Sustainability is defined as the desire to perform activities without any depletion of resources or bringing harmful effects on the environment. Sustainability practices have increasingly moved to the forefront for businesses, with companies of all sizes and across industries placing emphasis on lowering its environmental impacts. The construction industry is no different. Today more than ever construction companies and general contractors are changing their techniques and materials acquisition throughout the construction process to reduce waste, energy consumption and various inefficiencies at building sites.
Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, here are some of the ways we can work to further the focus on sustainability in construction.
Material selection is one of the easiest ways for general contractors to improve the environmental impact of a project. Selecting materials that are manufactured from recycled products and local sources can drastically improve sustainability on a project. LEED points are awarded based on material selection and are even based on the long-term efficiency of appliances and fixtures. For example, water use reduction has become a major issue and is something that can be easily addressed by selecting automatic faucets and toilets.
The use of prefabricated materials, or materials that are pre-cut in a controlled environment, decrease waste and lead to stronger end products. For this reason, selecting prefabricated materials has become a key strategy for saving time and increasing the sustainability of a project. For example, using BIM software to pre-cut sheet metal in a controlled environment will avoid shape-changing issues potentially caused by hot or cold temperatures. Through the use of pre-fab materials we see improved quality of buildings, with less waste.
Construction Waste Management
Historically, the construction industry has approached construction waste with a simple process: use and dispose. Building an effective waste management process is a key element in reducing the industry’s waste issue. The evolving process is focused on two key components: sustainability and cost efficiency. To address these considerations, contractors need to develop site waste management plans, choose environmentally friendly haulers, explore offsite construction options, prepare refurbishment audits, and develop internal communication strategies. With the sustainability of the industry under scrutiny, contractors are facing more pressure than ever to build sustainable waste management plans into every project.
At Green Heart, we believe that it is important to protect our planet’s valuable and limited resources. The transformation happening today in the construction industry is amazing, and Green Heart Enterprises is excited to be a part of that evolution.