Sustainability Assessment of Buildings Indicators Leonardo Rodrigues

1. Introduction

In 1992 the United Nations declared sustainability as the guiding principle for the 21st century [1]. It all stems from the acclaimed report Our Common Future by the World Commission on Environment and Development, released in 1987 [2]. In it, several concerns regarding the future of mankind are discussed, including food security, species and ecosystem protection, poverty as well as energy, among others. Sustainable development, according to the report, is the idea of fulfilling the essential needs of all individuals while also providing them with the chance to improve their lives without hindering future generations’ ability to fulfill their own needs. The three pillars of sustainability are Environmental, Social and Economic (see Figure 1).

The evolution of sustainable development was paired with advancements in technology as well as political actions [3]. An important landmark is the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit, in which 27 principles for sustainable development were established [4]. Later, in 2002, the sustainability agenda was further pushed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development [5], where changes in consumption and production were recognized, as well as the eradication of poverty and the protection and maintenance of natural resources.

Since then, the globalization of sustainable development has been verified across several industries. Examples of such can be found in agriculture [6], energy storage [7], fuel production [8,9], supply chain management [10], chemistry [11], materials [12,13,14,15], water [16], and urban development [17,18], among others.

The Circular Economy has received attention and focus as a viable tool for sustainable development [19]. It helps establish connections between industries where residues can be used in a different process, generating economic value and contributing to the reduction of waste and consumption of materials [20]. The relationship between Circular Economy and sustainability has been studied by Geissdoerfer et al. [21], who found different types of relationships in the literature. Nevertheless, there is a beneficial relationship between both topics.

Buildings and construction have been …


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