Before we look at the ways of refurbishing building with a view to enhance sustainability we need to look at the different forms of construction. These forms can fall into three categories:
Traditional This is the types of building and the form of construction that is common within the society of the time and at that geographical location. The design, construction materials and techniques are influenced by the geographical location, which are a major influence due to the availability of materials: While the materials used will dictate the design and construction methods. In order to gain an insight into this it is worth looking at the history of buildings to gain an understanding of some of the buildings which you could come across. A good site to visit for a general introduction is the Woodlands Page on Houses.
Any work of refurbishment on traditional housing must consider that traditional buildings perform very differently to contemporary buildings so it is important to understand the different requirements in refurbishing traditional houses to contemporary with regard to the conservation of energy. A good source of information and guidance on this is available from the English Heritage document “Energy conservation in traditional buildings” though you should also visit “Energy efficiency and traditional buildings” which can be found at the link below.
The development of contemporary construction is moving toward ever better environmental performance. The introduction of new codes and legislation (you will learn about these in unit 4 of this module) and amendments to the Building Regulations is raising the standards required and these must be up-dated in any refurbishment, consequently it is essential to be aware of the current requirements to the Building Regulations and the easiest way of maintaining currency is to check the Governments website for them, which is shown below.The construction techniques are looked at in Construction Technology Modules on this site and you should ensure that you understand these techniques.
It is now accepted that the design of new and innovative buildings will play a major part in the reduction of energy use and work is being carried out into this. A source of information relating to this can be found at the Centre for Sustainable Design which also includes a number of video briefings.
As sustainability exerts an increasing influence over design and construction, new types of construction are being introduced; such approaches that appear radical at present will possibly begin to permeate mainstream practice. In fact there is evidence that this is starting to happen already. The Sustainable Build website is a source of information relating to some of the construction methods which are now being developed.
Low impact construction looks at the way buildings are constructed using wholly natural materials. Such methods are currently not commonly used though great interest and research is being carried out and will possibly have a greater influence on construction for rural areas in the future.
Examples of these methods can be found in Sustainable Construction book listed below and include such methods as construction using:
The websites and the books listed below will provide you with a good introduction to this area of study.