Towards Buildings that Thrive: Report
journal contributionposted on 10.01.2017 by Robert Crawford, André Stephan, CHRISTOPHER JENSEN, DOMINIQUE HES, PHILIPPA SOCCIO
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
Buildings are an essential component of almost all cultures around the world, providing shelter, comfort, and security. Yet, their construction and operation requires a considerable amount of natural resources, including energy, water and materials, resulting in significant environmental damage. With the availability of many of these resources rapidly dwindling and the ever-increasing irreversible changes to the Earth’s ecosystems, there has never been a more critical time to rethink the way in which we design, construct and use our buildings. The use of unhealthy materials inside buildings, many containing toxic substances, is also making people sick as a consequence of poor indoor air quality. With the majority of people spending most of their time indoors it is essential that we also consider the effect that buildings are having on human health and wellbeing.
This report outlines some of the key problems associated with the way in which we currently design, construct, operate and manage our buildings. The critical areas covered include health and wellbeing, natural resources, fragmented decision-making and economics. It then presents a range of strategies for addressing these problems and creating buildings that are much more efficient in their use of resources, are healthier places for people to live and work in, and ultimately make a positive contribution to the environment, social wellbeing and building performance. A range of case studies are used to reinforce both the extent of the problems and urgent need to address them as well as demonstrate how suggested strategies can be used to produce buildings that help protect our fragile ecosystems, are healthier, and most importantly, help people to thrive.
While this report draws upon some of the most recent advances in the relevant disciplines, it is written for and targeted towards a lay audience.