Sustainability has become the buzz word for the 21st century. It is a complex term that can be applied to almost every facet of life and be misused to the advantage of green claims.
However it is now generally accepted to mean the balancing of social, economic and environmental objectives that are also described as the ‘three pillars of sustainability’.
Social Sustainability – People
Environmental Sustainability – the Planet
This is the most recognised and obvious of the three, not only in construction but in manufacture of products for construction.
The challenge for the future will be to ensure the stability of sustainable development as a whole rather than focusing on a specific pillar.
In considering this, the positive aspects of a development need to also be considered – the ability of a product to enhance human life and benefit the environment, coupled with the environmental penalty (raw material, transport, energy requirements, etc.) of producing and installing a product.