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​5 tips making construction more sustainable

With current events booming about climate change, companies everywhere have shifted towards greener production and products, including the construction industry. The need for sustainable building practices comes from the demands of a more environmentally conscious public and receptive climate. Here are 5 tips on how construction can be made more sustainable and further benefit the world?

  • Sustainable Materials

Before construction has even begun, contractors can increase their building’s sustainability by choosing the right materials. This stage is incredibly important when considering the environmental impacts a project can have. Choosing the best material depends on its capabilities and where the project would be built. The materials and its design can ultimately cut down on the building’s ecological footprint and reduce the cost of management over time. Contractors should take care in researching which materials are recyclable, from renewable or nonrenewable resources, and whenever possible, use recycled materials from local sources to cut down on shipping time, support the nearby community, and improve the building’s sustainability. Contractors should also look into the materials’ capabilities and compatibility with other materials to fit the contractor’s intended design, function, and who it will be marketed to or used by. Appliances inside of the building should also be researched to help the new owners maintain a sustainable lifestyle.

  • Passive Design

The purpose of a passive house is to take advantage of the natural resources the environment provides. A building can be designed to use the sun’s energy by aligning with it. As winter approaches, the sun’s angle in the sky will drop, passing through windows and offering some heat. Depending on where the contractor builds, the windows should be facing the north if they are building in the southern hemisphere, and windows should be facing south for buildings in the northern hemisphere. This alignment will allow for the windows to catch the winter sun’s low angled rays and allow for heat to escape at night to keep the house cool. Verandas, at the right angle, also help in this process by blocking out the summer sun when it is coming from a steeper angle and allow the winter sun to warm the home. These verandas are also very useful for sunny climates as the average temperature is high and the sun’s light and heat would reflect off of the veranda. The use of plants to insulate heat or cool a home is another passive technique contractors can use to make their buildings more sustainable in the long run. Placing plants on roofs that use rainwater are perfect insulators and will help reduce the cost of heating and air conditioning.

  • Controlled Manufacturing

Creating the materials needed in a controlled environment reduces the amount of time needed to build since contractors can avoid having to be at the mercy of the elements. Having the bulk of the materials made off of the building site decreases the waste of materials and time. The materials can be cut with precision by machines to ensure that the concise amount of material is received and that the pieces will fit perfectly together. Efficient Processes Innovation and coming up with systems to simplify the construction process greatly improves efficiency. These methods are referred to as Lean Manufacturing, where contractors look for the best way for their construction workers to perform their job. Using new practices like shipping out materials just before they are needed, and using organised systems such as hiring storage, reduces theft of the materials and loss of tools and time.

  • Managed Waste

Many contractors use haulers to bring the materials to the site and because they separate the materials using pickers, this leads to less waste before the construction has begun. A flaw that couples with construction, though, is runoff waste. If a contractor decides to build on the construction site, they run the risk of polluting the nearby area through runoff water getting into local storm drains and other harmful chemicals permeating the air. These risks are still present even if a contractor had manufactured their materials elsewhere. To avoid pollution, contractors should establish silt fencing to keep contaminated water from escaping, treat their water on-site, and use “walk-off mats” for construction workers to trap harmful chemicals and materials that may adhere to their boots. General policies like no smoking and including waste bins for food wastes also reduce pollution from workers, and of course, any materials that can be recycled should be as this reduces waste and may offer some cash-back for the project when the recycled materials are sold.

  • Long-Term Benefits

Sustainability is crucial and smart. Recycling and being conscious of materials helps reduce unnecessary waste and will allow the new owners to save money as time passes. Sustainability is also very attractive to many customers as climate change becomes a more ever-present threat. Making construction more sustainable may cost more in the beginning, but its low maintenance will save the contractor and the buyer money over time and saving the environment from toxins will always be worthwhile.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

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