We can’t do everything, but we can do something to keep our planet green. And that is the thought behind this article. The construction sector is one of the most resource-consuming sectors; it is considered the top consumer of raw materials. Thus, while many architects might argue that sustainability is hard to include in the construction of buildings, we believe there are small but effective changes that can be made. These small steps can go a long way. Read on to learn why sustainability is important in the construction sector and how we can make construction more sustainable.
What is Sustainability in construction?
The construction sector, by nature, is the biggest consumer of natural resources. With the growing concerns about the finiteness of natural resources, the need to adopt sustainable practices is increasing. While sustainable alternatives have their own limitation, the benefits are significant.
Sustainability in the construction sector means using renewable energy and recycled material and minimizing the wastage of resources. Sustainable construction doesn’t just end with the completion of a building project; it is a life-long thing that has a continuous impact on the environment. It doesn’t just mean using recycled material to set up the building but also including energy-efficient hatches on the rooftop so that minimum heat loss takes place, setting up solar panels, and minimizing the need for fossil fuels and other limited resources.
Ways to Make Construction More Sustainable
Here are a few ways to make construction more sustainable:
Use Sustainable Construction Material
Using sustainable materials is the first step to reducing your carbon footprint. Here are some materials that are used widely in sustainable construction.
Properly managed and grown forests can provide biodiverse and biodegradable material which can be used in buildings. Plus, wood is also easy to shape, requiring low energy and thus, contributing to sustainability.
Concrete is the most widely used material in the construction sector, which is, unfortunately, extremely unfriendly to the environment. But luckily, scientists and experimentalists have come out with sustainable alternatives that are as strong as, or even stronger than, the concrete we use but are environment friendly at the same time. Geopolymer concrete, for example, is durable, economical, and has a carbon footprint of about 10% of Portland concrete.
Recycled metal is less expensive, conserves resources, and helps the local economy. Nowadays, more than 90% of the steel used in the construction sector is recycled which is a great initiative toward sustainability.
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Manage Waste Responsibly
Construction projects create a large quantity of waste. This includes masonry, plywood and lumber, cardboard and paper, metal parts, and glass and plastic trash. Apart from using green materials, you need to manage waste responsibly. Masonry can be used in other construction projects, metal can be smelted and used in making other products, and you can send the rest of the waste to your nearest recycling unit. The ultimate goal is to recycle as much as you can.
Monitor Your Transportation System
Transportation is one of the most frequent activities at the construction site. To reduce the carbon footprint left by your transportation fleet, you can use a transport management system to keep track of your drivers’ behavior, map out paths of least resistance, and reduce your travel times as much as you can. Moreover, you can opt for biodiesel instead of fossil fuel.
Use Energy-efficient Equipment
Another way you can reduce your carbon footprint is by using energy-efficient equipment at the construction site. This equipment may include on-site generators run by biofuels, and energy-efficient overhead cranes, among others.
Besides the above-mentioned ways, you should hire staff who cares about sustainability and does their best to save energy and material and use the available resources in the best possible ways.
To Wrap Up
The world we live in is already suffering the damage we have caused. And it is our responsibility to take care of it, not just for us but for other inhabitants of the planet, who have been doing no such harm to the environment. Every effort counts, and if you are in the construction sector, you should take the measures mentioned above and more to contribute towards making our planet green.