Housing and Society: Need for Progressive Sustainability Indicators for Societal Sustainability

Thakore, Renuka, Goulding, Jack Steven and Benuzh, Andrey (2013) Housing and Society: Need for Progressive Sustainability Indicators for Societal Sustainability. In: AEI 2013 Proceedings: Building Solutions for Architectural Engineering. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), pp. 877-890. ISBN 978-0-7844-1290-9

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/9780784412909.086


The current consumption pattern of natural resources is unsustainable. The industrial society is following the trend of overconsumption which has clearly led to depletion of natural resources and climate change. The real challenge is to provide a higher "quality of life" with limited "biocapacity" of the earth system. The UK government have implemented effective strategies and policies for sustainable development which include: transition towards a low carbon economy; establishment of a legal framework for adaptation of climate change; and place obligations on the generators to increase energy efficiency measures. Eventually, a national standard for sustainable housing, the "Code for Sustainable Homes"; and an innovative programme to make existing houses more energy efficient, the "Green Deal" has been launched. Accredited "sustainable houses" are looked upon to play a significant role in transition towards sustainability. The socio-technical sustainable transition include processes such as nurturing "niche" products in protected spaces; `farming' niches to build resource capacity; and finally translating niches into a sustainable socio-technical regime. Successful `experimental projects' for sustainable housing have already contributed towards the development of innovative technologies; and produced supporting actors with need expertise. However, consumers being the main decision maker and ultimate administrator of the `operational' phase of these projects' life cycles, the success of the projects would finally lie in the way they adopt the technologies and contribute in farming niches for sustainable housing regime. The paper examines the challenges faced in mainstreaming housing sustainability. It discusses sustainable housing, rating systems and sustainability indicators used in assessing housing sustainability with exemplar "the Code for Sustainable Homes" and the "Green Deal" programme in UK. The quality analysis of the extant literature explores transition processes involved in mainstreaming sustainable housing and identifies a number of barriers in the process of absolute transmission to sustainable housing regime. The paper concludes with several suggestions for farming characterised niches required for driving societal sustainability in UK.

Read More: http://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/9780784412909.086

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