The terms, it is the potential to maintain economic

The word “sustainability” means the
“capacity to endure”. In ecological terms, it refers to how biological systems
like as wetlands and forests remain diverse and productive over a period of
time. In human terms, it is the potential to maintain economic profitability
and social well-being in the long term, as well as an enduring environmental

The best-known definition of
sustainability or sustainable development is the definition: 

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

“Forms of progress that meets the
needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to
meet their needs.”  “World
Commission on Environment and Development, 1987.”

There are many ways in which we can
live that will aid sustainability in our modern day lives. To this end,
sustainable cities and, on a smaller scale, eco-municipalities and eco
villages, should be developed. Buildings should be constructed using only the
most modern green methods and materials and sustainable agriculture should be
adopted; and scientists should be encouraged to find better technologies for
the renewal of energy sources.

The economy and the environment are
inextricably linked as the one cannot easily exist without the other. The
overlapping areas in the figure below show where sustainable development is

Sustainable Built Environment (BE) Project

“The optimal consideration of technical, environmental, economic and
social factors during the design, construction, maintenance and repair, and
removal/demolition stages of BE projects.” – C Oltean – Dumbrava 2010


Fig 2.1:  The Key
Aspects of Sustainability

Sustainability was defined by
Zarsky (1990) as the way human beings manage an economy in order to preserve
its productivity, thus it may be described using the following four key

Efficiency: Any production processes employed and/or projects
implemented should be efficient. They should give the greatest output yield per
unit according to current technological knowledge. Income and outgoing expenses
should rule market based economies, to be measured by their monetary values.

Investment: Human, manufactured and natural resources for
production should not be lessened; and there should be sufficient investment to
at least replenish (but preferably expand) resource bases. While using up or
consuming resources in the short term will lead to gains, long term depletion
of productive stock will occur, thus leading to economies which are unable to
function and a loss of investments. 

Diversification: Everything sourced for production should be taken
from as many diversified areas as possible, to lessen the risk and
vulnerability of eco systems. 

External Balance: Even when using the above methods, the value of
exports and imports should still balance.

Zarsky also defined sustainability
as being “the way in which humans should interact with the biosphere to
maintain its life support function”, which are described as follows:

Biodiversity: Every species of fauna and flora – and their individual
habitats – should be conserved to maintain their natural potential for

Ecosystem Conservation: All stocks of ecological resources
such as soil, surface and ground water and land and water biomasses have limits
to their regeneration. Ecosystems play a vital life support role and should
therefore be protected.

Interconnectedness: Improvements in environmental quality in one country
should not be achieved at the expense of another.

Avoidance of Risk: As nobody can predict the future, caution should be
used so that potential risks may be avoided when taking decisions that will affect
the future of our planet, even if such decisions are not in the best interests
of governments/businesses. Specifically, all states and countries should take
their neighbours into consideration so that no ecosystems are irreversibly
changed; and no thresholds breached where even tiny incremental changes could cause
massive systemic change.

Populations should limit their use
of land and energy resources to those that are available in their area and
which are relevant to their particular ecosystem


The term sustainable construction
most comprehensively addresses the ecological, social, and economic issues of a
building in the context fits community. In1994, the Conseil International du
Bâtiment (CIB), an international construction research networking organisation,
defined sustainable construction as “creating and operating a healthy built
environment based on resource efficiency and ecological design.”

Principles of Sustainable

1. Reduce resource consumption

2. Reuse resources (reuse).

3. Use recyclable resources

4. Protect nature (nature).

5. Eliminate toxics (toxics).

6. Apply life-cycle costing

 7. Focus on quality (quality).

Fig 2.2 Framework for sustainable construction developed in 1994 by
CIB Task Group 1 (Sustainable Construction) for the purpose of articulating the
potential contribution of the built environment to the attainment of
sustainable development. (Illustration courtesy of Bilge Çelik)


Sustainable housing is one of the
most important factors relating to climate change, as it aims to house the
masses in structures built from natural and sustainable resources, thus a
better quality of life will encourage social progress and economic growth. It
is to be borne in mind that social progress is a hugely important aspect,
specifically in the area of housing, as it promotes social cohesion which leads
to independence and the well-being of population groups.

In order make such building
projects into reality, architectural patterns will have to be created that use
only the sustainable energy and resources of an area.


The definition of “affordable
housing” varies across economies, but generally it includes a financial
component (the share of income devoted to housing), a standard for what
constitutes minimum socially acceptable housing with a clear idea of what
income groups are affected, and at what income level households should be
eligible for housing assistance. (Mc Kinsey, 2014)

Access to decent, affordable
housing is so fundamental to the health and well-being of people and the smooth
functioning of economies that it is imbedded in the United Nations Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. Yet in developing and advanced economies alike,
cities struggle with the dual challenges of housing their poorest citizens and
providing housing at a reasonable cost for low- and middle-income populations.

The demand for affordable housing (Mc
Kinsey 2014)

60 million
households today in the United States, the European Union. Japan and Australia
are financially stretched by housing costs.

330 million urban
households toady, around the world live in substandard housing or financially
stretched by housing costs.

9 to 11 trillion
dollars is the estimated cost to replace today’s substandard housing and build
additional houses needed by 2025.

1.6 billion People, that is 440 million families by
2025, will occupy crowded, inadequate and unsafe housing, or will be
financially stretched based on current trends in urban migration and income

650 billion dollars per
year is the housing affordability gap, which is equivalent to 1% of global GDP.
In some of the least affordable cities, the gap exceeds 10% of local GDP.

Affordability has always played a
central role in building design and construction. Buildings are one of the
largest capital costs in society. Affordable housing speaks to a society’s
ability to provide shelter for the poor. Home ownership has become synonymous
with the realisation of a dream. So significant are the capital costs for
construction that these costs can rarely be afforded out of pocket and so are
usually borrowed and repaid over decades through that very particular type of
loan, the mortgage.

For green design and construction,
cost has implications as both an obstacle and an opportunity. A common
perception is that building green will cost more and, as a result, can only be
done by those who can afford the added cost. This perception is one of the
largest obstacles to green buildings.

An emerging view is that costs need
to be analysed on a life-cycle basis, taking into account the lower operating
costs of a green building over its anticipated life. The energy costs of a
green building are typically lower than those of a traditionally constructed
building. Some green improvements, such as geothermal heating and cooling, have
also been observed to reduce maintenance costs relative to traditional
approaches. A case has also been made that human productivity is higher in
green buildings due to improved indoor air quality and thermal and visual
comfort, resulting in a cost benefit over time that offsets higher capital

A scrutiny of green strategies
reveals a variety of improvements that in fact can lower both energy costs and
construction costs. For example, if ceiling heights are not unusually high,
material and construction costs can be reduced, fewer light fixtures are
required for illumination, and less heating and cooling equipment is needed.

Green design and construction is
not cost-neutral and it is imperative to honestly assess both added
construction costs as well as cost savings, added operational costs as well as
cost savings, and finally to recognize both real and perceived cost impacts. If
green buildings are to penetrate beyond innovators and early adopters and reach
those people for whom cost will otherwise prevent building green, affordability
is best addressed head-on in design discussions

Fig 2.3 A
hypothetical view of how the higher initial construction costs of
energy-efficient and sustainable buildings can be offset by savings in
operational costs over time.

Affordability considerations

Increasing house size is a substantial contributor
to housing unaffordability in world. House size affects initial purchase cost,
materials consumption and ongoing heating, cooling and maintenance costs, and
environmental impact.

Initial costs such as land and house purchase
prices, finance costs, stamp duties, legal fees and inspection reports
determine what you can afford in your budget. House and land prices are highly
variable depending on location, type of house or unit, land and house size,
market demand and market appeal.

Limited land supply and speculative investment
practices (particularly during high demand periods) have a direct impact on
property price increases that then become permanent (Horne et al. 2010a).

The table shows that initial costs relating to
sustainable features may be affected by a number of factors.

Factors affecting
initial sustainability costs

Increase of initial costs

           Decrease of initial costs

Insulation, advanced
glazing, solar hot water service, water tanks, environmentally preferred
materials, advanced technologies
Premiums charged by
builders and tradespeople unfamiliar with sustainable features
Initial low demand for
‘new’ or specialty products
Carbon price of
energy-intensive materials

Smaller, smarter floor
plans reduce construction and purchase prices
Thermal efficiency
requires smaller, simpler heating and cooling systems
Water efficiency reduces
hot water service size
Innovative lighting
design requires fewer light fittings
Economies of scale for
sustainable technologies
Reduced urban sprawl
lowers energy, water and road infrastructure costs
Lower overheads (energy
and water), ‘green’ discount loans and rebates improving repayment capacity

Adapted from Horne et al. 2011

Smaller, smarter floor plans are arguably the most
effective way to reduce initial and ongoing costs and increase housing

Smaller, smarter floor plans are arguably the most
effective way to reduce initial and ongoing costs.

Ongoing costs affect affordability for householders
(owners and tenants) living in and operating the home. These costs are driven
primarily by transport and energy costs, interest rates, insurance costs,
maintenance and repair costs, council rates, and waste disposal and water


Factors affecting ongoing sustainability costs

Increase of
ongoing costs

Decrease of
ongoing costs

Marginally higher maintenance for solar hot water service,
rainwater tanks
Water pump operating costs
Some environmentally preferred finishes require more frequent

Need to own fewer cars and drive less when living nearer to
Lower energy and fuel bills
Reduced carbon cost premiums
Improved indoor air quality reduces health costs and sick days —
especially for children
Improved thermal comfort increases enjoyment of home lifestyle
Accessible design accommodates all life stages including
temporary disability and ageing
Lower maintenance costs for durable, sustainable materials and


from Horne et al. 2011

the exception of efficient user behaviour, sustainability improvements are
among the few housing features capable of reducing operating costs. This
highlights the importance of long-term thinking when considering affordability.

about affordability in the long term.

The project aims budget-friendly accommodation with uninterrupted
utilities, clean, potable water and social infrastructure and is able to create
unparalleled economic, social and environmental impact.