Climate change, environmental damage, pollution and energy shortages. Those are the stark realities as the harmful impact of human activity upon the planet becomes ever more clear. The construction industry has a huge role to play in lessening the damage being done to the environment.
Construction activity accounts for around 10 percent of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions, and this figure grows to 45 per cent when factoring in the whole life cycle of building from design through to construction and demolition.
As a result, new green methods of construction are needed now more than ever. Private homes also account for around a fifth of global carbon dioxide emissions, meaning eco-friendly housing is no longer a concept for the future but must be delivered now.
These facts demonstrate just how important the current drive for green construction methods really is, but until recently, progress has been slow.
So, what can be done to reduce the harmful effects that construction has on the environment? The following fundamental practices are now no longer optional but must be embedded within every construction project.
Reducing the impact on the surrounding area
Excavation and construction work can lay waste to the natural environment. Minimising the impact by retaining soil, shrubs, trees and other vegetation can have a positive impact and add considerably to the finished project.
Sourcing local materials
Sourcing products locally means reducing the carbon footprint from transporting materials over long distances. It also means improving the sustainability of local firms to maintain a diverse supply base around the country.
Reusing building materials
Construction processes create a whole load of waste. Often, a lot of this ends up in a landfill when some of the materials could be reused elsewhere or sent to a crushing facility which can turn a waste product into something like dry aggregate, for example.
Moving construction offsite
Pre-assembly of construction components in a factory environment, rather than on the site itself, can significantly reduce the time it takes to complete a structure and therefore reduces the impact of the activity. This is because work both on-site and in the factory can run concurrently and pollution can be reduced by quicker assembly times. Factory environments tend to be cleaner and easier to control than a construction site, which reduces waste and pollution from assembly processes.
Making the transport fleet more efficient
Transportation accounts for around a fifth of the UK’s CO2 emissions. Replacing older diesel guzzlers with efficient new transport makes sense both for cost purposes and for environmental benefits.
Designing ecological structures
Because running and operating buildings continues to generate pollution long after the construction has been completed, it’s essential that energy-efficient techniques are built into the design of the building. This includes low-energy lighting and efficient ways of using water and solar energy.
As news headlines become ever more dominated by environmental issues and the consequences of climate change, now more than ever, construction firms are expected to analyse every aspect of their operation and consider how it can be made more efficient and “greener”.
Lydon Contracting Ltd
Your Total Construction Solution
Tel: 01327 811533