The “Low-cost apartments incorporating smart materials” was recipient of the Global Holcim Innovation 2nd prize in 2012. The two main materials are sustainable timber (fast-growth fir for decking) and recycled products in the self-insulated concrete. The lightweight concrete is one-third of the weight of conventional concrete, is self-insulated utilizing recycled foamed glass as an internal aggregate and allows the building to approach a zero-carbon material effect. The walls are embedded with tube conduits to provide conductive heating and cooling via water, triple-glazing improves sound and heat insulation, and the roof is planted with local vegetation.
Definition – Environmental quality and resource efficiency – “Planet”
The project must exhibit a sensible use and management of natural resources throughout its life cycle, including operation and maintenance. Long-term environmental concerns, whether pertaining to flows of material or energy, should be an integral part of the built structure.
A fundamental principle of sustainable development is to keep our planet in condition to indefinitely support future generations. This is an enormous challenge because our global ecosystem is in a state of stress and overuse. Finite sources of energy and materials are being depleted, and much of our environment is being polluted or spoiled.
- Low environmental impacts over the project's life cycle.
- Energy and material efficiency in construction, operation and maintenance.
- High ratio of renewable energy to fossil energy in construction, operation and maintenance.
- Land use efficiency.
- Robust products and technologies.
The construction industry plays a great role here as a large consumer of materials and energy. At the building scale, sustainable construction aims to provide long-lasting, healthful, and useful buildings while conserving finite resources of materials and energy by using durable, recyclable, and renewable materials, through energy-efficient design, and by using environmentally neutral energy sources (wind, sun, geothermal, etc.) and mechanisms (shading, simple evaporation cooling, etc.).
At the urban and regional scales, sustainable construction involves planning that preserves environmental quality, conserves energy through efficient design, reduces waste and consumption through sensible design, and reduces pollution by establishing efficient transportation networks. At all scales, sustainable construction aims to support ecosystems through design with nature (establishing and improving habitats for wildlife, supporting biodiversity, replenishing groundwater instead of channeling rainwater into storm sewers, etc.).