Since the acknowledgement of global warming and climate change attributed to unrestrained economic growth and the depletion of natural resources worldwide, government agencies found the need to regulate the world wide consumption of natural resources and ensure that the environment would be secure and healthy for future generations.
Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
By the end of the 20th century various initiatives were formed and legislation was passed which would, as stated by the Brundtland Report (1987) ensure that we could “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
In Australia this meant the creation of legislation and legislative bodies such as the “Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act” in 1999 (ECBC Act) and “Australia’s National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development” (1992) which set out goals to improve the ecological conditions of the country by balancing the societal, economic and environmental requirements of the nation.
Ecologically Sustainable Development
Playing a major role in this process, architectural and building industries developed various regulatory processes and requirements (such as BASIX and BESS) which specified the limit of any one building’s impact on the environment (Carbon Footprint) and their required thermal performance. This saw the emergence of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) through which the building industry could regulate and encourage sustainable building practices.
Presently ESD seeks to encourage the use of responsibly sourced materials and architectural design decisions which respond uniquely to their site and climate, through which passive heating and cooling can be achieved and thus significantly reducing a building’s energy needs reducing its impact on the environment.
Conservation of our community's resources
ESD seeks to contribute to the improvement of the environment of Australia by considering the environment in which buildings are located, through the responsibilisation of all people involved in the design process and ensuring that through the use, conservation and enhancement of community's resources in a responsible and considered way an “ecological process, on which life depends,” can be maintained improving the “total quality of life, now and in the future”.