In a blog from earlier this week, we discussed the limitations on bringing a “conventional design” approach to a project. This type of design takes note of the upfront cost and tried to decrease it in order to make it correspond with the budget at the time. Most of the time, this means reaching for the cheaper product and making cuts in the quality of the material purchased. This situation is choosing to look at the cost in the short-term rather than the long-term.
Due to the drawbacks of a conventional design, a new design called a “sustainable design” has been developed to not only reduce environmental impacts but also to reduce costs over the structure’s lifespan. The primary economic goal for a sustainable design is to reduce life cycle costs (LCC) through two distinct methods. LCC is defined as the sum of all recurring and one-time costs over the full life span or a specified period of a good, service, structure, or system.
AS shown before, the costs of the lifetime for high quality and more durable materials are lower, and they also possess another distinct characteristic. Materials that can be later re-used or recycled, have the potential to be then sold in order to gain some of the money that went into their initial costs back. These materials are said to be taken from cradle to cradle. On the other hand, materials that cannot be recycled, or salvaged, do not possess this benefit. Instead, they are termed as going from cradle to grave.
Because of its appealing characteristics, the construction industry has been undergoing a transition towards the development or more sustainable/green built structures. Through using a sustainable design that incorporates high-quality materials, we can not only save money, but we can also reduce environmental impacts of construction. In short, we are hitting two birds with one stone.