Habitat for Humanity: Making Sustainability Accessible
Constructing simple, durable, sustainable houses at the lowest possible cost
Habitat for Humanity wants to rid the world of inadequate housing an d homelessness! And, in doing so, they are committed to sustainability.
The global non-governmental, non-profit organization that’s headquartered in Americus, Georgia, has built and rehabilitated over 400,000 homes since it was founded in 1976. Habitat reaches out to those who can’t afford a house on the standard market and the beneficiaries of the Habitat program collaborate with volunteers to build or rehabilitate a home.
Habitat for Humanity’s mission to construct affordable homes involves a commitment to sustainability. Through material donations and monetary contributions, it is able to construct simple, durable, and sustainable houses at the lowest possible cost.
To reduce the monthly and life cycle cost of one of their house projects, Habitat for Humanity promotes energy efficiency by using good insulation, overhangs to block the sun, and windows that don’t conduct heat into the home. It seeks green materials that are close in price to their traditional counterparts as possible, like heating water using the energy from rooftop solar collectors. The group’s commitment transcends the house itself. Habitat also educates construction workers and contractors on their project sites and it provides the new homeowners with informational materials that help ensure new homes maintain clean indoor air quality and energy efficiency.
The Climate Change Bill of 2007 sets challenging targets for carbon reductions across the UK. Clearly, buildings would need to deliver significant reductions as part of this overall target.
The publication of the Code for Sustainable Homes set out targets to achieve radical emissions reductions from new homes. This project was commissioned to add to the understanding of whether similar targets in the non-domestic sector can be set and achieved and on what timescale.
The complexity and scale of this task required an industry-wide analysis. The UK-GBC is an industry-led, independent, not for profit, membership-based organisation made up of world class engineering practices, architects, project and cost management consultants, developers, NGOs and many others including leading academia, and was considered the best organisation to undertake the research.
In tackling the task the UK-GBC endeavoured to answer the following questions:
1. What is total energy use in non-domestic buildings?
2. Is it feasible to reduce the carbon emissions resulting from this energy use down to zero?
3. What would be the estimated cost of these carbon emissions reductions?
4. Over what timescale could zero carbon new non-domestic buildings be achieved?
In order to answer these questions the project was broken down into a number of sections as detailed below in Section 1: Approach and Structure.
We spoke yesterday about identifying dry rot and the effects it has on a property. Today will turn out focus onto wet rot and understanding a little more about it.
Wet rot starts initially from moisture. This Moisture may come from roof leaks, condensation, penetrating damp or plumbing leaks, but without it no decay can begin. Moisture content is critical in the germination and development of the fungi.Wet rot treatment liverpool
Strands that look like black ferns can be seen on the surface but do not spread to the adjoining timber but instead confined to the damp area. Some wet rots may result in bleaching of the wood; these are more common in doors and window frames. Commonly joists can be affected by wet rot and this may result in the supporting masonry on the ends of joists becoming damp (either by rising damp or penetrating dampness) thereby transferring moisture to the floor joists.
It is essential to identify the type of damp correctly so before any treatment is carried out, a surveyor will conduct a thorough inspection to assess the extent of the wet rot, and will decide whether there is a need for chemical treatment. Wet rot can be successfully treated following a detailed inspection by an experienced surveyor in remedial treatments.
The best way to avoid wet rot is to prevent the water gettting at the wood in the first place. Wet rot is the common name given to all wood rotting fungi other than the true dry rot fungus. If the wet rot is only affecting a small area then you can cut it away and replace it with new wood. The good thing about wet rot is that unlike dry rot, the fungus does not spread along the wood and will confine itself to the wet areas only.