In the last few years, almost all industries have been looking at and implementing a more sustainable way of conducting business. One of the most surprising industries making some of the biggest and most positive impacts in the construction industry.
What Is Sustainability in the Construction Industry?
One of the overarching goals of sustainable building and construction is to build projects that positively impact both the environment and society. A key feature of that is using recyclable and renewable energy resources.
Why Does Sustainability in Construction Matter?
As one of the biggest industries, the construction industry was a huge energy consumer in previous years and often left a lot of waste products. As well as using materials that couldn’t be repurposed or were harmful to health and the environment.
With sustainable principles in place, there is less waste, a reduction in the impact on the environment and a reduced impact over time. By implementing things like energy-efficient materials, sustainable engineering practices, better on-sitechoices, and training, the impact can be heavily reduced and the cost.
So What Are the Basics That Make a Project Sustainable?
One of the key basics of creating a sustainable building or construction project is ensuring that the materials selected are recycled from local sources. Recycled materials typically come with some assurances of where they are from and that they are approved.
Construction sites can be a huge source of waste, which is why site management is one of the fundamentals of having a suitable building project. Dumping unused items, not disposing of materials correctly, and chemicals leaking into the area – or leaving the area via the bottoms of shoes or truck tires are also an issue.
A higher level of care and consideration for appropriate disposal of waste materials and worker safety can hugely reduce these issues.
As well as disposing of food wrappers and cigarette butts and using recycling containers for uneaten food reduce the site impact.
One of the biggest and most positive impacts of sustainable building has come from prefabricated parts and whole buildings in a controlled environment. Creating parts using exact measurements and delivering them to the site has decreased the large amount of waste typical to a construction site.
Due to how the parts are constructed, there is menial waste; it is more time-efficient and offers a healthier environment where dust and debris can be managed in a better way.
Using materials that are recyclable on site has seen one of the biggest decreases in one-site waste. Combined with more sophisticated recycling options within the industry and in most municipalities, recycling waste products has become easier – and cheaper.
Often materials like concrete can be crushed on-site when required and used in another area of the build.
Reduced Energy Consumption
A leaner construction mindset has to lead to some high impact changes within the construction industry. With the focus on reducing waste, other problem areas were highlighted.
Modifying tasks like shovelling, moving bricks, cleaning, and arranging tools make the project more efficient in terms of labour time. This, in turn, uses a significantly less amount of time to complete each part of the process.
Water conservation and water efficiency are two significant factors in sustainable building. Water conservation means using less water each day on the site, and the efficiency is to use the water in the most efficient way to reduce water waste.
This is both within the construction project and in the building once completed. Effective plumbing design and careful planning for the duration of the construction project are two key drivers in reducing water usage.
With the improvement and implementation of technology in the construction industry like VR, AR, drones, and AI running multiple options to increase sustainability in the next few years of the construction industry, we are likely to see some interesting and exciting sustainability changes.