What Are The 7 Principles of Sustainability In Construction?

by | Nov 11, 2023 | Sustainability

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Construction has a significant environmental impact, whether we like it or not. Construction accounts for 45% of UK carbon emissions, making it a sector that cannot be overlooked. Environmental factors such as the seven principles of sustainability in construction must be considered from the beginning to ensure that building projects are as sustainable as feasible.

What is Sustainability in Construction?

People are learning more about sustainability in construction and with good reason. As towns become more densely inhabited, the repercussions of climate change continue to wreak havoc on our world. Indeed, the density of our cities risks exacerbating an already difficult situation. Our entire way of life is dependent on the infrastructure in which we live: if it fails, so does our society. Enter sustainable building.

Sustainability in construction is a style of construction that aims to mitigate buildings’ negative environmental, social, and economic repercussions. Sustainability in construction approaches is intended to achieve several goals. These are some examples:

  • Reduce your reliance on non-renewable natural resources.
  • Increase the utilization of renewable natural resources.
  • Reduce the quantity of waste we generate.
  • Reduce maintenance requirements and expenditures.
  • Improve our communities’ social interactions.

We must build houses, offices, retail, and other infrastructure to provide such benefits with these objectives in mind. We should prioritize sustainability from design through delivery and beyond. As a result, while addressing what means by sustainability in construction, we must remember that it is not just how we create our infrastructure but our entire attitude and goals throughout the construction lifetime.

What are the 7 Principles of Sustainability in Construction?

What are the 7 Principles of Sustainability in Construction?

The seven principles of sustainability in construction are a technique for contributing to a better physical environment while lowering our overall carbon footprint.

1. Sustainable Design

The early design and planning of a structure significantly impact lowering energy consumption and pollution. The earlier you can include environmentally friendly construction into your design, the more environmentally friendly and sustainable your building will be. This will ultimately result in long-term environmental benefits inside the structure; a huge thumbs up from us! Numerous sustainable alternatives are available, all of which can save you money, energy, and time in the long term. Consider the BREEAM Assessment to ensure you are meeting your sustainable building goals. The ‘Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment technique’ is the world’s most established technique of assessing, rating, and certifying a building’s sustainability.

The BREEAM Assessment examines various categories (each has specific criteria to meet) such as Materials, Transport, Water, Energy, and Waste.

A trained BREEAM assessor will accompany you at the design stage to present you with a preliminary rating, interim certificate, and post-construction when you are given your final rating and formal building certification.

2. Durability

The astonishing age of structures in the UK demonstrates the resilience of construction materials. These structures are excellent examples of how to construct modern, sustainable systems. Of course, both the economic and environmental advantages of having a long-lasting building are advantageous. Furthermore, employing resistant materials and goods in the construction of facilities implies that they will need to be changed or repaired less frequently, resulting in less upkeep. Brick, stone, and concrete are the most enduring building materials.

3. Energy Efficiency

Improved energy efficiency can assist you in saving money by cutting fuel usage, which reduces CO2 emissions. Finally, we will be able to reduce our role in climate change. Energy efficiency in construction refers to all aspects of building creation, from the equipment used to the actual devices within the building. A few different areas can be addressed to ensure it is as environmentally friendly as possible.

Energy-saving technologies

Improving technology’s energy efficiency has the potential to cut energy usage and emissions drastically. Switching to environmentally friendly energy technology will transform your sources into services such as illumination, transportation, and heat. Stoves, air conditioners, and refrigerators are energy-efficient gadgets, appliances, and other equipment.

Materials that are low in energy consumption

Developers can now choose from a wide range of energy-efficient building materials. Insulation concrete forms, low-emissivity windows, structural insulation panels, and other materials are used.

Methods and designs for energy-efficient construction

Energy-efficient architecture is growing more popular in the UK as the government strives to minimize greenhouse gas emissions during buildings every year.

To be successful, you must execute your goal of producing an energy-efficient building throughout the concept/design stage. There are three significant factors to consider:

  • Temperature (heating and cooling)
  • Insulation
  • Air Quality

Pay attention to these areas and plan ahead of time to ensure you have a great road map to an energy-efficient build.

4. Waste Reduction

Overall, if buildings in the UK were designed to be flexible and reusable, the need for destruction and removal would be reduced. The amount of garbage generated during the lifetime of a structure is greatly influenced by demolition. While the government regulates the use of hazardous materials in the United Kingdom, it is also critical for construction companies to consider the environmental impact of materials used in their building developments. To reduce waste on your construction site, employ low-impact products that are sustainably sourced and reused from previous projects and sustainable recycling at all stages of the construction process. Finally, it is our job to reduce construction and demolition trash going to landfill; preparing ahead of time might assist you.

5. Indoor Air Quality

Bad air quality, often produced by indoor pollution that emits dangerous particles, can severely impact interior settings and people’s health. Inadequate construction, such as restricted ventilation, significantly raises internal pollution levels by not bringing in enough external air to reduce these emissions. When you combine high temperatures and humidity levels, you can have even more contaminants floating around your house.

The UK Air Quality Strategy is one standard to consider while researching indoor air quality. The UK Air Quality Strategy policies help control ambient air quality in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. These include goals for essential air pollutants to protect public health and the environment.

It’s also worth noting that the UK Building Regulation addresses performance-based ventilation and establishes maximum allowable indoor levels of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and total volatile organic compounds. When construction begins, you must ensure that these regulations are followed.

To improve interior air quality, utilize heating solutions that decrease particle exposure while maintaining permanent adequate ventilation, such as passive stack ventilation. Extractor fans and open windows are also excellent for eliminating interior air pollution.

6. Water Conservation

Water is becoming an increasingly valuable resource, with pollution and climate change significantly impacting freshwater supplies. The construction industry has recognized the need to manage water, and much of it has begun to use environmentally friendly water design across the building development process.

There are a few things you may take to reduce unnecessary water use and contribute to water conservation:

  • Install pressure-lowering valves in your building to reduce water flow in toilets, showers, and kitchens.
  • Perform leak detection tests regularly, followed by rapid repairs where necessary.
  • To reduce leakage, use more robust service pipes.
  • Install a submeter to record water use in various regions and assist in monitoring water consumption.

7. Sustainable Building Materials

Finally, sustainable materials have no direct environmental impact and do not utilize non-renewable resources. Constructing sustainable construction materials can save you money while also ‘doing your bit’ for the environment and providing you with those all-important credits for your BREEAM and other environmental evaluation tools.

Sustainable building materials include:

  • Instead of steel, use wood
  • Natural fiber-reinforced concrete
  • Crop-derived geotextiles
  • Bales of straws
  • Materials that have been certified as responsibly sourced, such as FSC timber

Also Read: Sustainability Is Key To The Future Of The Hospitality Industry

What are the Benefits of Sustainable Construction?

When it comes to sustainable development initiatives, the significance and benefits of Sustainability in construction are unquestionably superior. Among the many advantages are:

  • Cost-Effective- Sustainability in construction can be considered a vital, intelligent, and versatile choice. Sustainable development or green building initiatives are substantially less expensive and use fewer resources than typical construction.
  • Minimal Waste- Sustainable development initiatives generate significantly less waste than other construction projects. Green buildings have a low environmental effect and mostly employ renewable resources.
  • Noise Resistance- Eco-friendly or sustainable building materials provide excellent sound and heat insulation.

Also Read: 5 Ways To Maintain Sustainability At House

Bottom Line

Sustainability in construction is at an exciting juncture; with advancements in technology and a greater emphasis on creating carbon-neutral buildings, measures are being implemented to inspire the next generation of builders. Sustainability in construction is developing structures with renewable and recyclable materials, lowering carbon emissions, energy usage, and trash. The purpose of sustainable building is to lessen the environmental impact of this large business. Finally, Sustainability in construction is essential to constructing a more sustainable future. We can reduce our ecological effects, enhance the well-being and enjoyment of building occupants, and develop buildings that are more robust and adaptive to changing needs by adhering to the principles of Sustainability in construction.


Q1. What are the three pillars of sustainability in construction?

These environmental, economic, and social issues are commonly referred to collectively as ‘the three pillars of sustainability’ or ‘the triple bottom line.’

Q2. What is the aim of sustainable construction?

The goal of sustainable building is to lessen the industry’s environmental effects. Among the sustainable construction strategies are using renewable and recyclable materials. They are lowering the embodied energy in construction materials.

Q3. What are the advantages of sustainable construction?

Sustainability in construction practices can result in significant financial savings during the life cycle of a construction project, as well as reduced environmental impact. Furthermore, sustainable building practices can provide social and economic benefits to local communities.

Also Read: Green Building: Insights On Sustainable Construction



  • Dr. Tanushree Kain

    Tanushree is a passionate Environmentalist with a Doctorate in Environmental Sciences. She is also a Gold medalist in Master of Science (M.Sc), Environmental Sciences. She has 6 years of experience as a guest faculty in Environmental Sciences. With her combination of technical knowledge and research expertise, she can create clear, accurate, and engaging content that helps users get the maximum information regarding environmental topics.

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