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What Are The Impacts Of Civil Engineering Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2202 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Discuss the impact of civil engineering on our environment and in particular the extent to which current practice is sustainable into the future. Civil engineering has always had a big impact on our society and environment. Decisions made by the government and private investors are generally money orientated but recently some of the planning and construction of projects has been halted due to the credit crisis. Currently, problems are now being resolved and debts are being paid off. The government and Investors are recently more worried about the environment and how to tackle occurring and future problems. Society is relying on them for plans, improvement and developments to stop civilization from suffering the further effects of global warming. The Earth summit, Kyoto Protocol and Copenhagen conference in 2009 was surrounding the issues on gas emission on global warming and what governments can do together to give society a better chance for the future. With the help of construction projects from eco housing firms, public buildings and private funded structures, this will allow society to be aware of the problems caused by global warming and therefore respond by giving something back to the earth. This report will be based on what the world is doing about global warming, how it is put into action in the United Kingdom and how society can help.

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World leaders gather for summits and conferences to discuss current issues and affairs that concern the whole nation. Big problems such as fossil fuel crisis, scarcity of water, global warming etc… With these concerns addressed, the government can take action and inform the rest of the nation of the crisis we are facing in the near future. Certain nations or countries would not accept or agree with the issues that are addressed because of their economical and financial status. This causes differences and causes other problems to break out.

In 1992, more than 100 representatives from all over the world met in Rio de Janeiro for the first international Earth summit. Ref: http://www.un.org/esa/earthsummit/index.html Where Agenda 21 was first heard, the Rio declaration on Environment and Development, the Statement of Forest Principles, the United Nations Framework convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The topics that occurred in the summit were, by replacing fossil fuels with alternative energy and concern of the scarcity of water was brought to the world leader’s attention. Ref: http://www.un.org/geninfo/bp/enviro.html Agenda 21 is 300 pages, 40 chapters and 4 categories plan to achieving sustainable development for the 21st century. Ref: http://www.bgci.org/resources/article/0011/ The plan consists of ‘social and economics dimensions’ includes dealing with poverty, promoting heath etc… The conference also included a more relevant topic on ‘conservation and management of resources for development’ which would cover how to combat poverty, stopping or minimizing forestation, controlling the level of pollution, protecting the environment and conserving biodiversity. There are 2 other topics which are ‘strengthening the role of major groups’ that includes the roles of business workers, women and children. The last topic is ‘means of implementation’, which consist of education, science and technology. The most discussed topic that is addressed in the Kyoto Protocol from the United Nations framework Convention on climate change is the ‘conservation and management of resources for development as combating global warming’ due to the current world affairs. The plan of the Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty for controlling the amount of green house gases that goes into the atmosphere to prevent further damage from global warming.

Ref: http://unfccc.int/essential_background/kyoto_protocol/items/1678.php Agenda 21: Earths action plan annotated by Nicholas A. Robinson, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural resources

Between 7th and 18th December 2009 there was a United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the topic that started it off was ‘Climate change: Global Risk, Challenges and Decisions’ where the most important messages was the ‘climatic trends’ which is proving that the rate of emission had increased, climate changing dramatically and damages done the ocean and ice sheet. Another key message is ‘social disruption’ where society is also the main suspect for the recent change in the climate. Another key message was ‘long-term strategy’ which was implying to reduce intensive radioactivity in order to reduce the harm in global warming. ‘Equity dimensions’ means to take into consideration the affect of the climate change on society. Another point was ‘inaction is inexcusable’ which mean climate change will affect everything and what benefit they can gain from it such as job growth, restoration of the ecosystem. Finally the last message is ‘meeting the challenge’ which means with the increase of emissions, can be overcome by the help of the public and private sector. This is done by allowing the society to have better knowledge of the current status. Ref: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-03/uoc-cg031209.php The accord of the conference was to endorse the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, reducing emission form deforestation and needs to enhance removals of greenhouse gas emission by forest etc… criticism were not good as no decision was taken on whether to agree a legally binding successor to the Kyoto Protocol, only drafted by 5 countries, no real targets to achieve in emissions reductions and no international approach to technology etc… Ref: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/cop15/eng/l07.pdfThis shows that the COP15 was not successful enough to make a big change, but the knowledge among the public will allow the government to realize how important they take the climate change in this generation and for the next.

Large scale constructions in the United Kingdom are owned by private investors or public. It is important for the planning to go accordingly and not dishearten and upset nearby residents or commuters. Housing estates built in the United Kingdom are mostly from private investors, where they have to go thought a long process with the council to determine whether or not they get a planning permission. Houses are producing approximately 30% of all energy consumed and Co2 emissions therefore companies are staring to develop new eco homes, where houses are designed lower carbon emissions or using renewable resources. Companies that have invested in projects have to seriously consider the problems they are going to face regarding environmental issues. As regular problems such as whether the structure or development will fit into the surrounding environment, what sort of structure is being built and considering the neighborhood.

A good example of construction and development problem is Falmer stadium near the University of Brighton. As planning permission was give by Brighton and Hove city council, problem aroused from Lewes council as the stadium was planned for construction on the boundary between Brighton and Lewes. The village of Lewes was not happy due to the problems that will occur in the future such as traffic congestion, road blocks, pollution from vehicles and construction pollution. Problems they will be facing should not be brought to a small village. Ref: http://wapedia.mobi/en/Falmer_Stadium The Falmer for all group held a protest during the Liberal democrat meeting in 17th September 2006, as the ‘FFA said that there was more than 5,000 residents of the Lewes district had signed a petition’ which opposed their council’s court action. And a further hearing is scheduled for the 5th and 6th December. Ref: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/southern_counties/5255088.stm Though further debate and decisions, the government decided to give the go ahead for the construction of Falmer stadium. Work commenced on the 17th December 2008 but the work on the actual stadium is not ready to start until April 2009. It has been said that the Falmer Stadium was one of the longest struggles for a football club to have their own stadium to be built. Ref: http://wapedia.mobi/en/Falmer_Stadium

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A good example of an eco friendly building is Jubilee library in Brighton, which was finished in 2004 with the overall cost of £14,500,000. The library was designed to use the natural energy provided by suns light and wind from the south coast. The suns energy is gathered through the glazed wall in winter. The Solar shading and automatically opening vents will reduce solar glare in the summer. Water use is minimized by the collection and reuse of rainwater for toilet flushing. Heat created by equipment in the building is also reused but energy use has been minimized, as the building has a high thermal mass and a solid, heavy structure called ‘Termodeck’. Heat is stored in the floor and walls, being released slowly into surrounding areas as part of a low energy release ventilation and heating system. Instead of air conditioning, natural ventilation from sea breeze is released to cools the building, five meter high wind towers on the roof use the breeze to draw excess heat from the summer. By using sunlight, both quality of the environment and of reduction of energy consumption, will sustain a good surrounding environment. Ref: http://www.designinglibraries.org.uk/view/index.php?id=434831a73024a The building itself won several prestigious awards for design and good to the environment.

In the recent years, society has been looking for houses which will save them money on utility bills and help save the environment from global warming therefore firms like Baufritz, a design and construction company using eco friendly timber framed. It is calculated that a typical house consumes 250 kWh/m^2 whilst Baufritzs consumes 40 kWh/m^2, a typical house uses 25 liters/m^2 of heating oil whilst Baufritz uses 4 liters/m^2 and brick work wall loses 0.45 W/m^2K though thermal transfer to exterior walls when Baufritiz lose 0.16 on a 400mm thick standard “energy wall”. The energy wall is constructed from an internal wall finish, plasterboard made from natural gypsum or other requested finish, natural plasterboard with protective shield against external high frequency radiation and low frequency electric fields, building paper to improve air tightness of wall, timber frame with fulfill cavity insulation made from wood shavings, wood fiberboard and external timber cladding with ventilated cavity. Ref: http://www.baufritz.co.uk/why_ecology.asp#diagram

This concludes that world leaders are doing everything they can to come up with a solution for the concerning problem regarding global warming. Summits and conference are making a difference but not fast enough as Global warming has been an issue for the last 20 years. Although we are making slow and steady progress but if decisions and actions are not made sooner, this generation and the next will suffer. As the Earth summit hardly made an impact, Agenda 21 is still an important topic and plan that nations are still using. This report shows that most decisions made in COP15 are not legally binded therefore not much progress was made. Agenda 21 and Kyoto protocol was brought up in Copenhagen and a continuation of these objectives are in order. The Key messages in the conference were addressed and encouraged nations to do their best in securing a better future. The past conferences had made an impact on the society but not enough to slow down global warming fast enough. As shown on this report, progress are being made in terms of civil engineering are like companies similar to Baufritz, which is encouraging society to invest in properties that allows them to benefit from the money saved on utilities bill as well as saving the environment. It is important for companies like Baufriz to have a smooth development and construction period unlike Falmer Stadium, which caused a lot of problems due to disruption to the nearby environment therefore putting home buyers off. The government showed a great example with Jubilee library in Brighton where its award winning for its eco friendliness speaks for itself. The library itself is a wonderful structure with the help of advancement on technology that allows it to be very energy efficient. As a whole, civil engineering has made changes in the past, present and will make changes for the future. With the help of governments, civil engineering gives a chance for society to independently help save the planet from global warming for the future generation. Sustainability for the future relies on the government to take further action to allow more eco developments and constructions to take place. With the society’s knowledge growing about the rising threat, our chances to save the future is growing.


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