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Sustainability : Building and living

Duurzaamheid

Sustainable development: what is it?
Environment:
Water
Energy
Materials
Building and living
Mankind:
Equal opportunities
Education
Labour and leisure
Society:
Sustainable housing
Sustainable enterprise
Sustainable labour

Environment: Building an living

There are a lot of definitions of sustainable building. The concept of sustainable building is very large indeed. More and more,sustainable building is regarded as a quality aspect.
Not only the quality of the materials is important, but also the quality of the building process i.e. the living.In fact, people have been building houses for ten thousand of years to improve their living comfort.

Although unaware of all modern definitions of sustainable development and building our ancestors spontaneously applied its principles. They used natural materials demanding little energy or transport, and recycling was left to the termites!
The caves provided a living comfort that was very high compared to the building and demolishing costs, which did not exist. So they could confine themselves to heating and interior decorating: art from Altamira to Andy Warhol was born!

Of course, our Dutch neighbours have analysed and worked out the problem much more thoroughly and systematically with their National Dubo Centre.
In 1998 they gave already directives that still count to-day.
The first directive is, to quote Minister de Boer: “Leaving to your children a world as you would like it yourself.”

  • not exhausting finite supplies
  • keeping intact valuable land- and cityscapes
  • limiting hothouse gases.

The second directive is: see to it that buildings and building environment contribute to the health, the well-being and the comfort of people.

  • providing an agreeable inside climate
  • keeping down noise hindrance
  • having sufficient green elements in the living environment

In the mean time, there is also in Flandres much more interest in this subject. In 2000 the Flemish government wanted to re-use 75% of all building and demolishing waste.VITO examined the environmental quality and the recycling possibilities of building waste,which resulted in useful directives for contractors and demolishing firms. We do not know whether the standard was reached, but the interest in sustainable building remained: in 2002 a Centre for Sustainable Building was erected in the Zolder colliery, and in 2003 the province of Antwerp opened Kamp C at Westerlo.
During the previously mentioned SDIT course we will visit this Provincial Centre for Building and Living.
Kamp C was realised with the principles of sustainable building in an economically attainable way.Attention was given to the implanting of the building, choice of materials, the use of water and the water purification, heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting.
A study visit will enable us to get a realistic vision of all aspects of this utterly complex process: sustainable building and living.

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