How Does Construction Impact the Environment and How to Make It Greener?

After years of doom and gloom, construction industry is undergoing a resurgence in growth. This time around, there is even bigger concern for the impact that boom will have on the environment. Across the globe, we see construction companies and contractors wreaking havoc on the natural habitat and spending resources like there is no tomorrow. The good news is that winds of change are sweeping across, but we are still advancing at a sluggish pace in many areas. This is simply not acceptable, not if we want to ensure better and greener future for everyone.

A pollution behemoth

The construction industry is using millions of tons of material and producing a staggering amount of waste and air pollution. The sector in U.S. alone accounts for 160 million of non-industrial waste every year and the amount of emissions is growing. To make it worse, the negative effects also encompass climate change and drinking water pollution. Let us also not forget that according to some estimates, construction industry devours 40% of the global energy use.

The problem is largely in products used in contraction projects, such as chemicals on site, diesel trucks, and non-recyclable materials. Concrete, aluminum, and steel are particularly damaging as they have “embodied energy content” and are responsible for the lion’s share of CO2 emissions. Current policies and practices of reducing pollutants and omissions are ineffective for the most part. Therefore, one the first changes must come in the form of tighter rules and regulation.

It should be noted that countries like Australia are moving away from traditional, government intervention model. They are transitioning towards innovative models of sustainable procurement. It encourages private, public, and third-sector organizations to work together and leave a positive legacy to community. Many contractors and dependable home builders in Sydney and other major cities are awakening to this new reality. Situation in regional and remote communities is improving as well.

Turning a new leaf

And yet, that is not enough. Materials need to be used to minimize the environmental footprint. Sustainability must be engraved into every building block and design concept, right from the get-go.  Adhering to EPA’s principle of “protecting the environment comes first” is not really optional. So, businesses must make an effort to fully incorporate eco-friendliness into contractor orientation process. Some of the crucial rules are related to erosion and sediment controls, as well as soil stabilization.

Along the similar lines, putting the pollution prevention measures in place is paramount. These mechanisms mitigate the impact of chemicals in construction processes. Their goal is to ensure that pollutants are discharged correctly and safely from all equipment used on sites, including vehicles. Moreover, notice that some discharges are prohibited. These instances involve wastewater from washout of concrete and discharge from fossil fuels and oils.

Rise of green building

The lodestar everyone needs to follow is green building. This sector is growing rapidly and shifting the urban landscape of today. It encompasses a set of best practices that promote the use of recyclable and environmentally-friendly materials. Furthermore, green buildings are designed to keep operating costs and energy requirements low. They also use renewable and clean energy sources, such as solar power. One of the most daring innovations is the concept of passive and zero-net buildings.

The latter one completely eliminates grid dependency and even generates a surplus of green power. This only goes to show what is possible to achieve with clear vision, commitment, and ingenuity. And hopefully, this is just the beginning. More stunning changes are on the horizon, such as wooden skyscrapers. Once policy-makers come on board with the agenda, we can make strides towards this green frontier. There are many more hurdles to overcome, but at least we are moving in the right direction.

A fresh restart

If there was ever any doubt, today the situation is as clear as a day. We must stop laying waste to the environment in order to expand our residential and industrial areas in a new way. Everyone stands to benefit from transformation— businesses, governments, inhabitants, and Mother Nature. So, it is high time for conduction industry to embrace suitability and energy-efficiency as foundations for residential and commercial projects of all shapes and sizes. We need nothing short of a revolution, complete pivot to green building.

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