Sustainable Buildings: An Ever Evolving Target
Environmental considerations have called for new developments in building technologies to bridge the gap between this need for lower impacts on the environment and ever increasing comfort. These developments were generally directed at the reduction of the energy consumption during operations. While this was indeed a mandatory first step, complete environmental life cycle analysis raises new questions. For instance, for a typical low thermal energy consumption building, the embodied energy of construction materials now becomes an important component of the environmental footprint. In addition, the usual practice in life cycle analysis now appears to call for some adaptation—due to variable parameters in time—to be implemented successfully in building analysis. These issues bring new challenges to reach the goal of integrated design, construction, commissioning, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of sustainable buildings.
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