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Buildings give rise to pollution in different forms e.g. air, water, noise, light, during construction and operation. The prinicples to apply to manage pollution are:

  • Prevent or reduce pollution at source.
  • Treat unpreventable pollution in an environmentally safe manner.
  • Undertake disposal of pollutants as a last resort and in an environmentally safe manner.

The key air pollutants from buildings during operation are; nitrous oxides, sulphur dioxide and particulates from energy generating plant and hydrofluorocarbons used as refrigerants, blowing agents for insulation and firefighting agents.

To control emissions from fluorinated gases (F-gases), including hydrofluorcarbons (HFCs), the European Union has adopted a new Regulation applying from 1 January 2015 which strengthens existing measures by:

  • Limiting the most important F-gases that can be sold in the EU from 2015 onwards and phasing them down in steps to one-fifth of 2014 sales in 2030. 
  • Banning the use of F-gases in many new types of equipment where less harmful alternatives are widely available, such as fridges in homes or supermarkets, air conditioning and foams and aerosols. 
  • Preventing emissions of F-gases from existing equipment by requiring checks, proper servicing and recovery of the gases at the end of the equipment's life.

Further guidance includes: