Maintenance practices - improving sustainability performance of existing office buildings : an Australian case study

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The purpose of this thesis is to establish a method to analyse the interaction between the environment and existing buildings, to examine how the impact of existing buildings on the environment can be reduced and to suggest strategies by which any negative effects can be minimised. The investigation is focused on the development of a strategic framework to maintain and improve existing office buildings performance through sustainable maintenance strategies. It concentrates on reducing emissions generated within office buildings over their life cycle. The developed framework is a model for sustainable maintenance of office buildings entitled SMOB: an Australian case study. Over many decades, office buildings have been recognised as a significant area contributing to the negative impacts on the environment over their life cycle, hastening climate change or global warming. In return, climate change also impacts on buildings with extreme heatwaves occurring more frequently and raising the earth’s temperature. Increased temperatures make many advanced techniques as applied in buildings ineffective, which then require more energy to provide indoor comfort. The operation and maintenance phase is the longest period of operation over a building’s life span. In this period, office buildings consume the highest rates of energy and water; and consequently, emit the highest rates of greenhouse gas pollution, especially CO₂, into the environment. The framework of SMOB includes four indicators and 23 criteria for scheduling sustainable building maintenance through routine, ad hoc and upgrading practices which are derived from analysis of data collected through questionnaire survey, focus group discussion and a Delphi study. Case studies were used to verify the SMOB and results show that when using the model, energy and water consumption, and in particular CO₂ emissions in the buildings are significantly reduced, and that the buildings will satisfy environmental protection requirements. The research shows that the SMOB is well suited for assessing the costs and returned benefits against economic and environmental criteria in sustainable office building maintenance.
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