Portfolio 2 Essay Example

7Portfolio on Environmental Sustainability Design

Portfolio on Environmental Sustainability Design

Portfolio on Environmental Sustainability Design


In the advent of global warming phenomenon, there has been reinforcement on the significance of designing the green building in a bid to lower the level of energy consumption for the existing building. The planet is under that stress from various human activities; as a result, sustainable approach to the design and construction is required. From the habitat destruction to overexploitation of the resources, the built environment has a direct and immediate impact across the globe. For most organizations, sustainable design is not just about moral decision but critical aspect of the business. With the knowledge I acquired on sustainable design, I intend to assist the clients with various green services related to the building, infrastructure, industry, energy, and the environment. Moreover, environmentally sustainable design and construction involve building with appropriate designs and sustainable materials within the right locations while ensuring the buildings are efficient to run and pleasant to occupy (Rattanongphisat & Rordprapat, 2014, 14). Sustainability also extends to the Whole of Life consideration through consideration of the environmental impact during the design stage such as maintenance, durability, building siting, management of wastes and resources, and energy efficiency.

The efficacy of double-glazing

Double glazing is a method of creating an insulating layer either through the normal air or special heavy gasses between the panes. As a result, it lets in much light just like the single glazed window; however, it is better at holding in heat. Although the double-glazing is standard in most of the newly constructed buildings, it is worth the installation within the existing homes while undertaking substantial repairs or replacing the windows. There are several benefits associated with double-glazing the window: they have the ability of halving the heat loss through the windows; can significantly enhance the thermal comfort of the home; reduce external noises; and reduction or removal of the condensation in building the cold weather. To ensure the efficacy of double-glazing, it is vital to use frames with the thermal break, which include using the frames with resin section in the middle from the insulating material such as uPVC (Energywise, 2016). Such combination attract condensation leading to loss of less heat compare to standard aluminium frames which reduce heat loss by 20% compared to uPVC’s 40%. The double glazed glasses should also have low-emissivity (low-E) glass, which allows low light and heat but reflects the escaping light inside the room. Moreover, multiple layers of good seals, filling with inert gases, spacers made with plastic, and utilization of the ENERGY STAR qualified windows are important for efficacy. Multiple layers assist in keeping out the moisture, draughts, and noise. Inert gases are better insulators compared to gases as they reduce heat loss 30% to 9% compared to double glazed windows with air.

The use of radiant barriers in building construction

Radiant barriers have many uses. While constructing new homes, it could be draft over the rafters before the application of the roof decking or stapling to the rafters. While there is emphasis on sustainable building construction, insulation system play vital role in controlling loss or gain of heat which have direct impact on the energy requirement of the building. Although there are many insulation materials, there are new concepts within the market for the building applications. Building often require
substantial amount of energy in heating and cooling the interior spaces. Heating and cooling costs directly relates to the much heat gained or lost through sustainable exterior. The amount of heat gained or lost through the roofs account for 20-30% of the total heat transfer through the envelope of the building. Generally, radiant barriers are a sheet of aluminium material resembling aluminium foil (Holladay, 2015). Moreover, the radiant barrier could be perforated in allowing the passage of moisture; therefore, the materials do not act as vapour barrier. For sustainability, the commonly used radiant barrier is roof sheathing which involves using plywood with a radiant barrier on one side with the panels installed over the unconditional attics while the shiny part facing down. However, the radiant barrier roof sheathing makes sense within the hot-climatic homes with the HVAC equipment. The radiant barriers have low emissivity (0.1 or less). Although the radiant barriers have no R-value, it could assist in boosting the R-value of the adjacent air spaces.

The definitions of humidity

Humidity control systems play vital role in addition or removal of water vapour from the indoor air for adequate humidity ranges. The significances of controlling humidity include being a large factor the thermal comfort of people, excess moisture could lead to mold and mildew that causes problems in the indoor air quality, and being the largest energy user. For sustainability, psychometric charts could assist in plotting the absolute and relative humidity data with the temperature of the area to understand the amount of temperature that requires control. To keep humidity within the required range to present too much consumption of the energy, the buildings should have thermostats with humidity sensors within them.

Without such thermostats, the design could specify the hygrometer systems that could control the humidifiers and dehumidifiers separately from the systems of the HVAC (Authority of Sustainable Building, 2015). In a typical dehumidification, the process is carried out by the systems using the basic principles of mechanics. The building design needs to allow various mechanisms of controlling humidity such ensuring there is passive ventilation through opening the windows for the cross ventilation; removal of the moisture at the source through using the fan as mechanical dehumidifiers and venting the dryer to the outside and using only the externally vented gas heaters. Moreover, the designs could as allow rising of the indoor temperatures through heating and insulation considering that warmer temperatures relates to the lower relative humidity (Subic, 2007, 111). However, to control the moisture from the spaces under the floor from getting within the building and increasing the levels of internal moisture, the design could ensure good ventilation under the suspended timber floor through ensuring clear opening of the 3500 mm2 per square metre of the floor area. Moreover, there is need to cover the ground with the vapour barriers including the polythene sheet in areas with high ground water content while building.

The art of writing reports and giving presentations

Some of the engineering designs are the major factors leading to unsustainable structures in most cities considering that the methods used do involve monitoring and adjustment of the developed plan based to suit the environmental conditions. To solve some of the engineering problems, the engineers need to follow a series of steps: engineering design process. There are several Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering (EIE) used by different engineers; however, considering the complexity and limited coverage of the methods, the engineers often present building designs, which do not integrate the concept of sustainability. To improve on engineering design sustainability, I would use a simple engineering design process to avert some of the design challenges and ensure adequate integration of the sustainability issues. The methods integrate various steps including “improve, ask, imagine, plan, and create” as a cycle (Engineering is Elementary, 2016). In every step, there are a series of questions to ensure coverage of all aspects of sustainability. Ask involves defining the sustainability problem, focusing on the manner in which other engineers have approached the issue, and the major constraints associated with the problem. At the imagine stage, there is definition of the solutions, brainstorming the idea, and choosing the most appropriate sustainable idea that suits the situation in question. At the planning stage, there is need to draw the designs while making the list of the needed materials that ensure adequate integration of sustainability issues. Create stage involves following the plan and creation of the design. However, the creation stage requires testing of the design to ensure proper integration of the various sustainability factors. At the improve stage, there is need to find out what works, what does not, and establish the activities that could work better. Therefore, there is need to make adjustment on the design to ensure better performance.


In most engineering designs and the force behind refinement and various design methods have always been economic considerations. The engineers are the interface between sciences, technology, and business. In the advent of sustainable development, there is need to incorporate environmental consideration into various engineering designs. The report found that double glazing play vital role in the creation of the insulating layer between the glass panes; as a result, it assist in halving the heat loss through the windows, improve the thermal comfort of the home, reduce external noise, and remove or reduce the level condensation that build up during the cold weather. Radiant energy also play
vital role in reducing the residential energy use as it facilitates reduction in the level of heat loss or gain. Most engineering designs do not integrate sustainability concept. With the “improve, ask, imagine, plan, and create,” it is clear that would reduction in inefficiencies associated with environmental sustainability designs.


Retrieved October 23, 2016, from http://www.level.org.nz/passive-design/controlling-indoor-air-quality/humidity-and-condensation/Humidity and condensation in a building — How to control it.Authority of Sustainable Building. (2015, October 8).

Energywise. (2016, June 23). Double glazing windows insulation — Energywise. Retrieved October 23, 2016, from https://www.energywise.govt.nz/at-home/windows/double-glazing/

Engineering is Elementary. (2016). The Engineering Design Process. Retrieved October 23, 2016, from http://www.eie.org/overview/engineering-design-process

Holladay, M. (2015, September 24). Radiant Barriers: A Solution in Search of a Problem | GreenBuildingAdvisor.com. Retrieved October 23, 2016, from http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/radiant-barriers-solution-search-problem

, 10-17. 52, Energy ProcediaRattanongphisat, W., & Rordprapat, W. (2014). Strategy for Energy Efficient Buildings in Tropical Climate.

(2), 111-113. 32
,European Journal of Engineering EducationEditorial: Sustainable design and innovation in engineering education. Subic, A. (2007).