What is Sustainable Construction?
The construction industry is one of the biggest users of natural resources. With more pressure than ever to make sure we’re all doing our part to preserve our planet, how can sustainable construction help? And how does precast concrete play a role?
Right now, research shows that the construction sector accounts for 36% of worldwide energy usage, and 40% of CO2 emissions . With those staggering statistics, it’s undeniable that to fit in better with green initiatives and to better do our part towards sustainability, the industry must adapt.
For the sustainable construction movement to get traction, we’d need to see businesses moving from their current linear economy to a circular economy. Right now, 13% of products delivered to construction sites are sent directly to landfill without being used.
To combat climate change, construction companies need to commit to using renewable and recyclable sources, reducing their energy consumption and waste, and protecting the natural environment. Hard asks when you consider that for a lot of construction projects to be carried out, natural environments are often cleared.
But, with The Guardian reporting just this year that the number of new UK homes registered to be built hit a 13-year high , the need and speed of construction certainly isn’t slowing down.
We’d love to help with your next construction project. Contact us today to begin your journey.
So what are the key ideas behind Sustainable Construction?
As we’ve presented in our infographic (right - click to expand), the main ideas behind sustainable construction are cyclical. The cycle starts with materials and ends in disposal.
Materials. Choosing renewable or recyclable materials for a build is the preference here. If the industry can make better use of recycled materials such as concrete aggregate or reclaimed bricks, we’d see fewer carbon emissions coming from material production.
Transport. Responsible sourcing also plays a role. Ordering materials or contractors from further afoot increases the carbon footprint of the entire project. Additionally, investing in a greener fleet for your work team will end up saving you money in running costs.
Assembly. Methods of assembly, (waste management) and the equipment used to accommodate it, also have an impact on a sustainable build—this is where precast fits in, made to specification and delivered and installed with ease cuts down on unwanted materials.
Building use. Instilling the ability to use energy and water in the building efficiently helps it fit sustainable regulations. Installing solar panelling alongside low consumption fittings and controls are some options that aid this.
Maintenance. If designs make use of natural light and passive ventilation, and quality sustainable equipment is installed during the building phase, maintenance becomes more straightforward and less resource-heavy. Additionally, any waste can be reused or recycled.
Disposal. Reusing or recycling materials is the aim of sustainable construction, with a commitment to Zero To Landfill.
One of the biggest barriers for construction is cost
While making a move to sustainable construction seems obvious, it’s not easy. And the main barrier is cost. Moving towards more sustainable materials has cost implementations, ones that make it difficult for companies to compete in bidding for work when budgets are tighter.
With more demanding builds, keeping transport to a minimum can be challenging too. The long and short of it is that for the industry to adopt this cyclical process, businesses will need to commit to the price of sustainability fully.
There are ways that businesses can start the transition.
We’re committed to zero waste to landfill
One thing that we’re committed to, that other businesses can get involved in is zero waste to landfill. You can learn more about the movement in this article by The Carbon Trust.
As we mentioned above, because all of our products are precast in concrete - made bespoke to project specifications - and delivered and installed on-site, there is zero waste. Precast allows us to keep our manufacturing, delivery and installation as sustainable as possible by ensuring no product we make ends up in landfill.