Why More Construction Companies Need to “Build Green”
Now more than ever, there is an emphasis being placed on us to become more responsible citizens of the Earth. There have been strides to go green wherever possible in order to help sustain life long after we leave it. Although progress has been made, some industries can still stand to make improvements and cut its waste. One of the biggest offenders of waste falls within the construction industry.
How Construction Projects Contribute to City Waste
Between new builds, renovations, and demolitions, the construction industry finds itself responsible for over a third of waste in most major cities, from Sydney, Australia to Vancouver, British Columbia. In Vancouver alone, construction waste totals upward of 1.5 million tons annually. While much of that is recycled, the remaining waste that ends up in the garbage can certainly be reduced if it were also recycled or reused in some fashion. The biggest contributions to this waste are due to improper demolition and disposal of wood materials, common in most new build projects.
How Building Green Benefits the Environment
By taking a green approach to construction we can greatly improve many facets of the Earth, from minimizing water waste to raw materials, energy and even the land itself. By reducing emissions and pollution the environment can be greatly impacted in a positive way and extend the lifespan of our ecosystems. Below are some of the ways that sustainable, eco-friendly construction can benefit our environment.
Less Water Waste
Construction projects utilise water resources in order to perform builds the traditional way. If limits are not placed on water usage in the near future, many communities may be at risk of water shortages which would be highly detrimental to society as a whole. Sustainable new builds with enhanced systems and appliances designed to reduce water waste would drastically cut down on water waste.
Use of Raw Materials
As we find ourselves using up the Earth’s natural resources faster than the Earth can regrow, things like trees used in wood construction builds, it’s important to consider how we will allow the Earth to thrive while still keeping up with societal demands for new buildings. Many developers of sustainable construction have found ways to utilise less raw materials that are significantly eco-friendlier, such as renewable or recycled resources. These teams are constantly stretching the limits of innovation in order to find more durable, long-lasting materials that can be used in new builds as to not use up the Earth’s resources so quickly. Additionally, the more we reuse and recycle, the less overall waste we will contribute to the growing issue of waste management.
Energy Efficient Solutions
With advances in technology, we now have more options for appliances that utilize energy-saving features and release lower emissions and pollution into the atmosphere. These lower our need for harmful fossil fuels and are also more cost-effective.
Choosing the Right Land
As our societies are growing we find ourselves going deeper into territories that were otherwise thriving with natural life before our impact on them, such as the ever-shrinking rainforest. By taking the extra time and consideration to determine the best plot of land to use for new construction, we can prevent widespread issues like land erosion and promote a healthy appreciation for the natural land.
What Construction Companies Stand to Gain from Building Green
While it’s important to understand the effects of waste on the environment, construction companies could stand to gain a lot from switching to more eco-friendly solutions. By building green from the ground up, considering new tools and ways to reuse materials in renovations from demolitions, companies can have more cost-effective builds. Thereby improving their profit margins over time while simultaneously benefiting the community’s overall health as we reduce the number of carbon emissions in the air.
Construction Companies Need to Lead the Way to Change
The construction industry as a whole has not seen much in ways of innovation when it comes to adapting to more eco-friendly building strategies. In order for any of these benefits to be seen, there needs to be a paradigm shift in this area. By re-envisioning the way we can utilize and reuse recycled materials, construction companies can completely change the way the industry handles waste as a whole. In fact, they will discover is that much of what is sent to landfills can be reused at another jobsite.
This will naturally reduce waste over time, and revamp the way buildings are designed in order to better produce more cost-effective and environmentally conscious builds. This isn’t just something that can be done by labor workers, but rather everyone from the financial and legal advisors, designers, architects, engineers, to the site managers and contractors and subcontractors can assist in improving by altering the way they look at waste management. With the right tools, training, and education, there is no reason why the construction industry can’t adapt to our environmental and community needs.
Even those of us outside of the construction industry can help with this growing problem. By being aware of the impact of waste in these vital industries, we can encourage companies to make changes that will better prepare the Earth to naturally regenerate its resources before we eliminate them. By vocalizing our concerns, we can create the gradual shift toward eco-friendly building solutions.
British Solomon is a contributing writer and media specialist for Varco Pruden Buildings. She regularly produces content for a variety of construction and eco-friendly blogs based around the promotion and education of a more sustainable way of living.