This week is the third and final installment of our three part series on environmental cycles and how construction and building development impacts on those cycles.

The Nitrogen cycle.

Nitrogen is essential for the production of skin and muscle (among other important things) within the body. Nitrogen is found in the atmosphere and is broken down by lightning or nitrogen fixing bacteria (found in the soil and within algae in water). The nitrogen fixing bacteria is absorbed by plants which in turn are eaten by animals . Animals (including humans) acquire all of their amino acids, which in turn forms protein used for skin and muscle growth from plants or other animals.

Nitrogen returns to the soil as animal waste or decomposition and becomes ammonia. The toxic ammonia is then broken down by bacteria and converted to nitrate which is absorbed by plants and the cycle continues.

The final stage of the nitrogen cycle is the return of nitrogen to the atmosphere. There are additional denitrifying bacteria in the soil and water that processes the ammonia and converts a portion of it into nitrogen gas.

As stated above the removal of soil or the fill of water bodies and as a consequence the removal of bacteria and plants from an area has major effects on the natural eco-cycle in the area.

The Sulphur cycle.

Similar to each of the other cycles sulphur is transported around the earths atmosphere and ground by wind, rain, erosion, volcanic eruptions etc. Sulphur is found in many different forms including sulphur dioxide, elemental sulphur, sulphuric acid, and amino acids in our body.

Sulphur is used by plants and animals in the production of protein, enzymes and vitamins.

Human impact on the sulphur cycle is primarily in the production of sulphur dioxide from industry (e.g. burning coal) and internal combustion engines. The development of land in the form of City’s and Industrial areas causes the release of excess sulphur into the atmosphere which creates acid rain and excess runoff of sulphur contaminated watse into the rivers and oceans, which then effects the food chain.

The Hydrological cycle.

Water turns to gas and enters the atmosphere with the aid of the sun via condensation and transpiration. Gravity then forces the water to return to the ground once the water condenses back into a liquid. Gravity also forces this water to the lowest points on the earth (oceans) where the sun once again causes evaporation.

Water is also digested by plans and animals where water is once again turned into a gas via evaporation from the body’s surface and from the organs (lungs).

The building of dams to service development and the removal of natural fauna affects all of the eco-cycles including the water cycle.

The Energy cycle.

All energy cycles on the earth ultimately start from the sun. Energy is transferred among and between plants and animals in a series of steps starting with photosynthesis. Photosynthesis takes place when plants use sunlight in order to produce sugars. These sugars can than be used by the plant as food, in order to sustain the functions of life.


Ultimately all building development has a negative impact on eco-cycles, building and development designers must be mindful of the fact that the earth does not have unlimited recourses or the ability to cope with the growing environmental pressure and take appropriate responsible action accordingly.

Our invaluable technical advice and inspections before, during and after construction will help to ensure that any building project you undertake complies with regulations, minimises the environmental impact and is as economically efficient as possible. This will comply with building regulations but we also think it’s the right thing to do too.

So, if you need advice on how to make your building project more energy efficient or how to make it impact less on our environment, get in touch to discuss your project. With a free and competitive quote, you really can’t afford not to.

Due to constantly evolving legislation the information provided within this blog may no longer be valid. The advice given on this site is general in nature and does not take into account your specific circumstances. Please email one of our building surveyors to check what is right for you.

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