Building Development Effects on Environmental Cycles: Part 1
All of the environmental cycles listed in this article and the coming articles of this series are affected when developmentcreated changes happen in an area, no matter how minor, one or all of the ecocycles will be affected.
The removal of trees and natural habitat has the ability to drastically affect ecosystems. Mining and the production of materials used in the built environment (bricks, concrete etc) also affect ecosystems, even though they are not directly located at, or taken from a development site.
The removal of habitat also has the potential to cause the death of animals and plants which rely on the particular environment for existence. Death of animals and plants in a developed area, even potentially a single parcel of land will be further discussed in the following paragraphs.
The impact of existing buildings on the ecocycles listed in the assignment represents not only the impact of the buildings occupants (liquid waste) it is also the buildings themselves (building materials).
Mining and production of building materials has been briefly discussed however the life span or usefulness of a building material and the effect of the decaying material or the removal of the product (renovation) also has the ability to affect ecocycles. Materials used in development that are outdated (thermalite blocks, bakelight switches etc) or no longer acceptable for human use (asbestos) also have a before and after production and waste impact affect on each ecocycle.
Development also causes the concentration of waste product (the necessity of transfer stations) and carbon emissions (heating of wood fires, exhaust fumes etc) in localised areas which also creates strain and change to existing ecocycles.
A change to a particular cycle also has a “roll on” effect for all of the other cycles. A working example is the phosphorus cycle reliance (partially) on the excrement of birds being mined. Birds are reliant on the oxygen and water (hydrological) cycles to survive, not to mention the carbon cycle (global warming) and the nitrogen cycle (protein production for the body).
On a positive note legislation is slowly making inroads to reduce the impact of building development on the environment by introducing energy efficiency requirements that are incorporated into new buildings (Part 3.12 and Part J of the BCA). On a larger scale legislation requires referral of larger development and subdivision of land through Local Government Town Planning Departments to the Department of Environment and Conservation or similar Government departments (Swan River Trust) for advice and comment on matters relating to environmental and biodiversity conservation.
The reality is that everything eventually decomposes, no matter how slowly (plastic) and has a continual evolutionary effect on natural ecosystems. A brief understanding of each of the eco-cycles will be explained over the following weeks.
Our invaluable technical advice and inspections before, during and after construction will help to ensure that any building project you undertake complies with regulations, minimises the environmental impact and is as economically efficient as possible. This will comply with building regulations but we also think it’s the right thing to do too.
So, if you need advice on how to make your building project more energy efficient or how to make it impact less on our environment, get in touch to discuss your project. With a free and competitive quote, you really can’t afford not to.
Due to constantly evolving legislation the information provided within this blog may no longer be valid. The advice given on this site is general in nature and does not take into account your specific circumstances. Please email one of our building surveyors to check what is right for you.