In recent years, construction has become about more than just the creation of a building. The environmental impact of a construction site is something that needs to be considered, whether you are building homes, a school, a barn, or even a hospital.
Sustainable construction should be at the forefront of the mind for those involved in the industry in any capacity, and this means doing more than just creating a building that has lower negative impacts on the environment.
The benefits of using sustainable construction methods fall into three different categories – financial, social, and environmental – and each are as important as the next.
What is Sustainable Construction?
Sustainable construction is as much about the end product, how it will be used, and the life cycle of the building as it is about reducing waste and being more environmentally conscious during the build. By following the six main principles of sustainable construction, businesses are able to create green buildings that are as useful as they are beautiful, with less negative impacts on the environment. These principles are:
- Protect Nature
- High Quality
With so much innovation around the environment and sustainability, the construction industry can take advantage of better building practices as well as better techniques and reliable resources to build with energy efficiency and conservation in mind.
The Building Blocks of Sustainable Construction
Making sustainable construction work comes down to being able to use the most appropriate materials using the most thoughtful methods.
Reducing the carbon footprint of both the initial build and the ongoing use of the building comes down to choosing the most appropriate materials. Sustainable materials tend to be both lighter and stringer, while retaining the required aesthetic. Some examples of sustainable materials include:
- *Ethically sourced timber
- *Recycled plastics
- *Long-lasting materials like steel
The building methods themselves should be considered so that they reduce the impact on the environment – while the building is going up, and after it has been completed. Some of the methods to consider include:
- Using the right sustainable or renewable resources, from the materials to energy and water
- Being precise about measurements and cutting to reduce waste
- Better waste management on site, including separating recycling and ensuring that construction workers are being environmentally aware (no smoking on site, disposing of food waste properly, following best practice guidelines
- Creating green buildings
What is a Green Building?
Any building that has been designed and constructed to be operated in such a way that it reduces or eliminates negative impacts on the environment (or even better creates a positive impact) can be considered to be a green building.
This encompasses energy efficiency, the use of non-toxic materials, and consideration to both the environmental impact and the future quality of life of the occupants.
Benefits of Sustainable Construction
As more and more construction companies are looking to become environmentally aware, it is important to really understand the benefits of choosing to build sustainably.
Reusing and recycling materials while using renewable or more well-managed sources of energy during construction is much cheaper – not to mention the huge ROI that a green building can bring. Purchasers are interested in energy efficiency to save their bank balance as much as saving the environment.
Better Quality of Life
From a social standpoint, living in a well-designed and efficient property – or working in one – increases happiness and can have benefits on both physical and mental health. Sustainable construction focuses on using healthier (non-toxic) materials, but when the function of the property is a top consideration, future occupants will have a better quality of life.
Better for the Environment
Whether a project is being constructed from the ground up, or repurposing an already existing building, green design coupled with sustainable construction makes much less impact on the environment, and in the long term reduces or negates the carbon footprint.
Sustainable construction is the way forward, not only to minimize the environmental impact but to make construction cheaper and the resulting buildings better.