Embracing sustainability is the best way to help slow down the environmental decline of the planet. This is especially true for the industries that are the biggest contributors to waste and carbon emissions, including construction. From drafting blueprints to cleaning up the construction site, there are many ways construction companies can reduce waste and downsize their carbon footprint.
Discover some of the green strategies that can help construction sites become more sustainable.
1. Implementing SWPP inspections
A SWPP (Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan) inspection is the process of confirming the implementation of the SWPP plan in construction sites. This plan aims to identify possible sources of stormwater pollution in the construction site and provides strategies on how to reduce these pollutants, thereby helping the building reduce its pollutant discharge into the public water system right from the very start.
2. Reducing demolition waste
The process of demolition produces a huge amount of waste, but it is necessary to erect entirely new buildings on a site where old buildings or other structures stand. Given demolition is one of the most wasteful parts of construction, companies can downsize their waste by reusing or repurposing old construction materials, either in the new building or another project.
Construction sites can reuse or repurpose materials like steel, concrete, wood, and flooring. The same is true for excess insulation, crushed gypsum, wood cutoffs, hardware, appliances, and fixtures. Aside from reducing the amount of debris that goes to the landfill, this strategy can also help companies save money.
3. Sourcing material from nearby places
The farther the material source is, the higher the cost of transportation and the more carbon emissions there are. And unless the material is highly specialized, it is incredibly wasteful if construction companies obtain materials from faraway sources–not to mention more time-consuming.
Instead of choosing significantly distant suppliers, construction companies should opt for local sources for construction materials. Not only does this strategy help reduce expenses and carbon waste, but it can also help construction teams stay on schedule.
4. Choosing environmentally-friendly materials
Aside from sourcing materials from nearby suppliers, construction companies can further reduce their environmental impact by choosing more sustainable materials. Today’s investors and end-point buyers are also gearing towards buildings that were constructed with sustainability in mind, which is another reason why this strategy is more than worthwhile.
Examples of eco-friendly construction materials include recycled wood, bamboo, precast concrete slabs, cork, recycled steel, and other materials that are easily reproducible and contribute the lowest amounts of carbon emissions during fabrication. While it’s still not feasible to create an entire building out of eco-friendlier materials, switching out the materials with the biggest amounts required is a good start.
5. Reusing excess materials
In construction, it is common to have excess materials after the job is done. Some companies may throw out these excess materials to make post-construction clean-up easier, but it is definitely better (and more sustainable) to use these materials for the next project or perhaps sell them.
Construction companies can also preserve packaging from various construction materials and either repurpose them for something else or return them to suppliers for reuse. Both strategies help reduce the amount of construction waste that goes to the landfill and may even help companies reap financial savings.
6. Preserving trees and green spaces
Unfortunately, many construction companies have to eliminate trees and other green spaces to make way for the new structures. However, it is all very possible to preserve these natural resources during construction. The best way to do this is by planning the building around existing trees and green spaces. But if this is not possible or feasible, construction companies can enlist the help of tree transplanting services to remove trees from the construction site and move them somewhere else.
7. Opting for prefabricated materials
The main benefit of choosing prefabricated materials for construction is the speed and efficiency it provides, with manufacturers creating components in an assembly line instead of construction companies having to do it on their own on-site. For the environment, this means reduced energy consumption since materials are fabricated much faster and construction companies don’t have to move heavy machinery to their sites, thus eliminating unnecessary fuel consumption.
In addition to speed, efficiency, and reduced energy consumption, this strategy ultimately helps save money for investors, end-point customers, as well as construction companies.
Sustainable construction is in trend, and rightfully so. With the current climate crisis and rapidly depleting sources, large industries like construction can make a significant impact on the environment by switching to more sustainable techniques.