The building sector is one of the major contributors of greenhouse gases. It is so because of the emissions that arise from buildings. Therefore, if the building and design sector is not properly checked, there is no possibility of preventing the temperature increase, the rise in sea levels, the decreasing polar ice caps, and shifting weather patterns which are all the results of global warming. According to the secretary of the United Nations Secretariat of the international strategy for disaster reduction, Sálvano Briceño, the frequency and the magnitude of the disasters will continue to increase unless there is a control on the construction sector on aspects such as settlement, design, urban development etc. (Willison, 2008).This is just a tip of the iceberg on the responsibility of the construction sector.
There are various design considerations that need to be considered when a building is conceptualized. The energy considerations have to be in line with structural as well as the aesthetics of the building. Basically, the principles of construction, as well as the principles of design, should play a fundamental role in the workmanship of the building (Rounce, 1998).Ensuring the building is aesthetically and structurally fit is not the only way in the construction sector, there is an aspect of energy too. The energy requirements of the building are basically as per the required comfort levels and the building needs.
Buildings basically have heat gains and losses. Heat gains occur from solar radiation, energy from electrical appliances among others. Basically, there are two processes through which a building can gain heat: latent heat gains and sensible heat gains. On the other hand, losses occur through radiation, conduction, and convection from the building. Therefore, the design has to consider all these before the actual implementation. However, most building design engineers disregard the importance of heat gains and losses in the actual design process and end up with buildings that have lower comfort levels or have higher running costs. As a matter of fact, the running costs, as well as the comfort levels of any building, determines the suitability to potential tenants and investors.
Major aspects to be considered in the heat gains and losses of a building include the structural elements and the ventilation requirements of the building. The structural aspect of construction includes determining the thermal transmittance of proposed materials prior to the actual construction. Thermal transmittance determines the rate at which the building will lose heat and as such, it is a vital piece of the construction jig-saw. Materials with very high transmittance are not suitable for building construction in the temperate regions while they may be very useful in the tropics. Therefore, the location of any proposed building determines the selection of materials. In this case, the United Kingdom is a temperate region and as such, materials with very high thermal transmittance are likely to do more harm than good, especially in the winter.
Another important factor to be considered before the actual construction is the ventilation requirements of a building. Ventilation is an important design consideration because it determines the comfort levels of the building. Basically, ventilation plays the following roles: controlling the air quality, advective as well as personal cooling and indirect cooling at night (Schlueter & Kesselring, 2009). However, the design aspect should consider the type of ventilation to be used by the building. Some ventilation methods may be very effective in removing the heat gains of a building but may prove very costly. There are basically three types of ventilation and include: natural, hybrid and mechanical. The three ventilation methods are founded on different bases with natural ventilation depending on natural forces for proper ventilation, mechanical ventilation working on mechanics for proper ventilation while the hybrid system is an integration of the two. The hybrid ventilation is the most suited for all scenarios and the building sector in the UK basically emphasizes this type of ventilation. The system works on the suitability of the internal and external air where natural or mechanical ventilation can be used.
A final introductory is on the possibility of using on-site supplementary sources of energy to ensure that the energy requirement, as well as the running costs, are put at a minimal level. Most of the electricity generated depends on nonrenewable sources such as oil and as therefore, contribute to environmental degradation and pollution. A decrease in the usage of oil and other non-renewable resources is a major step towards green building. Some of the renewable sources of electricity and energy include biofuels, wind energy, solar energy, and oceanic energy among others (Kothari & Nagrath, 2009). The United Kingdom will have to determine the suitability of each energy source as a supplementary energy source.
Objectives of this report
The report basically focuses on the aforementioned principles of construction. However, it will be limited to the United Kingdom’s building sector. In this, the report considers the location of the United Kingdom and tries to focus on the following objectives.
The first objective of the report is to investigate the thermal properties of materials which have been used extensively in the construction of various buildings in the United Kingdom. This will basically focus on the relative and percentage usage of materials in the construction sector. The country is located in the temperate regions of the world and as such, will provide a platform to investigate the probable heat losses and heat gains throughout the year.
The second objective is to focus on the average running costs of buildings within selected portions of the United Kingdom. The running costs of buildings mainly consider the usage of electricity on appliances, heating of the rooms etc. Running costs indicate the necessity for the implementation of a supplementary power option. Some of the supplementary power sources have been indicated in the introductory part.
The final objective is to determine the most appropriate and commonly used ventilation system. Heat losses and gains determine the comfort levels and as such, an appropriate ventilation system is necessary for any building design. Ventilation systems vary from country to country and as such, will indicate the predominant type in temperate regions.
Kothari, D. P. & Nagrath, I. J., 2009. Modern power system analysis. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill Education private limited.
Rounce, G., 1998. Quality, waste and cost consideration in architectural building design management. International journal of project management.
Schlueter, A. & Kesselring, F., 2009. Building information model based energy/energy performance assessment in early design stage. Automation in construction.
Willison, R. D., 2008. Handbook of good building and design in the Philippines. s.l.:s.n.