You’ll learn how sustainable construction can benefit your business and how to implement sustainability into your construction project.
Few industries use more natural resources than construction does. With environmental problems like deforestation and global warming, it is time for construction companies to shift towards more sustainable practices. By implementing a few key concepts into your construction business or project, you’ll be well on your way to building sustainable structures and eliminating unnecessary waste.
In this article, you’ll learn what sustainable construction is, how it can benefit your business, and how to begin implementing sustainability into your construction project. It’s never too late to make a contribution to the environment. Let’s get started.
Understanding Sustainable Construction
Sustainable construction has one main goal: to minimize construction’s impact on the environment, both locally and globally. There are several ways to go about implementing sustainable construction, including using renewable resources, waste and energy reduction, making a healthy environment, and safeguarding it for future generations.
Sustainable construction is so important to the health of our planet because the construction industry is responsible for a large part of the damage done to the environment. Besides the obvious detriment to natural habitats and wildlife, the construction industry also uses a lot of energy resources and produces a large amount of harmful emissions. The big machines used in construction run on fossil fuels (gasoline, oil, natural gas, etc.) which when burned send tons of CO2 into our planet’s atmosphere. In fact, building and construction contribute to 39% of the world’s total carbon emissions.
Construction’s impact on the natural environment is further felt in the transportation of raw materials for building. Mining such building materials causes further degradation and pollution of local water supplies. Also, certain types of construction often produce hazardous waste that has to be disposed of properly. Disposing of such waste improperly can spell disaster for the local environment, harming the health and vitality of both the land and the people living on it.
Benefits of Sustainable Construction
There are significant financial and social advantages to using sustainability as it:
- Decreases Environmental Impact
By implementing sustainable construction methods you will lessen your business’s negative impact on the environment. Knowing that your building is made from sustainable materials in a harmonious way also contributes to your health and wellbeing.
- Reduces Maintenance Costs
When compared to traditional construction, green buildings (those built using sustainable construction methods) cost much less to operate and maintain. Since sustainable construction means better efficiency, it’s not surprising to find out that green buildings reduce cost. In fact, green buildings cut water, electricity, and gas expenses by up to thirty percent yearly.
- Reduces Waste Removal Costs
By reducing the amount of waste your organization produces, you will reduce the expenses you pay for waste removal and disposal. By using more fuel-efficient, hybrid, or electric vehicles in your business, you’ll save money on energy costs while at the same time reducing your carbon footprint.
- Elevates Your Organization’s Status
One of the most important but less tangible benefits of sustainable construction is reputation. By demonstrating that your company cares about the environment and community, your status will be elevated and your reputation increased. As you are known and recognized as an organization with high standards of corporate social responsibility, you will find opportunities for collaboration and growth.
3 Ways to Make Your Project Sustainable
There are many resources online where you can find out in detail how to make specific construction jobs more sustainable, like modern architecture blogs that preach sustainable design. There are also online courses available to take your sustainable construction plans to the next level. To make it easier for you, we’ve narrowed the information down into three key ways to make any construction project more sustainable.
1. Use Alternative Construction Materials
If you want to reduce waste in your construction project, one thing that will have a big impact is to use an alternative building material instead of concrete. Concrete contributes to almost half of all construction waste, with over 500 million tons wasted every year. According to a report by the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), over 560 million tons of construction and demolition waste were created in the U.S. in 2017 alone.
Alternative building materials like recycled plastic and hemp-based concrete are sustainable materials that are just as durable and long-lasting as concrete, with a much lower environmental impact.
2. Use Sustainable Methods
Prefabricated construction is another great way to improve sustainability by reducing waste. Prefab construction is a method of building the main parts of a structure at a separate site and then transporting them to the construction location. It’s a much more sustainable technique than traditional construction in place because the assembly process drastically reduces energy costs. It takes approximately 60% less energy to build and assemble a prefab building than a normal building structure.
3. Go Paperless
Traditionally, construction requires a lot of plans, paper blueprints with a specification of what to do and when. Not only does using paper blueprints contribute to deforestation, but when a construction company relies on paper plans there is a potential for much more costly mistakes. If plans change and the engineer is not informed, they might direct a concrete pour where there needn’t have been one, wasting energy and resources. You can avoid such mistakes by going paperless and purchasing construction management software. Such digital blueprints allow you to save unimaginable sums and update plans in real time, ensuring that all team members are up to date in the construction process.
With the construction industry being one of the main contributors to waste and environmental damage, your organization can make a real, tangible impact by choosing to be sustainable. Whether you’re planning to build an additional office or a ten-story apartment complex, sustainable construction will save you money overall costs. What’s more, your business will stand for something greater than just increasing profits, you’ll be contributing to a better future for your community and environment as a whole.