Self Sustaining Building
Self Sustaining Building

Self-sustaining building - What is self-sustaining building?

Self-sustaining building can be considered in three parts:


  1. The practice of design and construction with sourcing of sustainable materials and products for the life of the building plus end of life re-use.
  2. The management of the building itself - its operation, maintenance and upgrade 
  3. The sustainable, healthy and comfortable lifestyle achieved within the building and external to the building for its location.


Implicit in the above is achieving the best:


  • affordability
  • performance and
  • environmental plus health impacts.


Self-Sustaining buildings requires considerations and adherence to eco-efficient, Nature based Solutions (NbS) plus Whole Life Carbon principles to achieve the above.

For details of SSB fundamentals - see Framework and Rationale


For some examples of SSB projects

Self-sustaining buildings benefits

  • Ideally SSB buildings are independent of external energy and water supplies, costly waste management services and wastewater drainage
  • Offer the same standards of services as is expected of any normal developed country building
  • Have low to zero environmental impact across the life of the building including its disposal.

Adopting Self Sustaining Building Practices provides an immediate and substantial improvement from many impacts and demands on the environment including avoidance of polluting emissions. 


Summary of the significant benefits:

  • Protection of the environment through reduction in the life-cycle impacts of building materials, products and technologies used. This is from material supply to construction plus running of the building including maintenance and disposal of the building.
  • Reduction in climate change emissions and behaviours.  Buildings can cause up to 50% of carbon and greenhouse gas emissions along with many other toxic pollutants.
  • Improved access to essential needs for water, waste and energy supply and management.
  • Less concern over energy security.
  • Better use of traditional architecture, materials and methods of construction creating improved comfort levels, healthier lifestyles, sustainable industries and jobs.
  • More affordable building through use of cost reduction technologies and practices.
  • Reduction in location and weather risks to counter extreme events (examples, flooding, and overheating)
  • Best design and build considerations for integrated Built, Natural Environment and Transportation requirements.

The constraints to adoption are neither technical nor economic but institutional and organisational plus application of  'joined-up' knowledge and expertise. 


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