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Low Carbon Building - Essay Example

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There are studies, which suggest that, within the next couple of decades, the overall risks and costs associated with climate change could force the world to lose as much as 5 percent of the GDP every year. …
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Low Carbon Building
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Download file to see previous pages Research suggests that buildings, both residential and commercial, are responsible for more than 38 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, a figure which has increased rapidly in the recent decades and has the potential to escalate further. In fact, research conducted by Isiadinso et al (2011) indicates that this figure reaches the level of 50 percent for UK buildings. However, this is also the area where most room is available to decrease GHG emissions. In fact, it was the landmark research conducted by Pacala & Socolow (2004), which identified building efficiency as one of the “stabilization wedges” that could assist in ensuring that carbon emissions could be offset by the year 2050. Over the past few years, experts, scholars and researchers have highlighted the crucial role that construction professionals can play through designing and structuring the buildings, in the first place, as efficient and sustainable as they can be, through space heating, cooling and hot water, lighting and others. As the name suggests, low carbon buildings refer to buildings that are planned and structured in such a way that the carbon emission could be minimised, however, the fact is that, amongst many scholars and experts, there is an ongoing debate between scholars and experts regarding various dimensions of low carbon buildings. In fact, experts even disagree over the definition of a zero carbon or low carbon building and if the same is achievable or not. Williams (2010) takes the liberty of drawing of highlighting the pivotal differences between conventional houses and low impact environment building or autonomous building or PassivHaus design buildings. Where conventional buildings are dependent on the main drainage systems and gas supplies, low impact environmental buildings have independent waste disposal systems and energy services. Conventional buildings do not face any obligation to incorporate renewable energy source installation and energy generation from that source during early stages of design, however, low impact environmental buildings have to ensure that they do the integrate a renewable energy source within the design of the building and that also in the early phases of the design. In case of conventional buildings, the requirement for space heating is fulfilled through gas or electric heating systems, but in the case of low carbon buildings, the dependence on gas or electric heating systems for space heating has to be reduced by at least 90 percent. Furthermore, the total amount of energy consumed in the process of space heating typically exceeds the mark of 15 kWh/m2. However, in the case of low carbon buildings, experts agree that this number cannot exceed the 15kwh/m2 mark. Vale and Vale (2002) are amongst the list of scholars and experts that have indirect critiqued the idea and concept of low carbon buildings. They believe that buildings do not have the responsibility to exhibit sustainable and environmentally responsible behaviour but people have this moral and ethical responsibility. Therefore, it is not necessary or imperative to create building with low carbon, green or sustainable design but people should mould and alter their lifestyle choices in such a way that their actions generate lesser carbons emissions. A conventional house will have much lesser carbon emissions than a low carbon house, if the people living within that the building are to make sustainable lifestyle choices (p. 485). Ramus & Montiel (2005) highlighting some of the problems associated with the low carbon buildings identified that in many cases, ashamed of their carbon emissions data, most architects disown or ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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