The construction industry never slows down. And it goes without saying that it is a massive industry. A lot of materials flow in and out of any construction site, and unfortunately, a lot of waste is generated as well. This makes it imperative to keep the waste to a minimum and aim to make the processes as sustainable as possible.
The objective of sustainable construction is to create and operate processes that prioritize resource efficiency and ecological design. It focuses on 7 core principles across the building’s life cycle: protecting nature, reducing the consumption of resources, reusing resources, using recyclable resources, eliminating toxins, applying life-cycle costing, and emphasizing on quality.
Table of Contents
Embracing Sustainability in Construction
Sustainable construction includes three critical elements — environmental impact, social responsibility and economic efficiency. These elements help in governing the building design, quality of architecture, technologies and processes, working conditions and serve as the basis for sustainable construction.
In order to incorporate sustainable practices in construction processes, implement the following 5 practices.
Utilize Low Impact Construction Material
Manufacturing construction materials from scratch requires a lot of energy. In order to reduce the energy expended on various manufacturing processes, use low-impact materials that are recycled or repurposed.
Use materials which are sourced from other building sites or materials that come from naturally occurring elements containing recycled waste and content such as blown paper insulation. Opt for modular designs for buildings to minimize wasted materials and decrease the construction time. Moreover, they are durable and can be reused and recycled continually.
Focus on Space Efficiency
Some ways to attain design sustainability through maximizing space efficiency include:
- Having open spaces to maximize the use of daylight in the interiors
- Incorporating industrial weighing scales in numerous equipment to reduce movement
- Minimizing surface areas by excluding spaces like the patio, porches, etc.
- Bringing in folding beds, moving walls and space saving furniture to maximize the usable area and minimize the size of the structure.
- Incorporating raised floor solutions to make space for under floor systems, reduce overhead space and improve HVAC efficiency
Choose Renewable Energy Sources
One of the smartest and simplest ways to achieve sustainable construction is by using alternative energy sources. Incorporating solar, wind and hydro energy will tremendously reduce your fuel footprint and optimize your energy savings.
You can incorporate renewable energy into the building design by constructing structures that are well-ventilated. Aim to bring in more natural light, install smart windows that block ultraviolet rays and install solar panels on the rooftop for running HVAC units and water heaters.
Minimize Construction Waste
Waste is a byproduct of any construction site. A huge amount of wasted roofing, cardboard, glass, drywall, metal, insulation, etc., isn’t uncommon. Identify the materials that can be repurposed or reused.
Waste is also observed when materials go unused due to the presence of large quantities. For sustainable waste management weigh the raw materials accurately so that you don’t order more than you require to avoid wastage.
Practice Inter-Company Sustainability
Actively implement sustainable practices in your organization and seek LEED certification. Encourage recycling programs and train your staff on different sustainable practices they can adopt within the facility. Partner with other companies who practice sustainability to maximize your efforts.
The main environmental benefits of practicing sustainability in the construction industry include reduced carbon emissions, alleviated noise pollution, increased cost savings, faster turnaround times and reduced scrap. However, the shift to sustainability cannot happen overnight and requires a considerable amount of research, innovation and creativity, apart from a positive attitude and support from the stakeholders. Sustainability is the future and the construction industry must set an example by embracing this trend.
Kevin Hill heads the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, CA. Besides his day job, he loves to write about the different types of scales and their importance in various industries. He also writes about how to care for and get optimized performance from different scales in different situations. He enjoys spending time with family and going on camping trips.