Can Construction Ever Be Sustainable?

Can Construction Ever Be Sustainable?

When you think of construction projects, you might not think that they are all that environmentally friendly and sustainable. After all, they involve completely changing the landscape and using large pieces of equipment and heavy machinery. There’s no way that you could ever reduce all the energy that these kinds of projects use, right? Well, that isn't always true anymore. These days, thanks to the public being more aware of the state that the environment is in and a desire to improve this, there is now a huge onus on construction companies to try and be as sustainable as possible. Even individuals who are taking on a one-off building project in their own home are now eager to use techniques and use materials that will lessen the overall impact their work has on the environment.

Thanks to all of these increased efforts, it is now easier than ever before to ensure various construction projects are eco-friendly and sustainable. Whether you run your own building firm or have just been thinking about adding an extension to the side of your home, you will certainly be able to ensure that your work will be good for the environment.

Interested in improving your construction methods? Here are some steps you can take to ensure there is as little impact on the environment as possible.

Do Plenty Of Initial Research

As with any project that you carry out, research is always going to be very key. This gives you the best possible chance to find out about all the different sustainable methods and techniques that you could use so that you can find the one that is the best fit for your project. However, before you do carry out some research, you should apply for planning permission to make sure that your project gets the official go ahead. If you don’t get the necessary permission, you could end up being fined and told to remove the building work. Obviously, that is going to be very costly and a big waste of time! So, research your project so that you can write up a winning proposal for the planning offices, and so that you can discover all the best sustainable techniques to use.

Use Sustainable Local Materials

When you are looking to buy some materials for use in your project, you need to find ones that were created and produced using sustainable methods. If you don’t, then the materials that you use could end up making your project a lot less eco-friendly than what you had originally intended. One of the best ways to make sure that they are sustainable is to source them locally. They then won’t have to travel too far to get to you. If you do order materials that need to be shipped out to you, you will find that they have quite a large carbon footprint because of all the miles they have had to travel to get to you.

Look For Contractors Who Use Sustainable Methods

The contractors that you decide to hire will also have an impact on the overall sustainability of your construction project. If the company you contract the work out to doesn’t use environmentally friendly techniques or eco-friendly materials and tools, then it could greatly increase the project’s overall carbon footprint. So, this is, again, where research comes into play. You need to research a few different contractors to ensure that you fully understand the methods and materials that they will be using. It’s a good idea to try and get some word-of-mouth recommendations as someone you know might be able to recommend you a builder to use. It’s also a worth taking a look at the contractor’s website to see if they are affiliated to any sustainable organizations or if they have any certificates in sustainable construction methods. Most firms now look for these kinds of affiliations to try and win more business from environmentally minded clients and customers.

Hire Local Contractors

Just like with your materials, you should also try and find contractors who are local to you. The closer you source your contractors to your project, then the fewer miles they will need to travel to get to you. So, it’s worth checking out the likes of Helitech Civil Construction Division, or another local firm to you, when it comes to hiring for your project. This can also cut down some costs for you. For example, if you hire a firm from another state, then they would probably have to pay to stay in a local hotel while they work on your project. The accommodation bill would be added to your invoices, which could greatly increase the overall cost of the work. They might even charge you the price of gas for them to travel to you and your project.

Manage Waste Better

Another aspect of construction that can detract from the overall environmental friendliness of a building project is all of the waste that can build up. This will need to be disposed of, and the methods of disposal that you choose could have an impact on the sustainability of the project. Ideally, your waste needs to be recycled if at all possible. However, there will be some forms of wastes that won’t be able to be reused or recycled. Unfortunately, some of it will need to be taken to the traditional methods of disposal, such as an incinerator. Thankfully, though, there is a lot of research being carried out into construction waste management and new, much more eco-friendly, methods of construction are being developed right now as we speak. So, it’s worth research to see if there are any new waste disposal methods that you might be able to take advantage of.

Consider Your Landscaping Options

Did you know that the way you landscape the land around your new building could also improve its sustainability? It’s true! One of the best things you can do is to plant trees, flowers, and plants that can help to control the ground conditions. For instance, there are a lot of plants that are low-maintenance and don’t require a lot of water. These can help keep the soil in the ground firm, and as they don’t need a lot of work on them, they reduce the amount of energy needed to keep the outside areas looking great. You can even plant trees and hedges around your new house or extension to minimize the effect of wind on the building. Excessive wind that hits the side of the building can make it very cold inside, and will result in a lot of energy being needed to keep the temperature warm inside. So, planting insulating hedges and trees around the new structure can help keep it nice and snug inside without having to leave the central heating on all the time!

Consider The Building’s Energy Use

If you are building a whole new property, you should carefully consider the type of heating that you are going to put in the building before you start. As well as this, take some time to think about the energy that the building will run. This could dictate how you build the property, as you might want to construct it in such a way that promotes the use of sustainable energy sources, such as solar and wind. So, when you are in the very early planning stages and just writing up the blueprints, consider what energy you want in the building as you might need to add some important system information to the construction plans.

Train Construction Workers

If you have your own construction company and want to make the whole firm as sustainable as possible, then you need to start training your workers and builders in eco-friendly best practices. This can help raise awareness amongst them about the reasons why we need construction to be more environmentally friendly. Not only that, though, but this will also train them in all of the latest sustainable methods, practices, and techniques. They will learn all about the importance of better waste disposal too. They can then use everything that they learn in their training to improve their methods of work, and become a lot better at sustainable construction.

Be Efficient With Space

In order to create design efficiency, you need to be a lot more efficient with your use of space. This is important while you work, but you also need to bear it in mind so that the finished design is efficient with space too. For instance, a property that has a great use of space will be very light and airy, which will reduce the need for so many electric lights and lamps. Overall, that will reduce the electricity usage in the property. Raised flooring can also help insulate a property and provides space for eco-friendly underfloor heating.

As you can see then, there are a lot of different ways that construction can indeed be made a lot more sustainable. Hopefully, you can use some of these yourself to improve all of your future projects!

Featured Image from Shutterstock

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