- Sandy Halliday, Gaia Research, Edinburgh, UK
Building and construction professionals; architects, developers, planners and students in the fields of building, construction, architecture, urban design/urban planning, sustainability.
- Published: December 2007
- Imprint: BUTTERWORTH HEINEMANN
- ISBN: 978-0-7506-6394-6
"Professor Sandy Halliday has created a great resource for construction professionals striving to understand the environmental consequences of the work they do and the materials they work with, and to find effective and economic ways to minimise or eliminate negative outcomes. Sustainable Construction has grown out of a training course for architects, clients, engineers and cost professionals on designing and delivering a sustainable built environment, and its practical application is apparent. Most of the chapters deal with specific engineering and management issues: heating, ventilation and cooling, plumbing, water and sewage, materials selection and construction processes, to name a few. Each chapter is punctuated by multiple case studies describing the implementation, including the varying degrees of success, of the methodologies discussed. The writing is engaging and accessible, and the photographs, diagrams and sidebars do much to further illuminate the text. It will therefore serve wonderfully well as a reference guide for highly technical specialities, but readers who skipped the introduction and opening chapters would miss the true beauty of this book. Prof. Halliday takes an overarching view of the subject of sustainability, pulling together the various threads of resource imbalance, historical awareness, political response and construction practice to arrive at a robust understanding of where we are, how we got here and what we could â and should â be doing about it. Thus the later, more technical chapters are comfortably located within a clear context of the nature of the problem and the pressing need for a solution. Having said that, this is no polemic. Assessments are clear-eyed and pragmatic, and where more conventional construction methodologies offer better value than whizz-bang hi-tech âgreenâ solutions, she does not hesitate to say so. Indeed one of the themes that I found most compelling was that of âecominimalismâ â the concept that more can often be accomplished with less, and that simple, often traditional solutions can be both better for the environment, and easier on the wallet, than high-maintenance, high-cost engineering. Sustainable Construction is a profoundly usable guide to building appropriately for the world we inhabit, so that it remains a renewing resource for future generations. Itâs also that rarest of things for a supposedly technical document: a truly inspiring piece of work." Stephanie Saulter, Project Manager, The Shoreditch Trust "There was a tradition in Scottish universities that the Professor lectured to first year students, working on the principle that deep knowledge and understanding of a subject is needed before it can be explained in simple terms to the un-initiated. In Sandy Hallidayâs new book she has produced the ideal text for such lectures â wise discussion and guidance on the principles of sustainable construction and a plethora of references for those who wish to follow up particular subjects in more detail. The book draws extensively on work, both research and practice, by the Gaia group and embodies the groupâs philosophy of keeping things simple â ââ¦real priority areas for attention are design fundamentals, not technical add-ons" But not over-simplified; âNo amount of energy efficiency, nor any other single-issue campaign will deliver sustainable developmentâ¦Over-simplification encourages one-dimensional solutions, short cuts, shallow questions and potentially bad lawsâ Having laid out her stall, Sandy covers the ground from the general to the particular, staring with chapters on sustainability drivers and policy and legislation, to more detailed topics - ventilation and cooling strategies and renewable technology - concluding with a discussion of urban ecology. This is a most attractively designed book profusely illustrated with case studies of a range of sustainable buildings, several by the Scottish and Norwegian branches of Gaia Architects. It is so attractive it could almost pass as a âcoffee table bookâ but is much more. The illustrations go back in time to some of the pioneers of eco-design; old favourites include Frank Lloyd Wrightâs 1945 solar hemicycle house, the unsung pioneer Emslie Morganâs 1961 solar heated Wallasey school, and the wonderfully ramshackle 1974 punk house in London by the âStreet Farmersâ. Unable to assimilate the whole book in the time available, I decided to focus attention on the chapter I knew least about, âventilation and cooling strategiesâ. As a result I understand a lot more than I did, but I found some mystifyingly obscure diagrams, which appeared to lack annotation, and I confess to being completely baffled by dessicant cooling, despite (or because of?) the diagram on p271. But the ârules of thumbâ at the end of each chapter are an excellent support for numerically lazy architects and help to reinforce the understanding of the principles involved. The book is full of quirky details. I liked the Scandinavian sounding âOlfâ the unit of personal pollution given off by âan average sedentary adult in thermal comfort with a hygiene standard of 0.7 baths/dayâ. Also the use of a wasps nest to illustrate moisture transfusive construction and Elvis the treadmill hamster, a renewable re-charger of mobile phones. This book should be read by every construction professional, and be on every studentâs reading list. It is the product of half a lifetimeâs work on sustainability, based on Gaiaâs eco-minimalist approach âthe most important factors in delivering sustainability are a clear understanding, high aspiration and constant vigilance.â If only more designers would follow that advice." Jim Johnson, Scottish Ecological Design Association (SEDA) magazine