Can We Really Build a Sustainable Construction Site?
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The construction sector has been under growing pressure to improve its sustainability in recent years. There is an increasing need for construction sites to be created sustainably because of the expanding global population, rising demand for housing and infrastructure, and the impact of development on the environment. Can a sustainable building site be built? This article will examine the characteristics of a sustainable building site and the actions that may be taken to attain it.
Understanding Sustainability in Construction
Understanding what sustainability means in construction is necessary before discussing sustainable construction sites. To improve both the health and well-being of those who utilize buildings and infrastructure, sustainable construction aims to minimize their negative effects on the environment. This entails utilizing eco-friendly materials, creating energy-efficient structures, and minimizing waste and pollution.
The Challenges of Building a Sustainable Construction Site
It takes work to create a sustainable construction site. The building sector has historically produced a lot of trash and a lot of pollutants. This is because equipment and tools used during building can have a high carbon footprint, and construction sites frequently use a lot of energy. Furthermore, many construction industry experts need to gain knowledge or comprehension of sustainable techniques.
The benefits of sustainable construction
Many advantages of sustainable construction can be categorized into the following three groups:
Using green building materials and energy will aid in the fight against climate change. Moreover, cleaner buildings will reduce pollutants and waste.
Although expensive materials are sometimes criticized in sustainable construction, green structures are frequently regarded as more valuable than conventional ones. According to data, they are worth 7% more than conventional buildings, and green construction projects also boost the likelihood that tenants or households will save money on utility bills.
The social benefits of green construction have been increasing as a driver, especially occupant health and well-being, which underlines the significance of people in the built environment, according to the Global Green Building Council‘s 2018 report.
Sustainable building results in better health for those who utilize the structures and has also been demonstrated to increase worker productivity during construction due to better surroundings, work conditions, and noise protection.
Importance of Sustainable Construction
Due to the obvious implications of global warming, there is now a much greater need for a more sustainable and affordable alternative. The environmental harm already done by the construction sector is beyond comprehension. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) states that “increasing urbanization and construction activities will result in more garbage, which will ultimately degrade natural resources and wildlife habitats over 70% of the land area from now until 2032.”
Because it greatly disturbs us and our future generations, there is an increasing need for sustainability in the building industry. Since its inception, the building sector has largely contributed to the ongoing destruction of our ecology, accounting for:
- 27% of all UK CO2 emissions come from household buildings, while 18% come from non-domestic sources.
- Hot water and space heating together account for 72% of household emissions.
- Building construction and demolition trash accounts for 32% of landfill garbage.
- 13% of building debris is discarded without being utilized and is instead transferred to a landfill.
- For construction companies and important decision-makers, finding a solution to this issue has become a top priority to minimize using raw materials and natural resources and decrease their carbon footprints.
To achieve these goals, numerous businesses have begun taking the necessary measures towards designing, remodelling, or creating facilities in line with environmental laws and sustainable building practices.
Even though the cost of renewable construction is greater throughout the project, reputable companies and well-known contractors are pursuing sustainable development in the building industry. Over the past few years, there has been significant growth in the adoption of sustainable techniques and materials, which has decreased the price of sustainability in buildings.
Sustainable Building Materials
The materials used are one of the best ways to practice sustainability in construction. Newer, stronger, and more advanced building materials have the potential to alleviate numerous industry issues and advance the sustainability of current processes.
By lowering the carbon footprint of the buildings that employ them, these materials also contribute to environmental protection. They are more effective and aesthetically pleasing, supporting a sustainable future and a cleaner Earth.
Bamboo is one of the most eco-friendly building materials because of its renewable and adaptable qualities. Although bamboo is a species of grass, it is flexible and has strength like wood. Bamboo can be used in construction projects for various purposes, including supporting concrete, creating scaffolds, roofing, and other structures.
2. Recycled Plastic
The world’s population produced 139 million tonnes of single-use plastic in 2021, most of which ended up in landfills or contaminated waterways. We can now recycle plastic to produce building materials like plastic sheets, bricks and timber, thanks to recent breakthroughs in science and construction.
3. Laminated Timber
Laminate wood, also called mass wood, is prefabricated wood with more strength and water resistance than regular wood. Given that it can replace steel and concrete, its strength and water resistance are crucial characteristics. Steel and concrete have substantially higher carbon footprints compared to mass timber during production.
Stone is a naturally occurring substance in the ground that can be used for construction and interior decoration, including titles and worktops. Due to its adaptability, stone produces little to no waste in construction projects and is long-lasting and low-maintenance.
A natural mud mixture called cob is created using soil, straw, sand, and lime. The use of cob as a substitute for concrete in building residential constructions is the most common.
Cob production costs less money and emits less carbon dioxide than concrete production. The material has certain drawbacks, though, including a longer construction time and a higher susceptibility to mould in very humid environments.
To insulate homes and other buildings, cork, now popular in European construction, is gradually making its way to the United States. The cork oak tree produces cork. Most importantly, there is no need to destroy the tree because the material is manually picked from the tree’s bark.
7. Adobe Brick
The Middle East and the Americas are regions where adobe brick has been used for ages. Clay and straw are combined to create Adobe, which makes bricks for dwellings and other buildings. The real benefit of Adobe is that it employs earth-based components that are already present and require less energy.
7. Green Cement
Green cement is a kind of cement that is made with substitute components or methods that produce less carbon dioxide (CO2) than conventional cement production. Green cement, uses recycled materials, industrial waste, and even agricultural waste to lessen the carbon footprint of cement production.
It takes work to create a sustainable construction site. Still, it’s essential to lessen the industry’s negative environmental effects and enhance the health and wellness of those who utilize buildings and infrastructure. We can establish building sites that are both sustainable and economical by utilizing sustainable materials, designing for energy efficiency, eliminating waste and pollution, and placing a priority on health and safety.
What are the benefits of sustainable construction?
Sustainable construction promotes environmental responsibility, resource conservation, and energy efficiency. It also enhances the health and well-being of building occupants.
Are sustainable materials more expensive than traditional materials?
Sustainable materials can be more expensive than traditional materials, but their use can result in long-term cost savings through reduced maintenance and energy costs.
How can construction companies promote sustainable practices among their employees?
Construction companies can promote sustainable practices among employees by providing training and resources on sustainable design and construction principles, setting sustainability goals and targets, and incentivizing sustainable behaviours.
What is the role of green building certification programs in sustainable construction?
Green building certification programs provide a framework for assessing and certifying the sustainability of buildings and infrastructure. They encourage sustainable design and construction practices and provide a benchmark for measuring performance.
Can sustainable construction sites be more time-consuming to build?
Sustainable construction sites can require more planning and specialized skills, which can result in longer construction times. However, the long-term benefits of sustainable construction can outweigh the initial time investment.