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Technical Note #18 Sustainable Design in construction

This Technical Note discusses sustainability and sustainable design and their relationship to brick use and recycling. The use of brick masonry is an appropriate choice for achieving several elements of environmentally responsive sustainable design for buildings.

Sustainability is defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” [Ref. 2]. Sustainable buildings are designed in a way that uses available resources efficiently and in a responsible manner, balancing environmental, societal and economic impacts to meet the design intents of today while considering future effects.

Every sustainable building is unique, designed specifically for its site and the programming requirements of the user. However, all high-performance, sustainable buildings should consider the following components of design [Ref. 14]:

  • Environmentally responsive site planning
  • Energy-efficient building shell
  • Thermal comfort
  • Energy analysis
  • Renewable energy
  • Water efficiency
  • Safety and security
  • Daylighting
  • Commissioning
  • Environmentally preferable materials and products
  • Durability
  • Efficient use of materials
  • High-performance HVAC
  • High-performance electric lighting
  • Life cycle cost analysis
  • Acoustic comfort
  • Superior indoor air quality
  • Visual comfort
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