Environmental impact of a housing estate Essay

Environmental impact of a housing estate Essay

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Although residential buildings are considered by many as being beneficial for the well being of society, they have an extreme environmental footprint. The housing sector is one of the highest contributors to the degradation of the environment and the excessive global average consumption rate of energy, whether it be from electricity or from natural resources (Marshall & Shortle, 2005). In this assignment I will be discussing the energy and material inputs, and the waste outputs of such housing estates throughout their life cycle, and how these may have a direct or indirect impact on the environment.
There are a number of phases throughout the life cycle of a housing estate which determine the extent of its effects on the natural environment. The first step, which may have the most severe consequences, is the site location of the estate. Landscapes are generally rich in different types of interdependent ecosystems containing habitats for different species. However, in order for the houses to be constructed, land masses are required. Some times these natural lands, providing essential ecosystem services, give way to commencing development of the housing estate structure. Construction may also take place directly next or close by to such areas which are ecologically sensitive and have productive bio-diversities (Figure 1). These result in damaged or totally destroyed indigenous habitats while leaving the ones that remain fragmented (Figure 2). Species which are native to the destroyed environment will not be capable of surviving. Also, since the corridors between interconnected ecosystems would be lost, due to fragmentation, the species and the processes between ecosystems will eventually disappear, especially if non-indigenous or...

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...that can’t be recycled will end up in a landfill (Figure 6). According to Emmanuel (2004) construction and demolition waste accounts “for about 29% of overall landfill volumes in the USA, more than 50% in UK and up to 30% in Australia” and can have consequences. Solid waste which is treated incorrectly can clog drain systems and contaminate groundwater at engineered landfills.
So it can be concluded that with proper planning and maintenance a housing estate can be increasingly environmentally friendly and energy efficient thus reducing the impact on the natural environment. The occupants must also be willing to invest in sustainable principles such as waste recycling, proper insulation and renewable sources of energy. The degradation of the environment will eventually impact the occupants as the house would not be capable of providing a comfortable environment.

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