“Sustainability” is one of the world’s most talked about but least understood words. Its meaning is often clouded by differing interpretations and by a tendency for the subject to be treated superficially. For most companies, countries and individuals who do take the subject seriously the concept of sustainability embraces the preservation of the environment as well as critical development-related issues such as the efficient use of resources, continual social progress, stable economic growth, and the eradication of poverty.
Sustainable construction involves issues such as the design and management of buildings; materials performance; construction technology and processes; energy and resource efficiency in building, operation and maintenance; robust products and technologies; long-term monitoring; adherence to ethical standards; socially-viable environments; stakeholder participation; occupational health and safety and working conditions; innovative financing models; improvement to existing contextual conditions; interdependencies of landscape, infrastructure, urban fabric and architecture; flexibility in building use, function and change; and the dissemination of knowledge in related academic, technical and social contexts.
“Target issues” for sustainable construction
Based on this concept and to make sustainable construction easier to understand, evaluate and apply, the LafargeHolcim Foundation and its partner universities have identified a set of five “target issues” for sustainable construction, which serve as the basis for the adjudication process of the LafargeHolcim Awards and as a framework for other activities of the Foundation
Projects must demonstrate innovative approaches to sustainable development, pushing the envelope of practice and exploring new disciplinary frontiers. Breakthroughs and trend-setting discoveries must be transferable to a range of other applications.