Sustainability in Architecture


Sustainability in Architecture

                  This thesis embraces the “Sustainability” concept in the construction industry being the  logical outcome the development of this industry that faces environmental, social and  economical  challenges,  which  enterprises  have  to  consider  in  the  beginning  of  this  century. This  thesis  aims  at  demystifying  the  “Sustainable  Construction”  concept.  Due  to  bad  examples in the past, that hopefully will not be repeated in the present and future, this concept  became  almost  irremediably  associated  to  construction,  in  which  the  prime  objective  was  reducing  environmental  impact  leaving  important  parameters,  like quality,  durability  and  cost  behind.  This  concept  has  lost  and  continues  to  loose credibility  due  to  constant  marketing  manoeuvres  by  companies  in  this  sector,  that deceivingly  associate  this  concept  to  their  products,  in  order  to,  in  a  fiercely  manner, maximise sales and profit.The construction industry is one of the most important economical sectors. Nevertheless, this sector continues to base itself on traditional construction systems and unqualified  workers,  being  characterised  by  excessive  usage  of  natural  and  energetic resources. This situation causes great environmental impact with great potentialities to be reduced.This thesis identifies, in general, the environmental impacts in the construction industry, and  particularly,  in  the  building  sector.A  few  measures  and  examples  of  new construction   technologies   and   others   are   also   presented,   that   are   the   result   of technological  renewal  and  improvement  of  building  technologies,  some  of  them, already  applied  thousands  of  years  ago.The  development  and  application  of  these technologies  aim  at  a  construction,  more  and  more  sustainable,  that  settles  evenly  on environmental, economical and social domains.A  methodology,  that  is  expected  to  be  adequate  to  validate  the  sustainability  of construction  solutions,  is  presented  at  the  end.  This  methodology  is  then  applied  to some conventional and non-conventional solutions of pavements and exterior walls. It  is  hoped  that  the  practices  approached,  the  methodology  developed  and  the  results obtained, may serve as a basis for the various construction intervenients, in the decision making process, in accomplishing buildings more sustainable. 

Although statistics suggested that highrise buildings have a lower risk of fire per unit floor area , highrise buildings account for a very large share of people and property exposed, especially for the large number of super highrise buildings currently constructing in Asia and Middle East. The  definition  of  super  highrise  building  changes  as  construction  technology  and  human perception  advanced.  The highrise  building  with height  more  than  23m.  This  is  the  maximum  elevation  resulted  from  the  less  favorable  rescue and  fire  fighting  operations  with  the  use  of  extendable  ladders.  Since  highrise  buildings  are unique with regard to their elevated height from conventional lower buildings, different design considerations including additional features are required for fire safety. Prescriptive codes in a number of countries  (3, 4)  have separate section to cater for highrise building fire safety design. The additional enhancements in the prescriptive codes include suppression system, detection and alarm, but do not include the egress component.

The  fire  safety  in  highrise  buildings  has  raised  special  attention  by  the  general  public  and authorities. The  special  report  on the  operation considerations  for  highrise  firefighting.The  special  fire  safety  issues  related  to  highrise buildings  can  be  summarized  into  six  major  areas:  fire  department  accessibility,  egress  and people movement, natural forces, increase in occupant and fire load, combination of occupancies, and arrangement of internal utility services.Among  the  above  fire  safety  challenges,  half  of  them  are directly  or  indirectly  related  to  the  evacuation  of  building  occupants  (extended  vertical  travel distance,  high  occupant  number  and  different  occupant  types).  Therefore  the  challenges  of highrise building evacuation will be discussed in detail.
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