhouse gases. These gases are supremely harmful and they constitute of carbon di oxide, Methane, nitrous oxide, Hydrofluoric carbon, perfluoro carbons, sulphur oxofluoride. All these gases can be really harmful and provide more heat into environment. They are basically induced from vehicles, buildings, electricity etc.
Moreover some of the gases are more harmful than other in the list. So, the carbon is used as a magnitude to calculate the emission in these gases.
Knowing the basics is important.
How can we calculate the carbon footprints?
You may consider this particular section to be on professionals as they need to do the calculations which I totally agree, but don't you want to know how it's done, what accounting is considered the most important one.
Knowing certain things our of your field of expertise is always a plus point to your knowledge which one can flex or use it for betterment.
There are actually several methods but I learnt two of them through UGREEN as they taught were top down and bottom up. where emissions were calculated based on activities.
There are certain carbon credits which are given to the institute which plants trees or use energy saving methods such as solar power etc.
How is construction contributing to exceeding carbon footprints and how it can be controlled?
A well designed building is of no use if it produces larger carbon footprints and is turned out to be harmful for nature. There are substantially certain phases where we need to consider the carbon emission. The construction phase and long time usage phase
Efficiency does not meant to be constrained on design features and aesthetics but also on the methodology and the materials. Likewise everything from doors to cladding, furniture to decoration the things are made and the process of the making of for example door should be considered. Knowing from where the raw materials came , how and where the manufacturing took place and what could be the adverse effect on the materials as well as when the said door is recycled or discarded completely.
The manufacturing emits carbon footprints we need to uphold what's constructed how it is done and where accounting for how much waste they have left for the nature to grasp. Considering steel for example, It could be recycled but can cement be? Nope! so we know it will end up in some landfill or dump which ultimately emits certain GHG ( green house gases).
What can be done?
The important materials and things which are needed they will ultimately be used but we still can reduce the adverse impact.
The first most thing to consider is the natural material usage, prioritising on the regional one as it cuts the cost and carbon footprints of transportation and bringing of materials from farther places. for example- Bamboo, straw, earth, wood, sand and such materials which requires least processing.
If we are opting for manmade then considering steel, lime , cement etc as there are list of materials which contribute least emission in nature.
Not just materials but the techniques too constitute to be integral part of process. Using renewable source of energy like solar and wind. we know about solar panels and wind mills.
Constituting natural ventilation is a big deal. Having rainwater harvesting system and waste water treatment is best thing we can do in terms of water usage.
Landscaping is the marvellous element we can add to our building.
There are certain services provided for free or paid as depending on projects where we know the materials which have least carbon footprint and the shrubs & herbs we need to constitute in our landscaping in said area.
The construction waste should always be treated before dumping.
Concluding with a thought that how important is nature and how much it has granted us as gifts so we should always respect it. Moreover Construction is unavoidable as it is the symbol of growth but we can take construction into great way and make it eco friendly as much as possible. I know and I am hoping for more advanced technologies to be introduced in future which would result in much less carbon footprint emitted by a construction and building.
This inspired me a lot and I am perusing a specialisation in green building expert. Maybe I will opt for LEED or GRIHA consultancy so that I could be more efficient for my future projects.
Hope this might have pushed you a little to consider such aspects in any ongoing or in future construction you are going to be the part of!