chapter  13
9 Pages

Environmental impact of buildings

The erection of permanent structures for residential and other purposes is one of the major attributes of civilization. The construction, maintenance and use of these structures all have significant impacts on the environment, both locally and globally. These impacts may produce effects in the short or long term; they may even contribute to irreversible changes in the world’s climate, atmosphere and ecosystems. While scientific opinion remains somewhat divided there is an increasing acceptance of the notion that global climate change is happening and that human activity is at least part of the cause (IPCC, 1995). Buildings at all stages of their lives from construction to demolition contribute in many ways to changes, both major and minor, in the environment, many of which are only now being properly identified.