Sunday, September 27, 2009

Green Buildings and Structural Engineering

The main theme of the 33rd IABSE Symposium at Bangkok (Sept. 9-11, 2009) is "Sustainable Infrastructure." The International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineers (IABSE) recognizes the important role of structural engineers in ensuring sustainability in their creations to ensure that energy and natural resources are still available for the future generations.

The keynote lecture on "Green Buildings and Structural Engineering" by Gene Corley (USA) highlights how structural engineers can contribute to sustainability by following the LEED Green Building Rating System - a framework for asssessing building performance and meeting sustainability goals. A rating of 40 points will earn a building a LEED Certification. Structural engineers, in particular, can earn LEED points in the category of Materials and Resources and the following subcategories:

(a) Building reuse - instead of demolition, the building structure or shell is reused.

(b) Construction waste management - diverting construction and demolition waste from ladfill into other uses

(c) Materials reuse - a portion of the materials of the project must be salvaged or recycled

(d) Recycled content - use of materials with "recyled content"

(e) Regional materials - use of local materials will reduce transport and energy cost

Structural engineers should design building which are adaptable to provide for ease of alteration or amendment in use. Buildings which consists of elements that can easily be deconstructed are preferrable for possible reuse. By proper planning and efficient design and knowledgeable of sustainability concepts, green buildings can be successfully built.

The author (center) with Filipino engineers infront of the IABSE booth.

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