What is sustainable construction?

last updated 01/00

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Fujita Research is a company with a simple mission - to create harmony between people, the environment and technology through sustainable development in construction. We already market several innovative products and, together with industry partners, are working to develop real solutions to the problems of the 21st centruy construction industry.

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In many of the articles on this web site, the concept of sustainable construction is used. However, the definition of what exactly the term means is less than clear. In order to provide a workable explanation of the concept, this article will look at the view of sustainable construction developed by the W82 commission of the International Council for Research And Innovation In Building And Construction (CIB).

In 1995, at the Amsterdam meeting of the CIB, the W82 commission began work on a project to investigate the issues of sustainable development as they related to the construction industry across the globe. The project involved experts from a number of countries and was conducted in a number of stages. The first was to ask what each country or region understands by the term sustainable development. In the second phase questions were asked about the sort of buildings we would be living in by 2010, how they would be designed and constructed, and what sort of communities and cities they would form a part of. Phase three involved the development of national reports on sustainable development and construction — all constructed to an agreed technique to enable comparison and future work in Phase 4 — development of codes of best practise. The final phase — Phase 5 —was publication of the project's findings and recommendations at national and international level.

The full results of the commission's findings have been published as CIB Report, Publication 225: Sustainable Development and the Future of Construction — A comparison of visions from various countries (1998). Below is summarized the main results of the international synthesis of findings.

Main recommendations:

Built environment and ecological systems

Energy saving

Health and comfort

Waste

Resources saving

Building stock

Tools

Building process

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