Environmental impact of a housing estate

1047 Words 5 Pages
Although residential buildings are considered by many as being beneficial for the well being of society, they have an extreme environmental footprint. The housing sector is one of the highest contributors to the degradation of the environment and the excessive global average consumption rate of energy, whether it be from electricity or from natural resources (Marshall & Shortle, 2005). In this assignment I will be discussing the energy and material inputs, and the waste outputs of such housing estates throughout their life cycle, and how these may have a direct or indirect impact on the environment.
There are a number of phases throughout the life cycle of a housing estate which determine the extent of its effects on the natural
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Moreover, if the housing units are developed in a dispersed manner, they will have a greater impact on the environment, because of increased habitat fragmentation, than if they are a developed in a dense manner (Pejchar, Morgan, Caldwell, Palmer, & Daily, 2006).
Another aspect which is affecting the natural environment is the design and construction phase of the housing estate. For the houses to be constructed the materials have to be produced or manufactured. The raw materials first have to be extracted from a quarry, either by blasting techniques or by cutting, and then they have to pass through several processes including crushing, screening and dressing. The constant exploitation of these resources is causing a strain on the environment because they are not renewable. These all contribute to greenhouse gases, fine dust emissions and the CO2 by-product which end up in the atmosphere, due to the use of electrically powered equipment. The materials will then have to be transported to the construction site, in which the rate of CO2 emissions depends on the distance between the plant and the site, where they will be used in the construction of the houses.
Unfortunately, most residential building designs, especially in Malta, do not adopt sustainable principles of thermal comfort, ventilation and lighting. Some examples include the unwillingness of the owners of the housing units to install double-glazed windows and insulation in the outer shell…