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Environmentally Friendly Sustainable Housing Construction
Housing is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions which has significant impact on environment. As a result, in line with other countries, Australia has recently introduced legislation to control the environmental impact of future construction by imposing performance requirements. This has highlighted not only the poor thermal performance of conventional housing (operating energy) but also the irrationality of ignoring the significant environmental impact of the building process itself (the embodied energy). Therefore it is right time, and is now both a great incentive and a great opportunity to use sustainable building construction techniques. Housing is a major sector and is responsible for about 20-30% of green house gas emissions in developed countries. Therefore an effective response to climate change can be achieved through housing sustainability. Sustainable housing issues are discussed in this paper. Australia has progressed reasonably well in ecologically sustainable housing design and construction. The major steps include 5 star standards in the state of Victoria, with rebates for sustainable products including solar hot water system, photovoltaic panels, rainwater tanks, grey water tanks and insulation. In addition phasing out of incandescent light bulbs is also encouraged. A number of house energy rating tools have been developed in Australia including FirstRate, Accurate, BERS, BASIX and NABERs to name a few. Some of the sustainably built single dwellings in Australia are briefly described in this paper. This paper also includes information about Ecohome constructed in 2003 at Cairnlea estate in Melbourne with a view to promote sustainable housing in the volume housing market. Sustainable features in the Ecohome are discussed in this paper in addition to an environmentally sustainable concrete jacketed rammed earth construction. Concrete jacketed rammed earth construction is very economical and well suited for both rural and urban areas. Both the embodied energy and operational energy required for these homes are much lesser than conventional homes. This paper discusses environmentally stainable construction method which is relatively economical and also the sustainability features required to be introduced in any house.