Environmental Constraints in Construction & How to Overcome Them

Environmental Constraints in Construction & How to Overcome Them


It probably comes as no surprise that construction has a rather large impact on the environment. It requires an extensive amount of materials and energy to create buildings and infrastructure, often resulting in the production of carbon dioxide, pollutants, and other greenhouse gasses. Today, environmental issues are an extremely pressing topic in society with a huge push towards alternative energy solutions. Fortunately, there are various innovative and green options that construction companies can take to not only reduce environmental effects but save money as well. All it takes is a little thoughtful planning and you’ll be on your way towards fostering smarter and sustainable building practices.

Some of the environmental constraints and possible solutions for construction projects are as follows.


Air pollution

The construction process is a major user of the world’s non-renewable energy sources. This produces a number of pollutants from synthetic chemicals as well as greenhouse gasses including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Some argue that when these emissions are produced in excess, they contribute significantly to climate change.



–    Avoid using non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels



Materials & waste

A large amount of waste is produced during a construction project due to the mass amount of materials used. The waste includes tiles, wood, insulation, concrete, plastic, lead pipes, asphalt, ferrous and non-ferrous, glass, metals, paint and roofing materials. This waste leads to an excess of waste in landfills which can have potentially disastrous effects. The most common impacts are leakage, methane emissions, noise pollution from vehicles and machinery, odor problems, damage to roads and much more.



–    Buy sustainably sourced building materials

–    Plan for potentially hazardous waste and have a plan of how you will dispose of it

–    Reduce, reuse, recycle

–    Make site improvements for better water management and water conservation such as drought tolerant landscaping.



The construction industry uses large amounts of energy in order to create buildings and manufacture materials. Some of the most common energy sources used include fossil fuels, nuclear power, hydropower and wind power. When the primary energy sources used are non-renewable, it leads to an excess of carbon dioxide emissions.



–    Design your project around energy efficiency

–    Try to use renewable energy resources when possible such as solar, wind turbines, etc.



There are various legal implications when it comes to potentially damaging the environment. Whether it’s wildlife preservation zones, laws on the usage of hazardous materials, or restrictions on a number of pollutants, construction projects must abide by the laws and codes of where they are building. Failure to abide by these regulations can result in delays, financial penalties, and possible lawsuits.



–    Consider the laws, codes, and regulations of where you are building before you start the construction process


Sustainable solutions are growing rapidly, providing various environmentally and cost friendly options. Efficient energy and material usage will help prevent potential loss of resources or money and will increase the sustainability of your business. The number one solution to improving sustainability and overcoming environmental constraints is to plan ahead! Consider environmental effects thoughtfully before you begin a project and you will avoid potential problems down the road.



Design Buildings 

Green Building Solutions

The University of Nottingham