An Evaluation of Environmental Assessment Methods
After successive global environmental conferences in which national governments pledged to reduce carbon emissions, there is ever-increasing scrutiny on the construction industry. This is because the energy used in the production of building materials and subsequently required to power a completed building form a substantial part of the overall carbon emissions generated by society. The response from both public and private sector interests around the world has been to enhance the importance of environmental assessments – both of building methods and the finished product – almost in inverse proportion to the tolerance for energy waste. The standards required by individual states vary considerably: part of this is down to local climate and geographical considerations, but a major consideration is the incentives offered for meeting a given standard. These consist primarily of tax credits and quality certificates, and the right to promote a building as “green”, thus improving the reputation of its designers and sales potential for buyers. Some of the various Assessment organisations around the world have already franchised their standards to other countries (both government-sponsored and private enterprises) and continue to form partnerships with each other, usually in the same continent or hemisphere. The principal aim appears to be expanding the influence of that particular environmental standard. There is the real possibility of environmental assessment methods in certain countries becoming counter-productive: in the rush to standardize, actual improvements made possible by new technologies are rendered useless by political manoeuvring to make a particular standard “the one” to use.
Mingjin Chu, Huizhong Xu, Zhilin Jia, Yun Fan and Jiangping Xu
J. Hubert and A. B Jahromi, "An Evaluation of Environmental Assessment Methods", Applied Mechanics and Materials, Vols. 178-181, pp. 1041-1045, 2012