Environmental Consulting For Sustainable Housing

With the state of the environment hot on the international agenda, environmental consulting services are becoming ever more in demand. Services offered can cover a multitude of disciplines, from engineering to biodiversity. This diversity means that working within an environmental consultancy is possible for many people whether their interest is in meteorology and acid erosion or sustainable developments using renewable energy and environmentally friendly materials.

Sustainable developments are one area where environmental consulting is being brought to the fore. Economic growth is synonymous with building, but unfortunately building is associated with consuming massive amounts of energy and creating a sizeable carbon footprint. However, developments that use energy from sustainable sources and materials such as compact mud can not only achieve a zero carbon emission status during the construction process, but keep that status even with use.

There have been several developments that have been able to incorporate water collection and sewage treatment in the design, and with the addition of solar and wind power, any energy that is used is from a sustainable source. Many of these homes do not need much energy as the indoor environment is maintained at a constant 25 degrees throughout the year without the need for central heating or air conditioning. The only energy that needs to be consumed is for cooking and electrical equipment, both of which can be powered from sources such as solar power and wind turbines.

Compact mud housing has been used for thousands of years, and it has been demonstrated that such constructions are not only durable, they are also low maintenance. The benefit that mud has over timber is that it is in abundant supply everywhere in the world, and is an effective insulator against the elements whether in arid environments or colder climes. The use of mud also has a lesser impact on the local environment, saving the need for deforestation and transportation.

In situations where materials do need to be transported, environmental consultants will recommend using heavy transport that uses a special detergent that is added to the diesel in an engine. The detergent ensures that all the diesel is burned, achieving a zero carbon emission.

Mixing this type of new technology with older methods that have been proven to have minimal environmental impact is a key part of an environmental consultancy. The aim is to keep productivity and development maximised to keep up with the demands of growing economies whilst reducing the impact of such activities. Working towards a future where sustainable practices are going to be essential for survival takes the skills found in many industries, all of which have a place within environmental consulting.

Dom Donaldson is an environmental expert.
Find out more about Environmental Consulting and the environmental engineering services on offer in construction at URS.


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