The construction industry has historically been a costly and timely field, having a huge impact on the environment due to huge energy usage and emissions. With almost 40% of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2018 coming from construction, this points to alarming figures which ultimately need to change. Therefore greater emphasis has now been placed on sustainable architecture and construction in recent years.
What is sustainable construction?
Amid efforts to reduce the carbon footprint within the construction industry, there has been a push in incentives across the globe in order to lower emissions via governments who are pushing for a green agenda. Due to this, sustainability has become a focal point in the world of architecture and construction, leading to architects and engineers exploring new sustainable strategies for their future plans resulting in the creation of sustainable construction.
Although definitions can vary, sustainable construction means using renewable and recyclable materials on new buildings to help reduce consumption and toxic waste. In order to decrease the impact of the industry on the environment, more sustainable construction procedures are implemented, including utlising green technology.
Sustainable construction doesn’t end when the building is completed. Instead, the building itself should carry a reduced impact on the environment over the course of its entire lifespan. In order for this to happen, the building design, elements and materials should have a positive, or rather not a negative, impact on the environment. This includes having solar panels to reduce energy consumption, proper insulation to stop heat loss and MDF to use discarded wood for furniture.
How to make the construction process sustainable
There are a few major ways to reduce the environmental impact of constructing new buildings through the following sustainable methods:
Building with sustainable materials
There are numerous materials that have been and still are being created to accommodate sustainable construction. These are created specifically to be non-toxic to the environment and designed to be long lasting to avoid any further construction having to be undertaken throughout the years.
These materials include the likes of alternative bricks that can be created out of mud, wool and even cigarette butts, that are as strong as traditional bricks.
Reducing and reusing resources
One of the main benefits in building green, apart from the reduced impact on the environment, is that they do not require as many resources as other types of construction. Sustainable projects always aim to reduce the use of resources and to reuse them when possible during the construction process.
It also means that these buildings are designed in a way to provide opportunity to disassemble and reuse the building even when it has been fully formed. This also minimises wastage on construction projects, as materials are often reused.
Use renewable energy
Using solar panels is a popular alternative method for energy provisions, and it is something that is incorporated into sustainable construction in various ways. Sustainable buildings will usually use solar panels to collect clean renewable energy in the form of sunlight, then converting that light into electricity for the building or using it to heat water.
Renewable energy is also used as part of the construction process too. By using a modular battery system, this allows batteries to be charged via solar panels which can then power electric tools and vehicles, This helps reduce CO2 emissions significantly throughout the construction process.
Benefits of a sustainable construction project
There are a plethora of benefits to creating a sustainable project. Whether it be direct or indirect, all benefits help the return on investment on the project:
Sustainable construction has become increasingly popular throughout the last few years. With buyers more interested and invested in buying green, there is a growing demand in the market to create these types of projects. Studies are now showing that buying green is seen as a more attractive option, especially as emphasis around the globe is placed on moving towards a net zero world.
With a growing market, it is worth investing in a sustainable project; not only to keep up with the times, but to also be a part of a movement that helps the environment.
Reduced costs in sustainable construction
Using sustainable methods of construction will inevitably save you significant energy and water bills. This is due to the methods of energy preservations that are put into place. By using recycled and reusable materials, this will also have a positive impact on the cost of the entire project.
There are great savings that can be made during the construction process, but this also carries on for the remainder of the building’s lifetime due to ROI increasing as the property value increases due to the sustainability factor. Buildings can save up to 20% on energy bills due to maintenance programs that target energy efficiency.