This concept of obligation that crosses temporal boundaries is referred to as intergenerational justice. Furthermore, the concept of intergenerational justice implies a chain of obligation between generations that extends from today into the distant future. He argues that by creating conditions that change resource availability or that alter the environment, future populations will be compositionally different than if the resource base and environmental conditions had been passed on, from one generation to future generations, unchanged. For instance one can envision that mutations caused by excessive ultraviolet radiation through an ozone layer depleted by human activities, or by synthetic, toxic chemicals used without adequate safeguards, will certainly result in different people and conditions. Clearly this would include educating the offspring about these obligations and the basis for them.

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Construction ecology and metabolism: natural system analogues for a sustainable built environment Charles J. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.

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A high priority for evaluation, in the light of its impacts on environmental quality and resources, is industrial activity in general and the construction industry speci cally. The sustainability of this industrial sector is dependent on a fundamental shift in the way resources are used, from non-renewables to renewables, from high levels of waste to high levels of reuse and recy- cling, and from products based on lowest rst cost to those based on life-cycle costs and full cost accounting, especially as applied to waste and emissions from the industrial processes that support construction activity.

The emerging eld of industrial ecology provides some insights into sustainability in the built environment or sustainable construction.

Construction, like other industries, would bene t from observing the metabolic behaviour of natural systems where sustainability is built in. This paper describes a view of the construction industry based on natural systems and industrial ecology for the purpose of beginning the discovery of how to shift the construction industry and its supporting materials industries onto a path much closer to the ideals of sustainability.

Keywords: sustainability, resource ef ciency, sustainable construction, industrial ecology, industrial metabo- lism, design for the environment, construction ecology, construction metabolism Introduction Ecosystems are the source of important lessons and models for transitioning human activities onto a sustainable path. A variety of approaches to considering the application of natural system design principles to the industrial subsystem of human activities is emerging to help redesign the conduct of a linear economy based largely on the consumption of non-renewable resources.

Some of the emerging disciplines helping to de ne methods of adapting ecosystem models to human activity are industrial ecology, design for the environment, indus- trial metabolism and cleaner production.

A comple- mentary emerging discipline, design for the environ- ment DFE , is altering the design process of human artefacts to enhance the reuse and recycling of material components of products. Industrial metabolism exam- ines the inputs, processes and outputs of industry to gain insights into resource utilization and waste production of industry, with an eye towards improving resource ef ciency.

Cleaner production is the system- atic reduction in material use and the control and prevention of pollution throughout the chain of indus- trial processes from raw material use through product end of life BATE, Eco-ef ciency calls on companies to reduce the material and energy output of goods and services, reduce toxic waste, make materials recyclable, maximize sustainable use of resources, increase product durability and increase the service intensity of goods and services Fiksel, In more recent thinking, industrial ecology is being rede ned to extend the starting point of industrial symbiosis to include design for the environment, indus- trial metabolism, eco-ef ciency, cleaner production, and a host of other emerging terms describing prop- erties of a so-called eco-industrial system.

Construction and operation of the built environment in the OECD countries accounts for the greatest consumption of material and energy resources of all economic sectors and could bene t the most from employing natural systems models. Within the frame- work being de ned by industrial ecology, the construc- tion industry would be well served by the de nition of a subset, construction ecology, which spells out how this industry could achieve sustainability, both in the segment that manufactures the products that comprise the bulk of modern buildings and in the segment that assembles these products into the actual buildings and demolishes existing buildings.

This paper examines the potential for the construc- tion industry to incorporate lessons learned from both natural systems and the emerging eld of industrial ecology in its materials cycles.

It also explores the issue of dematerialization and its relevance to the built environment. In many respects the construction industry is not different from other industrial sectors. However, there are enough differences, especially the long lifetime and enormous diversity of products Kibert et al. Conse- quently, attempts to de ne an ecology for this industry and to understand its metabolism present some unique problems not encountered in other industrial sectors. Scope Applying lessons learned from natural systems and knowledge emerging from the industrial ecology effort is an extremely broad topic.

This paper will focus largely on materials cycles and discuss energy only as a peripheral issue. Although the built environment itself is a very broad topic, this discussion will dwell largely on buildings and their design and less on infra- structure and planning. It is acknowledged that resource consumption is driven to a large extent by the design of infrastructure, building density, land use, transportation system design, and other factors. Materials and sustainability Sustainability is affected by anthropogenic materials use due to 1 environmental effects of mass materials movement during extraction, 2 depletion of high quality mineral stocks for industrial use and 3 dissi- pation of concentrated materials resulting from wear and emissions.

Mass materials movements and their negative environmental impacts are a recently identi- ed phenomenon. As humans deplete the relatively accessible and valuable stocks of minerals, there are fewer of these resources available for future genera- tions, and the energy needed to extract more dilute stocks and the distances they must be transported will both undoubtedly increase.

The dissipation of artefacts is the thermodynamic equivalent of increasing entropy or conversion from useful to useless Georgescu- Roegen, ; Ayres, The earth, along with its biosphere, is essentially a closed system with respect to materials and materials ux. Organizations studying materials cycles are producing convincing arguments that the environ- mental damage caused by extraction of primary materials is exceeding the capacity of natural systems to cope with the damage being caused by the mass material movements accompanying their extraction.

Estimates by the Wuppertal Institute are that the materials ux of human processes is twice the ux caused by all natural forces and systems combined, including hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and volcanoes, excluding sea oor spreading and conti- nental subduction Schmidt-Bleek, Some 30 years ago, Harrison Brown suggested that Downloaded by [Indian Institute of Technology Madras] at 06 January Construction ecology humankind had already become a major geological force.

He noted the need for increased recycling ef - ciency and reducing the demand on extraction as the source for metals to both protect the environment and address the worldwide disparity in resource availability between rich and poor nations. Accompanying the Wuppertal Institute scenario is the hypothesis that sustainability requires that the human induced materials ux should be no greater than the natural ux.

The introduction of tens of thousands of synthetic chemicals, many of them hazardous, into the global environment is another factor that is causing documented illnesses and distur- bances to the reproductive systems of animals, including humans, throughout the world.

The net effect of all these human disturbances is not clearly understood but the result can only be catastrophic if these trends continue, especially if synergism and posi- tive feedback loops amplify these negative effects. Alternatively it could be said that resource ef ciency must be increased by a factor of 10 to achieve the same end. Dematerialization is the reduction of the quantities of materials needed to serve economic functions Wernick, or the decline over time in the mass of materials used in industrial end-products Wernick et al.

It should be noted that this proposal for dematerializa- tion does not distinguish between virgin and recycled or reused resources.

Closing materials loops could produce, in effect, a factor of 10 reduction in human- induced materials ux from the earth, with a far smaller reduction in aggregate materials throughput.

In addressing dematerialization, Stephen Bunker notes that instead of being an environmental or sustainable development response, dematerialization is not much more than an attempt to increase prof- itability, that it is not a new idea because industry always strives to lower the unit costs of production.

The intensity of use IOU index measures materials mass per unit of gross domestic product and for all industrialized countries IOU indices have been gener- ally falling for many decades, indicating, by this metric, a steady dematerialization of their economies.

In fact, industries compete to offer ever more lines of prod- ucts, increase labour productivity and, in effect, increase demand and the consumption of materials. In housing, for example, over the past 30 years the average US home has steadily increased in size from to square meters while the number of occupants has fallen from 3.

Aggregate materials use or throughput, in contrast to IOU indices, is steadily increasing, and environmental damage is climbing proportionately. Also neglected in discussions of dema- terialization are the toxic by-products associated with the extraction and processing of, for example, metals such as copper, zinc, platinum and titanium. Part of the problem with clearly assessing dematerialization is the substitution of lighter materials for heavier ones. In what is a classic scenario in materials use, high tech- nology polymers and carbon composites are rapidly replacing metals in many applications Williams et al.

Although dematerialization in an IOU sense is occurring by shifting to these alternatives, the envi- ronmental damage caused by the production of these materials and their general non-recyclability can make the bene ts of dematerialization questionable. True dematerialization must focus on virgin resource extraction rather than just an IOU sense, and the envi- ronmental impacts of the technologies and substitu- tions creating dematerialization need to be carefully scrutinized.

Dematerialization must also focus on a shift to reuse, recycling and re-manufacturing, which are all important aspects of closing materials loops.

Additionally, de-energization, decarbonization and detoxi cation of the industrial system should accom- pany dematerialization if signi cant resource and ecological bene ts are to be achieved. The irre- versible loss of species and ecosystems, and the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and of toxic metals and chemicals in the topsoil, ground- water and in the silt of lake-bottoms and estuaries, are not reversible by any plausible technology that could for soil fertility, clean Downloaded by [Indian Institute of Technology Madras] at 06 January appear in the next few decades.

Finally, the great nutrient cycles of the natural world — carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, and phosphorus — require constant stocks in each environmental compartment, and balanced in ows and out ows. These conditions have already been violated by large-scale and unsustainable human intervention.

Finally, Denis Hayes suggested that a sustainable world would be one in which material well- being would almost certainly be indexed by the quality of the existing inventory of goods, rather than by the rate of physical turnover.

Planned obsolescence would be eliminated. Excessive consumption and waste would become causes of embarrassment, rather than symbols of prestige. Lessons from natural systems Many authors have suggested that human industrial systems can and must use the metaphor of biological systems as guidance for their design.

The eld of ecological engineering emerged from H. These lessons can be explored on the large or systems scale as well as on the small or microscopic scale in terms of the metabolism of natural systems versus industrial systems.

On the large scale, this might mean that industry should recast itself as an industrial ecology or ecosystem where it would be comprised of an interrelated network of producers and consumers that would function much as a natural ecosystem Frosch and Gallopoulos, ; Frosch, Industrial processes would function much as biological organisms in that excess energy and waste from some systems would serve as inputs for indus- tries requiring energy and that can use the waste in their production systems Ausubel, There are many questions to be answered in attempting to redesign industry to behave like nature.

Do natural systems in fact use resources optimally or can technology actually improve on the energy and matter utilization of nature, perhaps through observing nature itself? Are there limits to using the natural system metaphor for indus- trial systems and, if there are, what are they? Can mankind really live off current solar income as has been suggested or is this impossible if quality of life for present and future populations is to be maintained?

What is the human-carrying capacity of the earth if Kibert et al. Can natural systems perform many critical functions required by humankind and in effect substi- tute for the work of industry in some cases? Robert Ayres described some of the analogues between natural and economic systems by noting that natural systems themselves might not have always been sustainable.

Alternatively, it can be said that no natural system is sustainable over large timescales. Changes in natural systems re ect experi- ments that shift the composition of processes, func- tions and species, both independently and in response to novelty of system composition or of context changing conditions. Evolutionary history is studded with unprecedented leaps of novelty that rendered unsustainable many systems that had endured for aeons.

Stage one of life on earth consisted of fermen- tation-based life forms functioning and replicating by anabolism, generating carbon dioxide waste that accu- mulated in the atmosphere. The anaer- obic stage-one organisms were followed in stage two by organisms employing photosynthesis to utilize the carbon and discharge oxygen as waste, thus killing most extant biota for which oxygen was a toxic gas. The emergence of oxygen was a radical shift in context that permitted an explosive increase in opportunities for biota that would have been unimaginable beforehand.

In this manner, novelty periodically resets the standard for what is sustainable Holling et al. Ayres suggests that the present industrial system, so dependent on fossil fuel based energy systems, is analogous to the stage-one fermen- tation cells that essentially convert stocks of carbon fuels to waste carbon dioxide. Similar catabolism— anabolism metabolic behaviour is characteristic of industrial systems, except that industrial systems, unlike ecosystems, metabolize their energy-matter throughput into largely useless waste.

Another related view is that the current industrial systems are the equivalent of type I or pioneer species, also known as r-strategists, that rapidly colonize areas laid bare by re or other natural catastrophes.


Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery

Faur Kibert, Charles J. You also may like to try some of these bookshopswhich may or may not sell this item. Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Florida. Construction Ecology Books by Charles J. These Codes are a sustainable or green development and construction overlay on the standard construction documents used in construction.



Kibert teaches a newly developed graduate course on Sustainable Construction at the University of Florida as well as continuing education courses to industry on the subject. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days When will my order arrive? In order to set up a construdtion of libraries that you have access to, you must first login or sign up. Industrial ecology provides a sound means of systematising the various ideas which come under the banner of sustainable construction and provides a model for the design, operation and ultimate disposal of buildings. He has also worked with the Neighborhood Housing and Development Corporation in Gainesville in the renovation kubert derelict structures into high performance homes. Separate different tags with a comma.

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