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Project Topic:

ASSESSING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF INSTITUTIONAL BUILDINGS (A case study of KNUST (main library & Casley Hayford building/examination hall))

Project Information:

 Format: MS WORD ::   Chapters: 1 - 5 ::   Pages: 101 ::   Attributes: Questionnaire, Data Analysis,Abstract  ::   23 people found this useful

Project Department:

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION UNDERGRADUATE PROJECT TOPICS, RESEARCH WORKS AND MATERIALS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The primary role of sustainability assessment methods of building is to verify and present the building’s characteristics with the use of selected and verifiable standards. Before a building is assessed it’s being assessed on the basis of an extensive selection of criteria from various domains which try as best they can to keep to the goals and principles of sustainable development by taking into account environmental, economic and social aspects. There are different reasons behind the development and use of these sustainability assessment methods. In the first place, there is the demand for a public and transparent recognition of the quality of projects showing good practise. As construction legislation only prescribes minimal demands, projects that surpass these legally prescribed standards and are therefore of a higher quality are not rewarded. With the use of building assessment methods it is possible to evaluate the actual quality of the project [König et al., 2010]. The other reason in favour of building assessment is greater ecological awareness of investors and familiarity with the negative potential of buildings. In their complete life cycle, buildings have a large influence on the environment due to their use of raw materials, the creation of waste and emissions. Buildings use 40 % of total final energy in the EU for their functioning alone and also produce a similar portion of greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings use 30 % of raw material sources and 20 % of water. Buildings are responsible for the creation of 30 % of waste [Eurostat, 2012; Lowe & Ponce, 2008]. There are an increasing number of warnings from scientists and experts concerning the reaching and surpassing of our planet’s limits as a result of human activity (Rockstroem et al. 2009). The key problems connected with this are climate change, water use, and atmospheric aerosol loading, chemical pollution, the depletion of the ozone layer and the loss of biodiversity. In order to mitigate these climatic changes and reach sustainability, we need to transform our institutions towards zero emissions of greenhouse gases. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007), human activity and the emission of greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution are the most probable reasons for the acceleration of climate change and the appearance of extreme weather phenomena. The use of building assessment methods encourages a reduction in the negative effects of buildings on the environment and also has other advantages [Ebert et al., 2011]:

• demands represent planning guidelines and help investors specify the desired building quality when the project is being tendered;

• the quality of living in the building is improved;

• the building incurs smaller expenses in its entire lifecycle;

• there is greater transparency in the planning process;

• the market value of the building is greater due to the proven quality;

• the quality of different buildings can be compared on the basis of the final evaluation.

Comprehensive building assessment methods have been effectively in use abroad for over two decades while in Ghana a practically useable method does not yet exist. The purpose of this research is to examine the building assessment of institutional buildings in Ghana. We present the development of methods on a global level and undertake a comparison of the more recognised ones.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

We are living in a world facing climatic changes at an ever faster pace due to the anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases. In order to mitigate these climatic changes and reach sustainability, we need to transform our institutions towards zero emissions of greenhouse gases. The architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry is the key industry in the mitigation of climate change, the industry is alone responsible for 30-40% of the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (UN, 2009). A large part of the industry’s activities is related to the planning and construction of building projects in urban environments. Unlike other consumer products, buildings typically have a functional service life over 100 years. Thus, where and how these buildings are constructed has significant effects on the future sustainability of institutional areas. It is a long time since 1987, when the term “sustainable development” was defined by the Brundtland Report (WCED, 1987): "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This report and its definition has proved very influential and has been a platform for policy development ever since. However, the definition caused problems by being wage and difficult to translate into measurable metrics. Thus giving rise to a plethora of different frameworks and indicators. Our approach is that we believe that is there is a limited action space for the support of human activities (Meadows et al 1972). Of the many limitation mankind is about to face, we agree with IPCC (2014) and others that global warming is the most immediate threat to a sustainable future. Global warming is caused by a lack of carbon sinks, and thus a limit to our consumption of energy from fossil fuel. In other words, we have a waste handling or “self pollution” problem. However, the identification of global warming as the most immediate threat makes it possible to operate on sustainable development. Most humans already live in or near cities, and more will do so within the next years (UN, 2014). Thus, Near Zero Building Projects in Urban Planning is a necessity in order to reach sustainability (Høyer & Næss, 2008; Bohne & Solli, 2011). How can we know if a project is successful? Following the Brundtland definition, a project must be environmental, social and economical in order to be sustainable. This means that not only must a building project be near zero in energy consumption and emission, it must also be socially attractive and economical viable. Thus, the purpose of this work has been to identify how to assess the sustainability of institutional buildings.

1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY

The major purpose of this study is to examine cost control and effective project delivery of construction companies. Other general objectives of the study are:

  1. To examine the sustainable performance of the institutional buildings.
  2. To examine how to improve the energy efficiency of the institutional buildings.
  3. To examine the impact of assessment on the sustainability of institutional buildings.
  4. To examine building lifecycles and sustainability indicators.
  5. To examine the relationship between institutional building and sustainability assessment.
  6. To examine the challenges met by the architectures in constructing a sustainable institutional building.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. What is the sustainable performance of the institutional buildings?
  2. Is it possible to improve the energy efficiency of the institutional buildings?
  3. What is the impact of assessment on the sustainability of institutional buildings?
  4. What are the building lifecycles and sustainability indicators?
  5. What is the relationship between institutional building and sustainability assessment?
  6. What are the challenges met by the architectures in constructing a sustainable institutional building?

1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

Hypothesis 1

H0: There is no significant impact of assessment on the sustainability of institutional buildings.

H1: There is a significant impact of assessment on the sustainability of institutional buildings

Hypothesis 2

H02: There is no significant relationship between institutional building and sustainability assessment.

H02: There is a significant relationship between institutional building and sustainability assessment.

1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This thesis work has a significant contribution in the sense that it answers the research question: The building tool application allowed an analysis of the current situation performance. While the tool evaluated a university building it took as a reference an ideal situation that was defined in the beginning of the evaluation. In our case, the ideal situation is a sustainable university building. The performance assessment provided information that could help the decision-making process. In addition, the information can be useful for the development of a strategic program of actions. On the other hand, by providing information we are at the same time increasing the awareness of the project stakeholders. Moreover, this work contributes to the broader issue of the sustainable campus. Applying sustainability goals at the building level is a way to confront the sustainable campuses challenges in achieving the SDGs through their structures. Besides, it is a way to help the universities to meet its economic, ecological, and social responsibilities. Hence, the improvement of the university building performance contributes to the amelioration of the university campus sustainability performance. For example, the reduction of energy and water consumption inside the buildings contributes to the global reduction of energy and water of the university campus. Finally, this research added to existing literature on assessing the sustainability of institutional buildings. It also formed the basis upon which other studies will be done.

1.7    SCOPE OF THE STUDY 

The study is based on assessing the sustainability of institutional buildings, a case study of Kwame Nkrumah University, Ghana.

1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY

Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

Assessing: Assessment has two meanings (“an amount that a person is officially required to pay” and “the act of making a judgment about something”) so distinct that one might rightfully wonder if they come from different sources.

Sustainability: Is the process of maintaining change in a balanced environment, in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations.

Institution: Is an established custom or practice, or a group of people that was formed for a specific reason or a building that houses the group of people.

Buildings: Is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and functions, and have been adapted throughout history for a wide number of factors, from building materials available, to weather conditions, land prices, ground conditions, specific uses, and aesthetic reasons. 

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