Conventional Building & Natural Building
Most modern building relies on construction methods that are unkind to the environment. Many of the building materials, which are commonly used, are frequently transported long distances causing harmful emissions to the air. E.G. Cement
Cement is one of the most environmentally hazardous materials in the world, adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the entire weight of the global airline industry. According to the Sustainable Development Commission, 4% of Co2 is caused by aviation. Cement-based building materials, account for between 5% and 10% of all carbon dioxide emissions. Finding an alternative product to cement would, therefore, make excellent environmental sense, especially if we are to meet the government’s ambitious Kyoto agreement to limit the rise in our emissions to 13% above 1990 levels by 2012. Predictions are that Co2 will have increased by as much as 34% over 1990 levels
Faced with spiralling fuel costs – more than 40% of the cost of cement comes from firing the kilns. Not only do modern plants consume as much energy as a small town; the kilns exhale clouds of toxic chemicals.
Most of us tend to think that cars are the source of our environmental problems and yes, they are a big source. But buildings are responsible for a larger percentage of most environmental impacts. Buildings consume about 40% of all the energy used in the U.S. All transportation including cars is only about 28%.
Their manufacture damages ecosystems and exploits non-renewable resources through pollution and quarrying, and a great deal of energy is required to convert raw materials to finished products. In order to protect the environment and our own health typical building practices must be changed.
If the negative impact of buildings and the building industry is to be reduced we must find ways of building that reduce pollution of the air, water and soil during the building process and materials manufacture. In addition, thought must be given to the building both during design and after it is constructed so that it is energy efficient and healthy to live in.
We need to think of buildings and their surroundings as a whole. Important issues in natural building include, orientation of buildings on site, design of the building, choice of building materials and technologies used to heat the building and treat the waste produced from the building.
There are a range of materials and products, which are environmentally friendly, which if used by architects and builders could result in buildings that are healthy, sustainable and comply with planning and building regulations.