Sustainable Construction

Precise definitions of sustainable construction vary from place to place, and are constantly evolving to encompass varying approaches and priorities. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines sustainable construction as "the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction." The Netherlands defines sustainable construction as "a way of building which aims at reducing (negative) health and environmental impacts caused by the construction process or by buildings or by the built-up environment." Key concepts include the protection of the natural environment, choice of non-toxic materials, reduction and reuse of resources, waste minimization, and the use of life-cycle cost analysis.

The definition of "Sustainable Construction" is a living concept and varies in different scenarios based on peoples’ needs. Taken as the starting point, the definition above has been reinterpreted and expanded based on different approaches and priorities from country to country. In a study led by the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) and carried out with the collaboration of experts from countries around the world, different definitions were given. For example, in the Netherlands, the government sustainable policy was based on energy, mineral resources, land use and biodiversity, and they defined sustainable construction as "a way of building which aims at reducing (negative) health and environmental impacts caused by the construction process or by buildings or by the built-up environment."

Currently, sustainable construction has become mainstream in the construction industry. The increasing drive to adopt a better way of construction, the more strict the industrial standard and the improvement of technologies have driven the cost of applying the concept, according to Business Case For Green Building Report, the cost of sustainable construction nowadays might even be 0.4% lower than normal one.


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