What is Sustainability?

sustainable triple image sized for bannerThe most commonly accepted definition of sustainability, as defined by the Brundtland Commission (1987) is: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

Sustainability encompasses three aspects often referred to by organisations as the ‘triple bottom line’:

  • social
  • environmental and
  • economic

Each plays an important part in shaping an organisation’s policies and subsequent actions. The effects of these actions determine whether the organisation is sustainable.

Why is it important to be sustainable?

Quite simply, our future and the needs of future generations depend on it.  Carbon emission output has risen dramatically since the 1970s to levels beyond that which the earth can naturally deal with. This has caused a ‘greenhouse’ effect within the earth’s atmosphere, from which the term ‘greenhouse gases’ is derived.

As a consequence, ice packs are melting, sea levels are rising and we are increasingly seeing more freak weather patterns across the globe.

In addition to the pollution causing these phenomena, the world is facing rapid depletion of fossil fuel reserves, which is causing energy prices to rise (and set to continue rising) as well as creating energy security issues. These factors have forced a shift in attitude/investment towards alternative, renewable means of producing energy to safeguard future energy supplies and reduce our carbon emissions. These include solar, wave/ tidal, wind, geo-thermal and hydroelectric.

But producing renewable energy for consumption is only half the story. Globally we need to:

    • reduce our demand for energy
    • increase the thermal efficiency of our buildings to prevent heat loss/infiltration through the envelope as much as possible, which will in turn reduce the demand for energy.
    • increase the efficiency of how we use the delivered energy for example, older boilers are typically only 65% efficient where as a modern condensing boiler is typically around 92% efficient. This example can be applied to all aspects of how we operate our buildings including the way in which we heat, cool, ventilate and light them during use.

Do you need help or further information on retrofitting your building?  Contact us today for impartial advice and a no-obligation consultation.