It’s no secret that the construction industry has a significant impact on the environment. According to some studies, construction is responsible for up to 50% of climate change, 40% of energy usage globally, and 50% of landfill waste, not to mention air, water, and noise pollution and destruction of natural habitats. As the effects of climate change and other environmental issues become more pronounced, it’s more important than ever to find ways to protect the environment.
Fortunately for the construction industry, the same changes that will protect the environment from the harmful impacts of construction can also improve the quality of construction products and boost profits for construction firms. This mutually beneficial relationship plays out across all phases of construction, from the initial design to the building process to long-term building operations.
Here’s a look at some of the ways construction companies can lower their impact on the environment – and how making those changes can benefit those companies in the long run.
In the design phase of a project, companies have many opportunities to make eco-friendly choices. For instance, companies may choose recycled or natural building materials that produce less CO2when they are manufactured. Design teams must also consider the durability of a building or structure, as well as its long-term waste production and energy consumption needs. Building designs can include renewable energy sources like solar panels, smart appliances and HVAC systems, and strategic window placement to maximize the use of natural light.
Once the building is designed, new opportunities for sustainable construction practices open up on the construction site.
Reducing noise is a good way to start, since noise pollution is a common complaint from those who live or work near active construction sites. Companies can upgrade their heavy equipment to newer, more fuel-efficient models or use alternative fuel sources when possible, as well as limiting the amount of time machines spend idling and carefully maintaining all equipment. Whenever possible, recycling and reusing materials rather than filling local landfills can help reduce construction site waste.
During a building’s lifetime, operational efficiency is key to limiting its impact on the environment. Educating building occupants and maintenance or facilities management staff on eco-friendly policies is the first step toward ensuring that a building’s sustainability is guaranteed over the long term.