Sustainability – a more relevant target than ever before
The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has demonstrated the immense benefits of sustainable approaches to the design, construction and use of buildings and infrastructure – and the relevance of the Holcim Foundation’s “target issues” for sustainable construction that aim to clarify principles for sustaining the human habitat for future generations.
“Had sustainability been adopted in our cities, we would have been far more resilient to the coronavirus outbreak,” says Meisa Batayneh Maani, Founder and Principal Architect, Maisam Architects & Engineers, Jordan, member of the Board of the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.
The crisis shows how prioritizing sustainable development equips cities, buildings and infrastructure with an effective “immunity” against various challenges. Energy efficient design and local renewable energy generation reduce fossil fuel emissions but also allow facilities and structure to operate when power supply is restricted. Greening, pedestrianization, natural ventilation and daylighting provide healthier indoor and outdoor air quality that limits the spread of germs and diseases. Local building materials and technologies reduce the initial carbon footprint but also allow for more efficient local maintenance.
Sustainability drivers for the built environment
The Holcim Foundation is committed to the underlying principles of sustainability, which assert that long-term development of the built environment requires a balanced interplay of responsible economic, ecological, and social agendas.
To achieve this objective, the Holcim Foundation and its associated universities identified five “target issues” that aim to clarify principles for sustaining the human habitat for future generations. These “target issues” serve as criteria for projects submitted for the Holcim Awards and as a road map for all other related activities of the Foundation.
- Innovation and transferability – Progress
- Ethical standards and social inclusion – People
- Resource and environmental performance – Planet
- Economic viability and compatibility – Prosperity
- Contextual and aesthetic impact – Place
Defining sustainable construction
“Sustainability” is one of the most talked about but least understood terms. The article “Understanding sustainable construction” provides an insight into the definition set out by the Holcim Foundation.
Reflections on the mission of the Holcim Foundation
Marc Angélil and Cary Siress explore why sustainable development, so many years after the 1987 Brundtland Report, remains but a hopeful aspiration at best in “Sustainable Construction: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”.