Sustainable construction - The role of environmental assessment tools

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Journal Article
Journal of Environmental Management, 2008, 86 (3), pp. 451 - 464
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Construction has been accused of causing environmental problems ranging from excessive consumption of global resources both in terms of construction and building operation to the pollution of the surrounding environment, and research on green building design and using building materials to minimise environmental impact is already underway. However, relying on the design of a project to achieve the goal of sustainable development, or to minimise impacts through appropriate management on site, is not sufficient to handle the current problem. The aim for sustainability assessment goes even further than at the design stage of a project to consider its importance at an early stage, before any detailed design or even before a commitment is made to go ahead with a development. However, little or no concern has been given to the importance of selecting more environmentally friendly designs during the project appraisal stage; the stage when environmental matters are best incorporated. The main objectives of this paper are to examine the development, role and limitations of current environmental building assessment methods in ascertaining building sustainability used in different countries which leads to discuss the concept of developing a. sustainability model for project appraisal based on a multi-dimensional approach, that will allow alternatives to be ranked is discussed in detail in the paper.
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