One of the biggest concerns within the construction industry is the lack of sustainability. Known for its excessive consumption of natural resources, it is no surprise that this sector contributes to up to 40% of the world’s carbon emissions. Unfortunately, carbon emissions negatively impact the environment and contribute to global warming. The impact on the environment leads to climate change, which is bad for humans and all living, breathing things on this planet. It can also lead to the further extinction of thousands of different endangered species roaming the world today. So, what can companies within this sector do to begin reducing their carbon footprint, and how will it protect these organisations moving forward?
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The construction industry’s lack of sustainability
The concerns over the construction industry’s lack of sustainability continue to grow as climate change becomes more of a problem than it has been over the past several decades. Although taking a more sustainable approach will require overcoming a series of challenges and altering traditional construction methods, it’s possible to adopt sustainable construction practices. These practices are better for the environment and provide workers with safer, more efficient environments to complete their daily assigned tasks.
What You Need to Know About Sustainable Construction
When construction companies aren’t sustainable, they’re typically using new natural resources instead of attempting to use recycled materials to complete different projects. The difference between using recycled materials and new ones is astronomical and positively impacts the environment. Without using those recyclable materials, companies are wasting more of Earth’s natural resources, causing a depletion in the overall supply of things around us, such as the trees we depend on for oxygen.
The key to becoming more sustainable would mean relying more on renewable materials that have gone through the recycling process and are ready to use again to be transformed into another product. For example, there are beautiful homes built with recycled materials, including The Boot House in Huntsville, Texas, The Junk Castle in Pullman, Washington, and The Collage House in Mumbai. It shows that it’s entirely possible to construct homes and properties using renewable materials instead of combining new materials that would consume more energy and lead to more waste.
The Sustainable Approach Starts Before Construction Begins
Sustainability starts before the beginning of the project and continues even after the construction workers have completed the task. Designers would need to develop plans for buildings, roads, and other more sustainable projects that have less of a negative impact on the environment. The goal is to avoid constructing more properties and structures that would do more harm than good to the environment because that would only contribute to global warming and climate change in the long run.
It’s one reason new homes and buildings are more energy-efficient than structures built hundreds of years ago. Companies are using more recycled materials to put these properties together, but they’re also adding extra insulation throughout the walls of these establishments to reduce overall energy consumption. When a building is fully insulated with high-quality materials, it’s easier to maintain a decent temperature inside, even as the temperature rises or drops outside.
Why Sustainability in the Construction Industry is Important
Some may wonder why sustainability in the construction industry is such a big deal. However, it positively impacts everyone, from those involved in the construction project to those who will use the structure built by these workers, whether it’s a home, condo, office, or commercial property. These are some of the benefits of sustainable construction and reasons why more companies need to work on improving their sustainability practices to provide their workers with better experiences:
- It has a less negative impact on the environment – Carbon emissions continue to take a drastic toll on the environment around us. While these come from many things, including vehicles, factories, trains, and more, a large portion of carbon emissions come directly from the construction industry. Reducing carbon emissions through sustainable practices, such as using renewable resources and recycled materials, would have less of a negative impact on the environment while creating a safer, cleaner space.
- It’s better for people to use the newly constructed buildings – Outdated properties built hundreds of years ago don’t have the same level of insulation as modern properties. They may also contain hazardous building materials, such as asbestos, leading to asthma, skin irritation, and cancer. People who use these newly constructed properties built with sustainable materials and proper protocol can enjoy safer experiences, whether living in the building or working there.
- Sustainable construction protects workers – Health and safety concerns are common in the construction sector. The industry has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous globally because of the hazards connected to it. However, sustainable practice can eliminate some of those hazards and reduce risks to provide safer work environments. If construction workers complete tasks in safer environments, they’re more likely to stay productive, ultimately getting more done in less time than usual.
How to Take a More Sustainable Approach to Construction
Those working in the construction industry can take several steps to achieve a greater level of sustainability that benefits the environment and everyone in it, including humans, animals, and plants. Some of these steps include:
- Using more recyclable materials – Companies and their team can begin using more sustainable alternatives rather than relying solely on traditional materials used for construction projects. For example, many are using recyclable plastic and other recycled materials as an alternative to concrete to reduce carbon dioxide production.
- Creating eco-friendly building designs – Architects working on the overall design of a building can develop ideas for more eco-friendly structures so that these buildings will waste less energy when in use.
- Using digital blueprints – Instead of taking an outdated approach to creating blueprints on paper, companies can instead rely on digital options that eliminate the need for more paper to be used and wasted.
- Use digital tools to increase efficiency. With digital tools like Next Field for inspections before, during and after each project – you minimise risks that jobs have to be re-done or that important tasks are forgotten.
Making small changes like these to daily operations can significantly impact the environment and help fight against climate change. If companies within the construction sector are willing to adapt to these new practices, they can simultaneously protect the environment, workers, and their bottom line.
Using Next Field as a digital tool for all your inspections is a great way to start. Book a demo with one of our experts here.