High End Sustainable Apt Design, Thesis Paper Example

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Thesis Paper

Introduction

Sustainability in the housing industry is significant for human development. In apartments the sustainability has to account for proper utilization of resources to achieve the goals of development. The improper utilization of resources is against the sustainability interests that may obviously result into their reduction and as a result the time may come when the resources for development process may not exist (Crucifix, 2002, 14). Sustainability in the housing industry is the basis for practical living solutions as people look for both comfort and performance efficiently when it comes to choosing the right homes that are environmentally sound. Sustainability in apartments is the new approach in responding to the environmental issues which contribute to the choice of the right and environmentally friendly homes.

This, therefore, calls for properly planned development in order to achieve sustainability in the housing industry. The importance of sustainability in the housing industry is reflected in the future generations with respect to favorable position of a continued development without any fear of reduction in the resources (Golley, 1998, 34). In the housing sector, development and sustainability involves the use of resources such as land and other building ingredients, for instance, cement and sand. Land, for example, is a non renewable resource, and it is therefore, one of the most important in housing that, if not utilized well in the current housing constructions, may never benefit the future generations. Therefore, attention must be directed towards the usage of land so as to ensure that the future generations are not disadvantaged (Crucefix, 2002, 19). Over the years, the building and housing industry has been using new pieces of land for construction (Golley, 1998, 34).

In as much as it is a personal decision for everyone to choose how to use any given piece of land in construction, it has become necessary for people to understand the rate at which land is being used for housing purposes and hence the rate at which the resources are being reduced (Beddoes, 2009, 88). Saving for the future is an obligation that rests on the shoulders of the current generation and is pretty obvious that the future generation cannot stand on it and defend itself. By keeping this in mind, it is worthy to create the essential conviction that is required for the affected persons in order to bring them out on what is the right thing to do for the future generations (Golley, 1998, 34).

In order to ensure the sustainability in the usage of land, for example, people might need to think of new ways of building sustainable houses so that a smaller piece of land serves as many people as possible (Crucefix, 2002, 56). This can be achieved using apartments or other buildings with different designs other than bungalows that are preferred by most people.

A sustainable apartment can facilitate as many families in contrast to a bungalow which would host only one family. This, therefore, means that it would be advantageous if the erection and construction of apartments are meant to offer residence to many people. This state of affair sounds like an imposition to most people who have a right to choose which type of building or home to construct. Different people have different factors they consider during their choice of a home (Beddoes, 2009, 46). Sustainable apartments have the unique advantage of maximizing the space vertically towards the sky; a space that exists in abundance.

Some people choose to live in bungalows in well fenced homes for the sake of their privacy and security. In as much as this is a valid argument for every person’s right to choose how to live, it should be understood that it might be important to increase the awareness of the general public for the benefit of the future human species on the planet earth (Beddoes, 2009, 53). This therefore means that in order to make it easier for the transition from one particular mode of housing to the other, the luxurious benefits associated with luxurious housing should be abandoned in favor of sustainable apartment.

Stakeholders in the research

Sustainability in the housing industry will positively impact on some members of the society. Among the benefits of sustainability in the housing industry, that includes people and housing organizations, which participate in the housing activities either for profit or for no-profit purposes, stakeholders are in a better position to affect or initiate the shift in building or housing processes (Beddoes, 2009, 46). In order to place sustainability at the centre stage of the development in the housing sector, it is important to have a change in the building or housing culture. This will include the change to be experienced in the various groups of house developers, which consist on the profit-oriented  companies, housing associations, land usage planners and builders. Stakeholders also include the owners and tenants of the houses in question. It is therefore, necessary to increase awareness in all the involved persons to influence them towards embracing change comfortably for the sake of the future (Beddoes, 2009, 92).

Other important stakeholders in this research are the real estate developers. Real estate developers, for this matter, are in a better position to affect building procedures that are favorable to the objectives of attaining sustainability in the housing sector of the economy. The truth is that home buyers will always buy those homes that have the worth according to the value they offer to the particular occupier (Clarke, 1977, 34).

Potential home buyers or the public in general have their own individual preferences when it comes to building of houses. These preferences play a significant role in the type of houses that are built for a given group of home buyers. Necessary awareness must be created among such people so as to force them to hold new or modern forms of housing and constructions that maximize the use of land space (Ellis, 2002, 43).

Sustainability in the housing industry will also have important implications for the transport industry. The transport industry results into massive emission of the green house gases into the atmosphere and is, in fact, classified as the leading emitter. The construction industry requires the services of the transportation industry for both labor force and building. This can be reduced by investing in planning and building strategies that results in less traveling. If possible, transportation of the labor force can be achieved by walking or by public transport. This, therefore, demands for cooperation between the transport system planners and the house developers to ensure that accessibility to work site is maximized whereas the dependency on cars is minimized. (Scott, 2009, 36).

Definition of sustainability

Sustainability, for humans, refers to the activities that result in the basic well-being by considering the interaction with other living things on the earth. Human have an impact on the current and future well-being of the life forms, which includes the future generations of mankind. Sustainability, therefore, seeks to recognize the potential impacts of development actions carried out by man on the planet (Ellis, 2002, 43).

In order to attain the sustainability, it is necessary to ensure that certain objectives have been set up, and these include:

  • Considerable reduction of green house gases emitted to the environment.
  • Reduction in extent of environmental pollution considering land, water and air as the vital the entities of environment.
  • Promoting conservation of natural resources and communities both cohesive and inclusive.
  • Targeting a secure and prosperous economy.

The above sustainability objectives will be achieved only if their accountability is placed effectively throughout the stages of housing processes which are; the design stage, construction stage, the long-term use and finally, the disposal and recycling stages (Ellis, 2002, 45).

Sustainability in the housing industry has a big role to play in ensuring the attainment of some, if not all, of the above stated objectives (Beddoes, 2009, 49). A significant role can be played by sustainability in the housing industry since;

  • In construction industry the use and maintenance of houses consumes a lot of resources
  • Houses and other constructions are fixed assets with a long life
  • Houses occupy the central part of what many refer to as quality life

Sustainability in the housing industry affects other sectors with respect to issues related to the communities, health, transport and employment. These aspects are very crucial factors in the analysis of economic prosperity (Beddoes, 2009, 66).

Sustainable apartments, therefore, cover the buildings built by the architects while considering the current modern building designs which enable sustainability. In making sustainable apartments, sustainable architecture is used through adoption of environmentally conscious designing techniques in the field of architecture. In sustainable apartments, residential type of interior design is used since the apartments serve residential purposes. Sustainable architecture encompasses discussions of sustainability and other pressing economic, political, and social issues in the world (Costanza, R. & Patten, 2005, 90). Sustainable apartments minimize the negative environmental effects of building and construction by promoting efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, and space. Basically, the idea of sustainability is to make sure that our actions and decisions do not hinder the opportunities of future generations. Thus, sustainability in the housing industry focuses on energy and ecologically conscious approach of designing apartments.

Achievement of sustainable apartment during the process of construction makes use of sustainable energy (Clarke, 1977, 4567). This, consequently, leads to reduction of energy needs and increases the ability of the building to capture or generate its own energy.  Sustainable apartment, therefore, are well insulated to make easy use of the efficient heating, ventilation, and cooling systems. Such a sustainable apartment becomes cost-effective and offers a lasting solution for the current and future generations. (Randolph, John & Gilbert, 2008, 560). Ultra modern building targeted in Sustainable apartments are more efficient. Consequently, their design allows for better ventilation (Ratner, 2004, 345). Sustainable apartments make use of off-the-shelf, on-site-energy recycling technologies to effectively re-produce energy from the waste, hot water and stale air and transform that energy into incoming fresh air or fresh water.

Sustainable apartments are equipped with passive solar building design, which facilitates for harnessing energy from the sun directly without using the active solar mechanisms such as photo voltaic cells or solar hot-water panels. Typically, the building makes use of high thermal mass materials that enhance effective heat retention and strong insulation which in turn prevent heat loss (Gipe, Paul 2004, 789). Sustainable apartments are designed with the low surface area volume ratio to minimize heat loss. Windows in Sustainable apartments are designed to minimize the heat loss which is achieved by double or triple glazed insulated windows with gas-filled spaces and low emissivity coatings. To reduce solar gains during summer in sustainable apartments, deciduous trees are planted in front of windows to block excessive sunlight and to allow light through when their leaves shed off during winter (Perry, Michael. 2000, 908).

Sustainability in the housing industry is achieved through the use of the sustainable materials such as recycled denim or brown-fiber glass insulation, sustainably harvested wood, sheep wool, concrete both high and ultra-high-performance, backed earth, sisal, calcium sand stone, bamboo, and locally obtained rocks. Generally, sustainable materials refer to the environment-friendly materials. Sustainable materials produce the design of the building which is appealing and attractive to the society; a luxury building (Blewitt, 1990 23).

Waste management is also an important aspect of consideration in sustainability in the housing industry. Sustainable apartments, therefore, make use of the on-site waste management systems whereby grey water system is adopted in gardening and composting of toilets to reduce sewage. The apartments impact positively to the society, especially with the current environmental dilemmas.  Many residents in New York City desire for a room in the newly built apartments because of the modern architectural design which make the basic needs like energy affordable and available all the time.

Sustainable apartments affect everybody in the society. This is because of the believe that this building improves the quality of life, maintain a unique sense of the place, support the cultural and economic vitality of the society and improve the health and live of the people. Sustainable apartments offer advanced indoor air quality, water conservation and purification, energy efficiency and recycling of waste (Adams, 2006).

Observation of Lifestyle of Target Market

Sustainable apartments are in a secure place to ensure security and well-being of the people. Because those apartments combine both luxury and sustainability, they attract the rich and big-business people leading to the promotion of economy in that region. Sustainable apartments are designed to emulate the luxury upper class residential buildings.

Contradictions and Comparisons on Luxury and Sustainability

Sustainable apartments may not provide the luxury facilities that may be needed by the rich. But it will incorporate a program of constructing and designing a separate resort for recreation. The apartments are rented at the current market rates. The residents around the area are with high-income earners, and therefore, they influence the renting charges. Looking at the surrounding apartments, they may fail to compete with this apartment because of its modern design and its incorporation of sustainable technology, which promote the use of sustainable sources of energy (Beddoea, 2009, 2483–2489). Thus, the low-income earners fail to find space in such apartments due to their prospected high demands. Also the apartment raises the living standards of people in that place, and it will attract the residential developments, businesses and infrastructure development. Because of the high lifestyle of the targeted people, the apartment is anticipated to boost economy from the revenue collected from the apartments.

These apartments are designed to bring together sustainability and luxury facilities. The architects and designers take luxury living to an environmentally friendly level. During constructions, environmentally conscious designs begin with reducing the amount of waste from the construction site. In the constructions of the apartments, the waste reduction is reduced to 2% by recycling materials from other sites or by using eco friendly materials. More of balancing luxury facilities and sustainability this apartment forms a supper efficient home which has a minimal impact on the environment (United Nations General Assembly March 20, 1987).

By maximizing energy-efficient methods and reducing the environmental impacts one can live in a luxurious apartment with clear understandings. Lavishness and sustainability can be combined in the apartment with the magnificent exterior appearance but contain the latest modern technologies inside. This can be done from the environmental point of view. This indicates the fact that, the lifestyle of the residents would dictate so much on the development that is being aimed in consideration of building sustainable luxury apartments; catering for their needs and their demands while remaining sustainable that will impose higher value on the proposed project.

Evaluating New York’s Capabilities to Produce and House Sustainable Apartments

The Green High-Rise Building (GHRB) is a building which is more than 24m tall. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rapidly growing, green building system in New York. This tool aims to encourage and accelerate global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through implementation and creation of universally understood and accepted standards, performance criteria and tools (Golley, 1998, 134). LEED enables for:

  1. Defining “green building” by establishing a common standard of measurement
  2. Promote integrated, whole-building design practices
  3. Recognize environmental leadership in the building industry
  4. Stimulate green competition
  5. Raise consumer awareness of green building benefits
  6. Validate achievement through third party review
  7. Contribute to a growing green building knowledge base.

Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) was developed to assess the environmental performance of both new and existing buildings. This is the most commonly used tool for assessment worldwide. This tool was launched in 1990, and it has been increasingly accepted in New York construction and property sectors as offering best practice in management and environmental design.

BREEAM a wide range of financial and environmental benefits which include:

  1.  Compliance with environmental requirements
  2.  Environmental improvement: in support of a wider corporate strategy or as a standalone contribution
  3.  Occupant benefits: to create a better place for people to work and live
  4.  Marketing: as a selling point to potential tenants or customers
  5.  Financial: to achieve higher rental incomes and increased building efficiency
  6. Best practice: to provide a thorough checklist or tool for comparing buildings
  7. Client request: responding to the requirements of users.

Another tool used in New York is the Green Star, which is based on BREEAM and LEED schemes. The Green Star offers a wide suite of tools, including, office as built, office existing and office design (Perry, 2003, 46). The following are the objectives of using Green Star:

  1. Raise awareness of green building benefits
  2. Set a standard of measurement for green buildings
  3. Establish a common rating tool
  4. Promote integrated, whole-building design
  5. Recognize environmental leadership
  6. Identify building life-cycle impacts

New York City’s CBD comprises the whole southern half or third of Manhattan island. It comprises of Shopping precincts, corporate regional head quarters and high end housing.

A large number of international agencies, foreign investment enterprises and multinational companies are housed in New York. New York has kept up the unstoppable development speed in the past couple of decades. However, the city experiences some problems such as pollution and high prices for the cost of basic services such as natural gas and electricity.  New York CBD expansion designs are being anticipated, which includes the KPF Architect and SOM architect.

Exploring Design Options

New York experiences a serious traffic problem, due to the limitation of residential buildings in the CBD area; commuters take 1 to 2 hours to access public transport to work or to drive their cars. To solve traffic problem, creation of more subways in high density area would be necessary. New York City subway is the most expensive and oldest public transport system, and it comprises 468 stations, which are not enough to transfer large number of people going to work. Normally, buses get caught up for over 10 minutes during the rush hour, also the large number of private vehicles together with the taxis, and buses get stacked together. The best solutions for sustainable development in New York are increasing the number of apartments and reduce traffic jams by constructing more subway stations. This can improve people’s living environment and add more value to the business.

The best design strategy would be to analyze people’s current living and working situation in the CBD. The design should seek to implement a suitable building layout to fulfill the requirements of urban development and the people (James, 2006, 164). This should determine whether existing residents should be settled outside New York CDB for better economic growth and improved business environment and to solve the traffic problems.

The design should fulfill the goal of lowering carbon from the atmosphere and provide organic space with shopping centers and cultural amusements. Carbon emission can be reduced by cutting down energy consumption and releasing as much oxygen as possible into the atmosphere. The amount of oxygen released is in a direct ratio to green coverage, this can help in attaining the goal of saving land by decreasing the building footprint and increasing the green coverage (Louis, 2002, 98). Commercial facilities can be combined with other functions to achieve the organic life space idea with cultural amusements and shopping centers. The building functions should include offices, apartments, hotel, supermarket, restaurants, libraries, gym, conference center, police station, cyber cafes, garden, bank, post office, medical facilities, recreation facilities, kindergartens, retail outlets, etc., to enable people access everything without having to go out of the building.

The municipal must not seek to move people out of the CBD. If people are to move out of the CBD, they should go to the suburbs. Conversely, if the existing households around New York Suburbs were to be housed in apartments the, infrastructure for expanding the CBD would be saved together with green fields in the suburbs. It works well to combine several mixes of GHRB while ignoring the blueprint. However, it should be understood that one building is better than several buildings in order to reduce footprint area. The building itself might take on a different form and will certainly be of a bigger volume.

Risks

Decision making is important in influencing the success or failure of a project and in this regard the feasibility study is the most significant stage. Construction industries are based on the characteristic of high uncertainty. Most risks occur during project feasibility study. To make the project as successful, correct assumption and decision have to be made. In making assumptions, anticipation of main construction factors need to be calculated to mitigate the risks associated (Holtcamp, 2001, 321).   

Budget control can be a problem when it comes to estimation of project cost. Survey data from a professional company when not researched out very well can be a source of major problems. If the estimates of cost and revenue are not well anticipated, this can be a source of risks ultimately. If the cash flow forecasting is wrong, then in this way, an improper time schedules can be risk factors.

Mega cities like New York bring about intensive economic and social problems that can in turn bring about social exclusion and exclusion. It can cause food insecurity to the affected population (Ellis, 2002, 245).

It can cause insecurity of occupancy in the expulsion rates of informal or illegal residents. This can in turn result into crimes. Inequality can be a major cause of violent crimes. The vulnerability of population and exposed system to hazardous events, systemic risks or accidents can occur in a great magnitude if the risks are not considered. The capacity to anticipate disaster-recovery measures in case of a calamity can be a cause of concern.

Social inequality can be a major cause of vulnerability. It is estimated by the World Bank that by 2035, poverty will be common in cities (Crucefix, 2002, 245). Income disparities make access to high end apartments thus resulting into focus of poverty in certain areas, which can be hubs for drug dealers.

Crimes make urban economies less effective. Impact of disasters to apartment’s designs under focus can be very harmful to the economy. Natural disasters have been known to harm the affected countries’ GDP especially in terms of human capital and property.

The speed of change, the scale, the growing mobilization of people, goods and capital, information and capital and global inter-connection of mega cities combine to form new, social, physical and economic dynamics, new dimensions of risk and a new complexity (Brower, 1990, 67). This poses a challenge to New York’s sustainable development for apartments. Concentration of apartments generates a large amount of sewage and waste. Urban residues per capita and quantity of resources consumed increase steadily per capita consumed. Natural ecosystems and resource regimes are influenced by concentration of apartments in mega cities. This can be seen in the case of green house gas emissions.

Conclusion

To sum up the entire research, this section provides the readers with an overall consideration on the most important points of the study in order to give an idea on how reliability of the research could be applied. Achieving sustainable apartments requires the adoption of architectural approaches, which allow for a careful choice of techniques as well as materials that are best maintained for a considerable length of time without a possibility of reducing resources that are non-renewable. Design techniques that are friendly to the environment are important considerations in sustainable apartments.

In sustainable apartments, the adverse effects on the environment are significantly minimized through improvement of efficiency together with high profile moderation in the space for development, energy as well as materials use. In specific terms, in sustainable apartments, it is important to consider such decisions and actions that have a negligible inhibitory effect to the opportunities for the coming generations. Therefore, designing sustainable apartments requires a careful consideration of approaches, which are conscious of energy as well as ecological aspects of environment. It is therefore, the role of the architects to apply a diversity of techniques that allow, for the reduction of energy needs in the apartments while at the same time accounting for potential options of capturing and generating their energy.

Works cited

Adams, W.M. (2006). “The Future of Sustainability: Re-thinking Environment and Development in the Twenty-first Century.” Report of the IUCN Renowned Thinkers Meeting, 29–31, 2006.

Beddoea, R., Et al. “Overcoming systemic roadblocks to sustainability: The evolutionary redesign of worldviews, institutions, and technologies.”Proceedings of the National   Academy of Sciences. 106 8 2483–2489, 2009.

Blewitt, J. Understanding Sustainable Development. London: Earthscan. pp. 21-24, 2008.

Brower, Michael. Cool Energy, The Renewable Solution to Global Warming; Union of Concerned Scientists, 1990.

Clarke, W. C. The Structure of Permanence: The Relevance of Self-Subsistence Communities for World Ecosystem Management. London: Academic Press, pp. 363–384, 1977.

Costanza, R. & Patten, B.C. “Defining and predicting sustainability.” Ecological Economics 15 (3): 193–196, 1995.

Crucefix, Lanna. “Green roofs cool for summer, environmentalist says,”  University of Toronto, 2002.

Ellis, E. G.  How I Saved the World from Global Warming.  San Diego: Allcat Press, 2002.

Gipe, Paul; Wind Power: Renewable Energy for Farm and Business; Chelsea Green Publishing,            2004.

Golley, Frank B.  A Primer for Environmental Literacy. London: Yale University Press, 1998.

James,J.P.,  & Yang, X. Indoor and Built Environment, Emissions of Volatile Organic Compoundsfrom Several Green and Non-Green Building Materials: A Comparison, 2006.

Holtcamp, Wendee. “A Grass-Roofs Effort – Secret Gardens Conserve Energy & Cool the Air.” sierra magazine, 2001.

Louis, Errol.  “How Green Is My Roof”. The New York Sun, 2002.

Markus J., Milne M.K., Kearins, K., & Walton, S. Creating Adventures in Wonderland: The Journey Metaphor and Environmental Sustainability. Organization 13(6): 801-839, 2006.

Marshall, J.D. &Toffel, M.W. (2005).”Framing the Elusive Concept of Sustainability: A             Sustainability Hierarchy.” Environmental & Scientific Technology 39(3): 673–682.

Perry, Michael. “Green roofs offer environmentally friendly alternative.” Plant Engineering Magazine, 2003.

Ratner, B.D. (2004). “Sustainability as a Dialogue of Values: Challenges to the Sociology of     Development.” Sociological Inquiry 74(1): 50–69.

Randolph, John & Gilbert M. Masters. Energy for Sustainability: Technology, Planning, Policy,”           Island Press, Washington, DC, 2008.

Ringel, C. University of Michigan, Sustainable Architecture, Waste Prevention.             >>http://www.umich.edu/~nppcpub/resources/compendia/ARCHpdfs/ARCHr&rA.pdf.<  October 13, 2011.

Scott Cato, M. (2009). Green Economics. London: Earthscan, pp. 36–37.

United Nations General Assembly (1987) Report of the World Commission on Environment and          Development: Our Common Future.Transmitted to the General Assembly as an Annex to document A/42/427 – Development and International Co-operation: Environment.

United Nations General Assembly (March 20, 1987). “Report of the World Commission on       Environment   and Development: Our Common Future; Transmitted to the General Assembly as an Annex to document A/42/427 – Development and International Co-  operation: Environment; Our Common Future, Chapter 2: Towards Sustainable Development; Paragraph 1”. United Nations General Assembly.

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