Sustainable construction methods are becoming increasingly popular, as people become more aware of the environmental and social consequences of traditional construction methods. There are a variety of sustainable construction methods available, each with its benefits and drawbacks.
The issue of sustainability has become a major focus in the construction industry.Construction has been required to adhere to stricter regulations, such as mandatory life cycle reviews and energy efficiency ratings.
Although it is critical to meet contemporary cleanup demands, there’s no denying the importance of complying with contemporary environmental regulations to the construction industry and building owners alike. Having to consider both potential fines and costs required to meet these new requirements compels construction companies and construction managers to sacrifice their margins or pass the expenses along to the property owners.
What is sustainable construction?
Sustainable construction denotes constructing structures out of renewable and recyclable supplies as well as minimizing electricity usage and waste. The central emphasis of sustainable construction is to decrease the negative impact that industry has on the environment.
Sustainable construction does not end when the building is complete. The building itself should have a reduced environmental impact over its lifespan. So, the design should involve elements that have a positive impact on reducing the building’s environmental impact over the long term. Insulation helps to limit heat loss, solar panels may lower energy consumption, and building materials made with long-lasting materials may be used.
Why is sustainable construction important?
The construction industry has a significant impact on the environment due to energy usage and emissions.Many emission fluxes occur in the construction industry on account of the applications of heavy machinery, including fossil fuels. Even a consequential mistake in resource utilization downstream could cause overindulgence in fuel consumption at the beginning. According to research, the construction industry contributes an incredible 36% of worldwide energy usage and 40% of carbon dioxide emissions.
Producing and shipping products can have a major impact on carbon emissions. Production of raw materials can result in the contamination of local water tables. Concrete production has produced over 2.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide that have only continued to grow, reaching 4 billion tonnes per year.
The hazardous substances that may be present in an improperly disposed construction site can result in pollution that can negatively impact not only the environment but the health of those who live nearby, as well.
Methods (How) to make construction sustainable:
Setting up small, incremental changes can help even a small construction company. And, when taken as a whole, those small changes can have a big impact on a company.
These are 7 methods/ or ways to make construction projects more sustainable
- Incorporate sustainability into your business’s operations and processes; When following a decades-old plan that can no longer satisfy needs, it s easy to view sustainability efforts as an additional initiative. But going after sustainability from the start is the most cost‐effective way to go. The next step to success in a sustainable building is to develop a network of vendors that can provide you with sustainable building materials. You could also change the way your personnel is appointed to have employees who have experience in sustainable building or you could equip your existing staff members. The key is to build sustainability into everything you do rather than trying to force it into and around your existing business processes.
- Consider prefabrication as an alternative method of construction; The two main advantages of switching to a prefabrication production strategy are that it allows for many economies of scale, with employees producing prefabricated components in an assembly-line process, making for greater speed and efficiency. You could still give customized options to your clients, but that customization could be achieved through how the parts are utilized to attain the end design. The third advantage is reduced fuel costs. Moving heavy machinery from place to location uses a lot of fuel. Leaving the equipment at a single location and supplying only the crucial elements can save a lot of fuel.
- Standardize entire processes and workflows to make them more reliable; If you scrutinize each construction project separately, you’ll waste time waiting on workers to learn exactly what is needed to complete the project. When you standardize procedures, projects get completed much more quickly, more effectively, and with less waste as a result of errors. Utilizing pre-assembled components is an excellent way to standardize processes. Once workers learn how to build a wall using ICF blocks, for example, that know-how can be reused over many different tasks and job sites without needing to reinvent the wheel.
- Prioritize suppliers who source locally; You can also compare the costs of different vendors when selecting suppliers. The best way is by choosing suppliers who make use of materials that are currently easily available, like concrete. Another way of realizing this is by concentrating on materials that can be moved easily, such as polystyrene blocks used for ICFs.
- Make efficient use of the construction equipment available; Idled equipment or equipment that gets used improperly inevitably increases both energy usage and your carbon footprint. Coordinate your workday so your machines and any required materials are ready as soon as they’re needed. In the long-term, look for ways to decrease the need for heavy machinery and power tools by looking for materials that can be built in more environmentally friendly ways.
- Reduce waste; Some construction waste is inevitable, but a surprising amount may be reduced or even eliminated. One convenient alternative is to choose suppliers and providers that don’t require much in the way of packaging. Another great opportunity for reducing construction waste is to train employees to identify and separate waste as it is generated, laying the groundwork for future recycling efforts.
- Green Building; To build constructions that are both environmentally friendly and economically feasible, there has been a recent interest in sustainable construction methods. Some of these methods include using recycled materials, improving energy efficiency, and designing for natural disasters. While each of these methods has its benefits and drawbacks, as a whole they are starting to become more prevalent in the construction industry.
- Renewable energy; Improvements have been made to greatly decrease the use of fossil fuels in construction. A popular solution is using a modular battery which will be set up at the site and will be charged through solar panels.
Building with sustainable materials
Wood – Properly managed forests don’t just provide building materials, but also offer a habitat for wildlife.
Sustainable concrete – Alternatives with plastic and recyclables can reduce carbon dioxide production by about 50 percent.
Alternative brick materials – mud, plastic waste, sawdust, and even cigarette butts can be used to create bricks that are just as strong without a need for the kiln fires that result in harmful emissions
The challenges of sustainable construction
Adopting sustainable construction methods is not an overnight process; there are challenges to face, the most significant of which is cost. There will always be pressure on construction organizations to reduce costs where possible, but there will still be concerns concerning sustainable construction methods costing an organization more.
The World Green Building Trends 2018 Smart Market Report reveals that about 40% of UK companies stated that affordability was the biggest challenge presented by adopting sustainable construction practices. About 50% of companies said that green buildings would carry higher upfront costs.Couple that with 34% of companies stating that their clients are asking them to make greener buildings, and you can see how many construction companies fear they’ll get caught in the middle of the cost and demands.
The benefits of sustainable construction
Effective sustainable construction techniques can reduce your organization’s impact on the environment. However, it also has several other significant external advantages.
A more valuable building
We’ve already covered the fact that higher out-of-pocket costs are involved in sustainable buildings, but an upfront investment in revitalization will yield returns. Research demonstrates that green-designed buildings typically obtain a 7% premium from property values.
Construction companies can use this specific information in construction tenders to offset the extra costs that might result from a long-lasting construction, and home end users can anticipate a better return on investment with the development of a green property.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
That potential merit is greater than ever, with growing awareness and interest in CSR, the idea that businesses should support good causes. CSR certainly results in positive PR, but it may likewise impact buyer habits; as prices are similar, 91% of clients are likely to switch to another brand if it has been associated with a good cause.
More environmentally friendly construction techniques lead to greater CSR for those in the space. The building owner is employing a green structure. The individuals or companies that occupy the property can see a difference in how environmentally friendly the builder is.
A construction firm can also use sustainable construction methods to show its commitment to corporate social responsibility. If your brand contracted suppliers that were committed to reducing their carbon footprint, like, this could be ideal PR in the eyes of the customer.
In general, findings reveal that green buildings offer lower operating costs. Research suggests that the efficient use of the most advanced sustainable technologies in construction processes could eliminate $410 billion a year in global energy costs.By reducing your waste, you will decrease the fees charged by your waste management business. Adopting more fuel-efficient equipment will result in cost savings.
How to improve your construction business sustainability image
More interest is being devoted to improving the environmental impact of various industries and as more building projects demand sustainable development practices, the sooner your construction business can bring them into place. Taking advantage of these practices now will put you in an even better position to pitch for these projects later. However, your competitors will probably be doing the same; how can you distinguish yourself from everybody else to ensure you win that industry?
The International Organization for Standardization developed ISO 14001 to serve as a guideline for setting up sustainable environmental practices that meet international minimum requirements. ISO 14001 enjoys a global reputation for excellence that surpasses that of its competitors and can give your business an edge when bidding for contracts.
In conclusion, sustainable construction methods are becoming more and more popular due to the many benefits they offer. These methods are the future of the building industry. They are more environmentally friendly, use fewer resources, and are cost-effective in the long run. They can help to reduce energy consumption, save money, and protect the environment. By using these methods, we can all help to make our world a more sustainable place and preserve our planet for future generations.