The construction industry is quite literally responsible for building a world that protects future generations, and this can only be achieved by sustainable working. Striving towards sustainability by thinking outside of the box and making small changes will have an enormous impact on the environment. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways that construction businesses can act sustainably, including their use of environmentally friendly materials, achieving a maximum 10% biodiversity net gain, and minimizing waste. Throughout this article, we will tell you what sustainable construction is and how it will benefit the world.
What is Sustainable Construction?
Sustainable construction refers to the use of recyclable and renewable resources. Throughout a construction project, managers need to ensure that waste is minimized, energy consumption is efficient, and the local ecology is looked after. When a sustainable construction project has finished, the end result also needs to be sustainable, which means that it’s friendly to the environment.
Sustainability helps to improve our way of life and protects the natural order of the world. In construction, the focus needs to shift from the easiest way to end the result to the most holistic route. At the moment, countries within the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), report that construction is responsible for 30-40% of all waste, carbon emissions, energy usage, and raw materials. This, in itself, is the reason why sustainability in construction is such an important topic.
The construction industry is working hard to achieve sustainability, and it’s being directed by the UK government’s commitment to the environment. For example, by 2023, all construction proposals must prove that they can meet a 10% biodiversity net gain, which means working to enhance local habitats and wildlife.
To help construction companies meet this impending requirement, a well-thought-out biodiversity net gain plan needs to be written. Fortunately, this can be outsourced to a company like Arbtech, which will consult with management to determine any potential risks and ways to mitigate them. Then, they will send a thorough biodiversity net gain plan, which will adhere to government legislation.
As well as protecting the environment, construction companies are reducing their overall waste. To do this, they can prove compliance with ISO14001 Certification, which sets the standards for environmental management.
Sustainable businesses improve their reputation, and this can be done by demonstrating actions that lie within corporate social responsibility (CSR).
These aren’t legal requirements, but more a concept for ethical considerations and positive social impact. There are some cost-saving options there too as companies can use lifts under $30k at Boom & Bucket.
Sustainable construction has enormous societal benefits and will be a driving force in improving well-being and a healthy lifestyle for future generations. When a sustainable construction project is finished, the people who move into them will benefit positively through cleaner air and a greener way of life, which can reduce bills in some areas.
Renewable energy sources have long been proven to help tackle climate change, which is a pressing issue in the world. On a global scale, combating global warming will support the wider environment and help to save the polar ice caps, which have a vibrant ecosystem. Within the local city-wide environment, sustainable construction will create energy and boost biodiversity.
Even though sustainable construction is great for the environment, it’s typically more expensive, which can make it undesirable for investors. However, the finished product of a sustainable construction project is much more valuable. In fact, it’s estimated that in comparison to traditional construction builds, they’re worth an extra 7%, which is a considerable amount.
There are countless methods of improving sustainability in construction, and using friendlier materials is one of them:
- Sustainable concrete. Concrete is one of the most used materials within the construction industry, but it comes at a heavy negative cost for the environment: 5% of all CO2 emissions come from cement manufacturers. Thankfully, these businesses are searching for ways to reduce emissions, which is achieved by producing effective alternatives. If cement can be completely removed from construction, the carbon footprint can be reduced by around half.
- Straw bales. This is extremely cheap and can be used to reduce the cost of construction projects. In terms of sustainability, straw is being used as alternative insulation to plaster and concrete.
- Recycled plastics. Plastic is widely available and extremely sustainable, which is why it’s becoming one of the most used construction materials. Through recycling, plastic and rubbish can be transformed into concrete, which minimizes landfills and reduces greenhouse gases.
- Wool bricks and mud bricks. Traditional bricks rely on kiln fires for strength, which only adds to pollution. Now, thanks to research-based in Glasgow and Spain, bricks can be made by using wool or clay, which are just as strong.
- Wood. Wood doesn't rely on much energy use, which makes it highly sustainable for building. If properly managed, forests can improve biodiversity and create sources of renewable energy.
Use Construction Software Applications
Construction software applications minimize paper on construction projects. Collaboration software for architects also allows one to go paperless, opting for digital documentation.
Going paperless makes a significant difference in the fight against climate change. Reducing paper usage helps preserve forests, helping reduce greenhouse gases.
Moreover, paperless technology is crucial to making sustainable construction a reality. This kind of technology also enables sustainable initiatives in different industries.
Environmental Careers in Construction
If you’re interested in construction but have a passion for helping the environment, there are a few roles you can enter into. For example, an environmental advisor works with construction companies to ensure their project complies with local and national laws, which will include reducing waste and lowering overall pollution levels.
Alternatively, you can become an environmental engineer, which is a high-tech job involving the creation of renewable energy sources and green technology. Both of these careers will involve working closely with a sustainability manager, who ensures that projects keep their green promises.
Through the power of sustainability, the construction industry is building a future that will benefit everyone. Their actions include reducing the impact on local habitats and minimizing waste. Sustainable projects are more expensive to build, but they’re more profitable and will help to reduce household building. To help construction companies keep on track, the government has devised strict green plans that are a condition of obtaining planning permission.