Sustainable Construction – What Does it Look Like?
It is a fairly well-known fact that the construction industry is one of the more dangerous industries for the environment, as it uses a lot of natural resources in order to get the job done. The bigger the job, the larger the usage of resources and production of waste, typically. Due to this, many construction companies are trying to change the way they do things in order to be more eco-friendly. They are implementing what is known as sustainable construction.
Take a look below to learn more about sustainable construction methods and some of its benefits for the environment, as well as the sustainable construction projects itself and the workers, too!
- Sustainable Construction – What Does it Look Like?
- What Is Sustainable Construction?
- Why Is Sustainable Construction Important?
- Challenges of Sustainable Construction
- Looking For Sustainable Construction – Look to Seko in these areas
- Fort McMurray
- Benefits of Sustainable Construction
- Sustainable Construction Methods
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Sustainable Construction?
What, exactly, is sustainable construction in the first place? Sustainable construction is a method of construction that aims to downplay and reduce the impact that the construction industry has on the planet. This is especially important because the construction industry does have a great impact on the environment already, especially when sustainable construction ideas are not in use. Some of the ways to incorporate sustainable construction practices is done is by using eco-friendly and renewable resources or reducing the on-site waste that is produced. Sustainable construction focuses on improving upon the building design, sustainable building materials, concerns of utility, economy, durability, and comfort.
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Why Is Sustainable Construction Important?
Now that you know what sustainable construction is, you probably have a clue as to why this is so important. As was mentioned previously, the construction industry is one that has a large impact on the environment, due to the energy usage involved and the waste that is produced. Sustainable construction can help greatly reduce these effects. It can help to reduce carbon emissions, as well as reduce the waste produced and the toxins that are present at the job site. The reduction of waste and toxins can even be beneficial to the workers and their health, too!
Challenges of Sustainable Construction
Of course, there are some challenges of sustainable construction methods, too, that it is important to consider. This is why it is crucial that your architect or project manager is familiar with these challenges and is able to troubleshoot them properly or plan accordingly so that they are not issues at all.
One of the biggest challenges is that it is often difficult to adapt sustainable building methods to your company or job site. It is very rarely an overnight process. The attitude of the client that the building is for, as well as the budget, will be two of the biggest challenges or constraints for implementing sustainable construction methods. For instance, if the client is not on board with some of the methods you would like to implement, and would rather do things in an easier, but more wasteful, way, it could be difficult for you to get them on board with more sustainable methods.
Another issue could be that there is often pressure in construction to get the cost down even more. However, some of the sustainable construction methods that you may want to implement could end up being a bit more expensive. It is always a fine line to cross, and affordability can become a big concern for sustainable construction when trying to get other parties on board with what you are trying to do.
However, at the end of the day, green buildings are also worth 7% more than traditional buildings. These days, many clients will also want sustainably designed and built structures because they do see the value in it!
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Benefits of Sustainable Construction
There are plenty of benefits to sustainable construction! We will go into further depth on the many advantages of sustainable construction below. Read on to learn more.
Many of the building materials that are used, especially for commercial jobs, can lead to a lot of waste. However, sustainable materials chosen with sustainable construction in mind are able to be recycled, creating less waste. Some of these materials include coal combustion products and demolition debris. Landscaping on a site can also be designed to prevent waste, prevent pollution, and preserve natural resources.
Improved Air and Water Quality
Sustainable construction also involves ventilation and moisture. Sustainable building is concerned with ensuring the proper ventilation in a space, as well as moisture control. It also avoids using materials that have high Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOC emissions, for short. This can help to improve the air quality indoors. Waste management methods are put into place that prevents polluted water from entering water sources near the job site, too.
Conserved Natural Resources
We know that sustainable building operates to use– and reuse– materials in the smartest and most productive ways, while still being the most eco-friendly ways to do so, too, of course. Using environmentally friendly sustainable materials helps to minimize certain environmental impacts, such as global warming and resource depletion. This is because sustainable construction does not waste natural resources when possible.
The price of implementing certain sustainable construction methods is often a concern when trying to get people on board. However, a green building can often cost less than a normal building! This is because a sustainably designed building requires fewer resources to complete. These resources could include but are not necessarily limited to, water and energy. Less waste is produced here, too, which also means that disposal costs will be lower than they would be otherwise.
Green buildings are often more profitable. This is because green building practices are an emerging market, and it produces a better ROI on sustainable building projects. This is because, with the attention that eco-friendly movements are now getting, consumers want to live in green apartment blocks, stay in green hotels, and shop at green businesses. These buildings also have lower operating costs, so they will save money over time.
Many sustainable building practices are also more efficient. They can reduce the amount of work that is done on-site, which can help to reduce the amount of time and work done on the actual site– completing the building project faster. When materials are put together or built off-site in climate-controlled environments, this helps increase efficiency. This particular method is known as modular building.
Another great thing about buildings that are built with sustainable construction in mind is that they are made with less waste and fewer toxins. This can improve the health of the workers who are constructing the building, as well as those who may work in the building once it is set up for commercial use. Those living in the building, as in the case of apartments or hotels, will also have a healthier living environment.
Better Quality of Life
Sustainable construction utilizes safer building materials, better noise protection, and increased productivity. This helps to improve the quality of life of the building as well as those working to put the building together.
Minimize Strain on Local Infrastructure
Sustainably designed buildings do not need to use as many resources. This is great because it puts less of a strain on the local infrastructure, reducing the impact on the local water, energy, and waste agencies that are near to the location you are building at.
Sustainable Construction Methods
There are many different methods and sustainable practices that you can implement to make your construction more sustainable and reduce your carbon footprint. These largely focus on building materials, as the materials being used are one of the ways that you are best able to affect the sustainability– or lack thereof– of the construction site. One of the ways that you can do this is to implement as many green building materials as you can into the structure. These could be low flow toilets, passive solar power, or bamboo flooring. All of these are easy features to incorporate– it does not always have to be something extreme, like smart glass or a totally self-powered building. Wood products which are salvaged, reclaimed, or sustainably or locally harvested can all be better material options.
Prefabricated materials are another way that you can ensure that your site is more sustainable. If materials are manufactured in a factory before being brought to the job site, they produce less waste. Any extra materials that are found during this process, for instance, can be recycled and reused, so they are not going to waste. Pre-fabricated materials save time, too, because they come ready to assemble on the job! They are cut more precisely and can cut down on warping issues that could occur due to cold or hot temperatures.
When it comes to ordering materials, you should avoid over-ordering to avoid having an excess of materials or waste later on, or at the end of the job. Only order what you need. Extra resources should only be added onto the job when needed, or when it is required to meet the completion date. Avoid overcompensating when it comes to extra labour or materials unless this is explicitly required to meet the contract or previous expectations.
There are also some changes that can be made in the office and on the back end of things. You should try to go paperless and ditch paper processes, which can also help you be more eco-friendly. This will make a huge difference because the construction industry is one of the fields that is least digitized. Try to go paperless for payroll, scheduling, and planning– as well as for reports or proposals. All of this wastes a lot of paper, ink, and toner– and even the electricity it takes to power the printer that is being used.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is meant by sustainability in construction?
Sustainability in construction refers to building with renewable and recyclable resources or materials. Those in charge of– or working on– a sustainable construction project might also take certain measures to build more sustainably and ensure that the practices being used are sustainable, too. For instance, being conscious of energy consumption and waste management, as well as the amount of waste created on the site, should be considered for sustainability efforts.
What is the most sustainable construction method?
There are a few different methods that can be considered the most sustainable construction method. Some of these may still be under development as sustainable construction and design become more important. For instance, green roofs are considered to be a particularly sustainable and eco-friendly design feature. It is largely said that the best way to make a construction process or budding sustainable is through the materials being used. One such way is by using 3-D printing technology. This technology is becoming more popular in many industries. In construction, it can be used to 3-D print structural elements for a building.
What is the goal of sustainable construction?
Sustainable construction is when a structure is built with renewable, recyclable, or otherwise environmentally friendly materials. It can also expand to cover the processes that are being implemented on the job site– these should be sustainably designed as well! For instance, one sustainable consideration here is reducing the energy embodied in building materials. The overarching purpose of sustainable construction is to reduce the impact on the environment that the construction industry. Construction can create a lot of waste, and can also use fuels and energy to complete projects, among other things. Construction firms should focus on sustainability efforts and adopt sustainable practices by using renewable materials, recycled materials and renewable energy.
What are the benefits of sustainable construction?
Sustainable construction does have several great benefits, both to the job site and employees and to the environment! For instance, sustainable construction often helps to reduce the cost of the project, as sustainable construction usually involves working smarter. It also means that the buildings are being constructed with fewer toxins and less waste– this is, of course, better for the environment, but it can be good for the workers, too, as they may be exposed to fewer dangerous materials. Sustainably built buildings have less of an impact on the local water, energy, and waste agencies because they do not use as many resources.