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close this bookEnergy for Building - Improving Energy Efficiency in Construction and in the Production of Building Materials in Developing Countries (HABITAT, 1991, 118 p.)
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View the documentForeword
Open this folder and view contentsI. Introduction
Open this folder and view contentsII. Optimizing energy use in building-materials production
Open this folder and view contentsIII. The energy content of buildings and building components
Open this folder and view contentsIV. Strategies for optimizing energy use in the building fabric
View the documentReferences and bibliography
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Over the past decade there has been a rapid increase in both awareness and concern about the impact of buildings on the global environment. There is concern at one level about the health of the living environment within and around buildings, and there is concern also about the impact of the resource use in buildings on the global environment. There is a growing commitment in some of the industrialized countries to reduce the use in buildings of products whose deterioration will damage the global environment, of hardwoods which are contributing to the loss of the tropical forests, and of energy from non-renewable sources, and the pollution consequences of the use of fossil fuels. These problems are all directly related to energy use or have energy implications, since whatever solutions are found will have some bearing on energy.

In many countries the proportion of the total national energy consumption used in buildings is over 50 per cent and this figure tends to be higher for developing countries. While the largest part of this energy relates to the energy consumption of the building in use, the energy used in the production of buildings is a significant and a growing element of this total energy use.

Of equal concern to the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) is the problem of meeting the need for adequate shelter, especially for the poor in developing countries, as expressed in the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000. Successive reports by the Centre have detailed the inadequacy of the living standards in those countries. In addition, inadequate housing is a serious problem for a growing proportion of the population in many industrialized countries also.

Increasing the efficiency of energy use in building-materials production is important for three further reasons, apart from the obvious advantage of energy saving: it can help to make durable building materials available at prices which the average poor households can afford; it will help to reduce the environmental degradation caused by the excessive use of biomass fuels, and conserve them for household use; and it will help to reduce the need for imported building materials or production processes. It is, therefore, hoped that this publication will prove useful to building-materials producers, designers, builders and policy-makers in the field of housing and construction, especially in developing countries.

I wish to acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Robin Spence and his colleagues of Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd., Cambridge, United Kingdom, in the preparation of this publication.

Dr. Arcot Ramachandran
Under-Secretary General
Executive Director