There has never been a more critical time to protect our planet than now. The need to recycle, use sustainable energy and decrease our carbon footprint will only continue to grow. For the world population of today, and all the future generations to come – every industry should play their part towards a greener future. And the construction industry is no exception.
Sustainable construction is not only about constructing environmentally friendly buildings, but also about making the process – from the ground up – just as eco-friendly.
Let us explore seven ways you can make your construction site more sustainable.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), construction and engineering produce up to 530 million tons of waste each year. Most of this waste is sent to landfills, the ‘L’ word which we all know does not contribute to a greener planet; in fact, certain materials in landfills can take up to a million years to decompose. Construction waste also contributes to one third of the total refuse in the United States. A clear signal for change – but what actions can we take today to make a sustainable change to our construction waste going forward?
Recycle, recycle, recycle – many construction debris and building components can be recycled. In the magic world of recycling - concrete and rubble become concrete products, wood turns into wooden furniture and metals are always a valuable recycling resource. Materials can be managed on site by using multiple boxes for each type of waste, this also promotes an integral and responsible work ethic to ensure everyone on site contributes to the recycling project and can see the benefits first-hand.
Although it may not lead to global warming, noise pollution tends to be the biggest concern for those living nearby a construction site. It can also be a challenge for the construction workers themselves - with reduced levels in noise pollution, you are likely to have a more productive and happier team.
Construction companies can enforce the use of heavy machinery only in daylight hours – this may take a bit more forward-planning, but the overall outcome will certainly be worth it. New equipment also tends to be quieter than old equipment, for instance noise-reducing saw blades can half the noise levels when cutting stone blocks. An important factor to keep in mind when purchasing new equipment. Moreover, through simple maintenance of old equipment and making adjustments, such as adding new mufflers or sound absorbing materials, you can reduce the noise levels by up to 50%.
There are many choices within the design phase which can lead to a greener, environment happy building. Ranging from the materials you use – recycled materials mean that you are creating less CO2, while upcycling at the same time. Window placement can help maximise the amount of natural sunlight flowing through the building. And solar panels not only offer a more modern look, but they are also the world’s third-largest source of renewable energy.
When the building is up and running, adding a smart appliance such as a thermostat or HVAC system will hugely decrease the building’s energy consumption. So, when you’re in the design phase, think of the planet and remember – it’s all in the detail!
An alarming level of fuel is used on a construction site, diesel-powered trucks and heavy machinery being the main culprits. Being more mindful of your fossil fuel consumption, such as oil and gas, will make a big difference to your green footprint and positive impact on the environment. It is also worth considering hybrid or electric vehicles, although the initial expenses may be higher, overtime your cost savings on fuel and being kinder to the planet will pay off!
And when you use your planet friendly vehicle, remember that idling machines waste fuel – ensure your machines are not idling for a long period of time, that they are driven at a consistent speed with the windows open for best performance.
Construction sites can be a hazard for leaking nasty chemicals into the environment, to avoid this from happening and protect the local soil and water supply, here are a few pointers to bear in mind. Be aware of nearby watercourses and the natural landscape surrounding the site, which can help you protect the environment from chemical leaks. You can use silt-fences to ensure contaminants don’t flow into watercourses and soil doesn’t wash away.
Transferring your company’s day-to-day functions onto a digital platform and saying goodbye to the days of paper trails of construction site plans and building designs - has a plethora of benefits. Less paper means less litter and cutting down less trees. Trees help slow the rate of global warming and are paramount to ensuring a greener future. Go digital – save the trees.
Alongside the environment benefit, going digital will make your company more efficient – having all your documents in one place, easy to access and edit as you wish. Not to mention making your company a whole lot more accessible to your potential customers. It’s a no brainer.
Last but certainly not least, who better to purchase your supplies from - than sustainable supply companies with a proven track record for sustainable, eco-friendly practices. At BKT, we care about the environment and the future of coming generations. That is why we adopt the strongest international standards on production parameters and quality control, in accordance with environmental regulators such as the European “REACH” Directive. And we are proud to hold the National Energy Conservation and Sustainability Award for three running. Find out more here.
We are here to help you elevate your construction company to a stronger, greener, more sustainable footprint.
Make the change today, for your company and for future generations. Get in touch.