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About this book

This popular textbook covers how the built environment and the management of energy relate to the quality of human living-conditions and the environmental performance of buildings. It is the key introductory text for understanding the principles and theories of the environmental science behind construction, and the only text on the market to provide the basic scientific principles of such a broad range of topics. The text covers a range of areas in the field, including climate change, energy management, and sustainability in construction, with an important focus on contemporary environmental topics such as carbon, lifetime performance and rating schemes. The author is known for his extremely clear, finely crafted text, and the book offers a wealth of excellent worked examples.

This text is designed to be useful, at all levels, to students and practitioners of architecture, construction studies, building services, surveying, and environmental science.

Table of Contents

Core Topics

Frontmatter

1. The Environment

Abstract
It is remarkable to see a ‘big picture’ view of our environment, such as the entire planet Earth photographed from outer space. Against the darkness of space the Earth’s surface is lit by the Sun, that crucial star that governs our planet and supplies it with energy. It is also challenging for us to consider that the Sun and the Earth, like other planetary systems, can happily exist without the current range of life on Earth, including us humans. Compared to such matters, this book has a relatively limited scope! Used in a broad sense, the term environment means the global surroundings that affect our lives. This is obviously a large and complex topic involving factors that range from big events on the Sun to small events within the molecules of living organisms. Many environmental factors also interact with one another in ways that are important, or even vital to life. For example, the oxygen content of the atmosphere is regulated by the plants of the Earth which take up carbon dioxide from the air and then give back oxygen, which we breathe.
Randall McMullan

2. Energy Use in Buildings

Abstract
All buildings use energy for lighting, heating or cooling. Buildings in the British Isles, and in countries with similar climates, suffer an overall loss of heat during the year, and the energy required to replace these heat losses represents a major portion of national energy consumption. Building services, such as heating and cooling, make up 40 to 50 per cent of the national consumption of primary energy, and about half of this is used in domestic buildings. This chapter begins with an overview of the nature of energy, the different forms of energy and how we measure energy content and usage. One aim is to become comfortable, or at least less confused, when reading and using the various units for energy and power that are found in professional practice. A major aim of energy use in buildings is to keep the human occupants thermally comfortable in terms of factors like temperature, humidity and ventilation. People vary in their needs and opinions about what is comfortable. Nevertheless, we need to agree on numerical values for human comfort conditions so that we can, for example, design and assess heating and ventilating systems.
Randall McMullan

3. Thermal Effects in Buildings

Abstract
Sections of the previous chapters looked at our human need for a comfortable environment, and considered some of the external interactions of buildings and the wider environment. Heat energy and other thermal properties are major factors in maintaining our human body comfort and therefore also play major roles in the performance of buildings. The transfer of thermal energy through the fabric of buildings is a dominant factor in the energy and carbon profile of buildings, and it is the focus of this chapter. The broader subject of energy use in buildings was examined in Chapter 2, and you may find it useful to consider these two chapters together. Thermal insulation is a major factor in reducing the heat loss from buildings and so minimising energy use and carbon emissions. Adequate insulation should therefore be a feature of good initial design. The relatively small cost of extra insulating materials is quickly paid for by the reduction in the size of the heating plant required and by the annual savings in the amount of fuel needed. These fuel savings, and the related reduction in carbon emissions, continue throughout the life of the building.
Randall McMullan

4. Air Control in Buildings

Abstract
To feel comfortable inside our buildings we need fresh air which is at the correct temperature, contains the right amount of moisture and is free from odours and pollutants. The air supply for a building also affects the thermal design and energy performance of buildings, so balances have to be found between discarding stale air and keeping energy in the building. The properties and principles of heat, gases and vapours are described in the Resource sections of the book and make a useful reference if you want further information about the underlying science or want to investigate topics further. Much of this chapter is concerned with the effects of moisture in the air, which plays a large role in human comfort and in the performance of buildings.
Randall McMullan

5. Properties of Lighting

Abstract
Vision is one of our most important human senses. We use sight to understand the environment, to move about, and to carry out tasks. Our vision also plays a major role in leisure activities and in our sense of well-being. Our ability to see depends upon the presence of light and the various effects light can produce. Being able to provide and to control light from natural and artificial light sources is therefore an important feature of the built environment and our comfort. Aspects of lighting science, such as measurement of light, are oriented towards human perceptions because they depend on the working of the human eye and other parts of the ‘visual system’. The following chapters apply this knowledge to lighting design using both artificial and natural lighting. Resource 3 at the end of the book has useful information that explains the physical nature of light and the operation of the eye and visual system.
Randall McMullan

6. Artificial Lighting

Abstract
The type of lighting chosen for a building is closely linked to other design decisions for that building, such as the basic plan shape, the type and extent of windows, the type of heating or cooling, and the target energy use. Compared with traditional buildings, where all habitable rooms had windows, many modern buildings have interior spaces that depend totally upon artificial lighting. The energy used by artificial lighting is around 20 per cent of typical national electricity consumption, and changing the lighting equipment in a building is relatively easy compared with changing other energy properties of a building, such as insulation. The efficacy and technologies of lighting have made rapid advances in recent decades, after changing little for about 100 years after the introduction of the tungsten lamp. Making changes to lighting design and equipment is therefore a major factor in reducing the energy consumption and carbon emission associated with buildings. The Building Regulations for England and Wales, for example, stipulate the use of low-energy lamps and lighting controls such as automatic switch systems.
Randall McMullan

7. Natural Lighting

Abstract
It is usually necessary to provide a room with natural light from the Sun or the sky. The qualities of this natural light may be thought desirable for a pleasant environment or they may be needed to perform certain tasks, such as exacting work with colours. The natural light can be used as the sole source of interior lighting or can be combined with artificial light. Daylight usually enters a building by means of windows or skylights; but these windows also transmit heat, sound and perhaps air. So the design of windows for a building, called fenestration, affects many environmental variables. The provision of natural lighting in a building needs to be considered together with the factors of artificial lighting, heating, ventilation, and sound control. Modern guides and codes for sustainable buildings require minimum levels of daylighting. These topics should be considered together with the related principles and practice of artificial lighting explained in Chapter 6. The Resource sections of the book also contain supporting information that can be used for both revision of principles and further investigation of topics.
Randall McMullan

8. Aspects of Sound

Abstract
The ability to speak and to hear are important factors in our personal lives and in our environment. Activities such as making music, sound recording and reproduction, telephony, architectural acoustics, and noise control also have strong associations with our sensation of hearing, and require an understanding of the principles and effects of sound. Unwanted sound in the environment is perceived as a nuisance and can cause emotional effects such as annoyance, irritation, and sleep disturbance. The main sources of environmental noise issues are transportation noise, industrial noise, construction noise, and noise from leisure and entertainment. The measurement of noise exposure is an important step towards protecting people from hearing damage and in creating satisfactory environments for our living. Good practice in the design of buildings and the construction of buildings therefore involves a consideration of sound in the environment. Common topics of concern are the reduction of noise at source, the exclusion of external noise, the reduction of sound passing between rooms and the quality of sound inside rooms. Before these topics are studied in other chapters, this chapter describes certain properties of sound, its measurement, and its effects on hearing.
Randall McMullan

9. Noise and Sound Insulation

Abstract
Noise is unwanted sound. The results of national surveys of typical exposure to noise show that over 50 per cent of the population are exposed to daytime noise levels that exceed the World Health Organization (WHO) ratings for significant community annoyance. Other surveys report that around 50 per cent of people find their home in some way unsatisfactory because of noise intrusion. These results include people living in new homes built to modern building codes which require certain standards of noise control. A satisfactory environment of sound quality therefore needs to be a major consideration when we create our built environment. Your knowledge will be enhanced by also referring to the related chapters on Aspects of sound and on Room acoustics.
Randall McMullan

10. Room Acoustics

Abstract
The term ‘acoustics’ can be used to describe the study of sound in general, but the subject of room acoustics is concerned with the control of sound within an enclosed space. The general aim is to provide the best conditions for the production and the reception of sound such as music or speech. The sound quality of a large auditorium such as a concert hall can be difficult to get right, and acoustics has sometimes been described as an art rather than a science. But, as with thermal and visual comfort, there are technical properties that do affect our perception and these make the best starting point for designing or improving the environment. Noise control is treated separately in Chapter 9 but the exclusion of unwanted noise is an important element of room acoustics. Similarly, the acoustic quality of sound in a room can affect the way that people judge noise levels. The Resource sections at the back of the book also contain supporting information that can be used for both revision of principles and extended investigation of topics.
Randall McMullan

11. Electricity Supplies

Abstract
Electricity powers many aspects of our modern lives and a supply of electricity in a building is essential for creating and controlling the environment. Systems for heating, cooling, ventilating and lighting all use electricity, because of its energy content and for the ease with which it can be controlled. The electronic equipment of modern offices and intelligent buildings requires convenient supplies of electricity. On a larger scale, electricity also provides the large amounts of energy needed for industry and transport, and for pumping public water and drainage systems. To give you a better basis for considering these matters this chapter explains the features of electricity supplies and their alternatives. The principles and options described in this chapter provide a useful basis for considering energy and environmental issues put forward in Chapter 14. The Resource 4 section also outlines the science of current electricity, magnetism and induction if you need to remind yourself of basic principles. In the 1830s, while working at the Royal Institution in London, Michael Faraday experimented with various electrical devices that led him to demonstrate and explain the principles and effects of electromagnetic induction. For example, if a magnet is moved near a wire or coil then an electric current appears in the wire, or is ‘induced’.
Randall McMullan

12. Water Supplies

Abstract
Living in a modern town or building, it is easy to forget that a fundamental factor when choosing a location to live is the availability of drinking water. Settlements are therefore traditionally established near a water supply, but at the same time they need to be dry and safe from the risk of flooding by water. The supply of water and the drainage of waste water is therefore a major design feature of our buildings and towns. Large financial and engineering investments are needed for the systems of collection, storage, treatment, distribution, and disposal of water. The pumping of water necessary in a supply system also requires significant amounts of energy. Humans need a small amount of essential drinking water, but much greater amounts are used for washing and waste disposal in homes, industry, and commerce. According to United Nations Human Development reports, the average daily consumption of water per person ranges from around 40 litres (Nigeria) to over 500 litres (USA); the figure for the United Kingdom being about 150 litres. The total supply of natural water in the earth is enormous and should be adequate for our needs, but local shortages do nonetheless occur, especially when droughts are combined with poor management of resources. Conservation of water used in buildings now plays an important part of strategies and codes for sustainable buildings. The water consumption in a high performance home should be less than 80 litres/person/day.
Randall McMullan

13. Waste Water

Abstract
Waste water or sewage is the material that we drain into the sewers and take away for treatment. In addition to the material flushed from toilets, waste water includes the material from other drains in houses, businesses and industries. Although sewage is usually over 99 per cent water, it also contains a variety of natural and synthetic materials that are damaging to health and the environment unless they are treated. The aim of waste water systems and sewage treatment is therefore to take the waste safely away from buildings, to convert it to materials that are not harmful, and to dispose of those materials safely. Traditional systems for waste water treatment are large and expensive, and create materials that require special disposal. It should be noted that some communities question the need for large-scale treatment systems and are seeking and implementing sustainable alternatives. The final sections outline some of the alternative options for the treatment of waste water. The Resource 5 section of this book has useful background information about the concepts, terms and principles of water technology which are relevant to water supplies for towns and buildings.
Randall McMullan

14. Green Buildings

Abstract
Environmental studies cover a wide range of topics and issues that involve worldwide research, government policies, academic courses and many related publications. This single chapter has to be modest and focus on linking the subject matter of this particular book about built environment topics to some of the wider topics of the total environment. The creation and improvement of buildings, townships and civil engineering projects such as transport systems do have long-lasting effects on the wider environment, in addition to their potential to improve our lives. This chapter suggests how the correct design and use of buildings can help them exist in harmony with our wider environment. This chapter also complements the introduction to the environment given in the first chapter of the book about the built environment. The Resource sections contain supporting information that can be used for revision of principles and extended investigation of topics. A fundamental reason for the existence of a building is to provide shelter from the effects of climate, such as the cold and the heat, the wind and the rain. The climate for a building is the set of environmental conditions which surround it and link to the inside of the building by means of heat transfer.
Randall McMullan

Resources

Frontmatter

Resource 1. Science Information

Abstract
Measurement is a major activity of science and technology. The result of measuring a physical quantity such as length is expressed as a number, followed by a unit. The number expresses the ratio of the measured quantity to some agreed standard or unit. Different systems of units have arisen over the years, including imperial and metric units. A rational and coherent version of the metric system has been developed, called the Système Internationale d’Unitès, or SI. SI units are intended for worldwide scientific, technical and legal use. The units in this book are given in SI and reference to older units is made where such units still linger in technical practice. There are seven base units in the SI system, two supplementary units, and numerous derived units, some of which are listed in the table of units. Derived units can be formed by combinations of base units; for example, the square metre. Some derived units are given new names; for example, the newton is a combination of the kilogram, the metre and the second; the pascal is a combination of the newton and the square metre.
Randall McMullan

Resource 2. Principles of Heat Resource

Abstract
The idea of work being done is connected with a wide range of different activities such as our body growing, or moving our body, or using a machine such as a car to move about. The Earth constantly receives energy from the Sun and this energy is used, for example, to grow plants and to drive the weather systems of the world. Potential energy is stored energy, such as being compressed in a spring, being at a height like water in a dam, or being stored in a chemical like food. Kinetic energy is energy of motion, such as the movement of objects, waves, electrons, and atoms. Table R2.1 lists different forms of energy and gives examples. All the forms of energy can also be classified as either potential energy or kinetic energy. For example, chemical energy can also be considered as a form of potential energy. It is a useful exercise for you to consider the other forms of energy listed in Table R2.1 and consider whether they are potential or kinetic energy. From earliest times people have understood the importance of the ‘hotness’ experienced when material is burned in a fire, but it is not so easy to understand and agree what heat is. Theories have included heat being defined as one of the four ‘elements’ of nature, and heat being considered as an invisible ‘caloric’ fluid.
Randall McMullan

Resource 3. Principles of Light and Sound

Abstract
Light is energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation. This energy is radiated by processes in the atomic structure of different materials and causes a wide range of effects. The different forms of electromagnetic radiation all share the same properties of transmission although they behave quite differently when they interact with matter. Light is that particular electromagnetic radiation which can be detected by the human sense of sight. The range of electromagnetic radiation to which the eye is sensitive is just a very narrow band in the total spectrum of electromagnetic emissions. The transmission of light energy can be described as a wave motion or as ‘packets’ of energy called photons. The two theories co-exist in modern physics and are used to explain different effects. The most convenient theory for everyday effects is that of electromagnetic wave motion. The energy resides in fluctuations of electric and magnetic fields, which travel as a transverse wave motion. The waves require no medium and can therefore travel through a vacuum. Different types of electromagnetic radiation have different wavelengths or frequencies.
Randall McMullan

Resource 4. Principles of Electricity

Abstract
Electricity involves changes at the atomic level of materials. An atom is the smallest part of matter that has a separate chemical existence. Atoms contain many smaller particles and among the forces that bind the sub-atomic particles together is an electric property called charge. There are two kinds of charges: positive (+) and negative (-). The forces between charges obey the following rules. There are three fundamental sub-atomic particles which help determine the nature of matter and give rise to electrical effects. The nucleus occupies a very small volume at the centre of the atom but contains all the protons and neutrons. Therefore, despite its small size, the nucleus contains nearly all the mass of an atom. The electrons can be considered as circulating in orbits around the nucleus, held in position by the opposing charge of the protons in the nucleus. An atom contains the same number of electrons as protons, so the positive and negative charges are balanced and the overall charge of an atom is zero. The electrons in the outer orbits are held by relatively weak forces, so outer orbits can sometimes lose or gain electrons.
Randall McMullan

Resource 5. Principles of Water Technology

Abstract
A fluid is a material whose particles are free to move their positions. Liquids and gases are both fluids and share common properties as fluids, although liquids and gases are also classed as different ‘states’ of matter. The sections on fluid properties that follow draw most examples from the flow of water in pipes, but it is useful to remember that the general principles described also explain other effects, such as the flow of air in ventilation ducts. The pressure on any surface is defined as the force acting at right angles on that surface divided by the area of the surface. An area which is submerged in a fluid, such as the base of a tank of water, experiences a pressure caused by the weight (which is a force) of water acting on the area of the base. For example, if an area A is submerged at depth h in a fluid, the force on that area is equal to the weight of the column of liquid or gas above the area. The pressure is then this weight divided by the area.
Randall McMullan

Resource 6. References

Abstract
The following signposts are useful starting points when looking for information. Most commercial providers of materials and equipment also have websites with technical information. Many sites, such as the professional body sites, also have links or ‘portals’ to other sites. Some of the Internet references will evolve and change so you should also try to build up your own set of reference sources. Newspapers, magazines, and journals list up-to-date links. Some of the references are links to standards or arrangements for a particular country, but they can also be useful in giving examples of good practice, for highlighting trends and for suggesting sources of information for your region. Note that government departments and agencies may change their name following reorganisations and their publications may continue to be listed under a previous name. Entering key words in an Internet search engine such as Google should quickly give you links.
Randall McMullan
Additional information