Understanding various sustainable construction techniques for an effective implementation
Construction is one of the most resource-intensive industries. Various parts of the construction process have negative environmental consequences. However, considering rising environmental concerns, it is critical to embrace environmentally friendly buildings.
Sustainable construction is also known as Green Building. It refers to the application of sustainable methods of constructing and the use of renewable and recyclable resources on construction sites. When it comes to new structures, sustainable construction lowers power consumption and waste generation. Sustainable construction is a method of construction that improves people’s ability to build and live. It aims to make construction operations more resource-efficient and environmentally friendly. It also ensures the building’s long-term sustainability.
Structures in a sustainable building are meant to have a reduced environmental effect throughout their entire lifespan while providing people and communities with the level of comfort and usefulness they desire. From a business standpoint, a sustainable structure helps companies to expand without harming the environment.
Why sustainable construction is important
In the past, the building sector has:
- Consumed a large portion of the earth’s resources.
- Produced pollutants and garbage that pollute the environment.
- Created conditions that result in the depletion of soils and biodiversity.
- Caused havoc on life support systems.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the building and construction sector consumes 36 percent of world energy and emits roughly 40 percent of carbon dioxide into the environment (CISION, 2021).
Although many different business sectors are working to become more sustainable, the construction industry is unique as it can have a substantial impact on how these practices are implemented. This is due to the industry’s enormous use of resources and energy. By its very nature, the building sector consumes a lot of natural resources. However, as worries about climate change and the limited nature of these resources rise, construction companies are under increasing pressure to decrease their environmental effect.
The main objective of sustainable construction is to minimize the industry’s environmental effect. Building and construction operations in nations that are members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) utilize the following materials, according to the Supply Chain Sustainability School:
- Between 25 and 40 % of energy.
- 30% of raw materials.
- Global greenhouse gas emissions account for 30-40% of total emissions.
- Solid trash generation accounts for 30-40% of total waste creation.
As a result, sustainable construction is becoming a viable option.
Sustainable Construction Objectives
Sustainable building involves considering the environmental consequences of the materials and procedures we use to complete a project. The sustainable building also includes conserving energy and minimizing noise pollution during the construction process. All of these things work collectively to decrease the environmental effect of the building.
From planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and destruction, sustainable construction refers to both a structure and the implementation of procedures that are ecologically responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life cycle.
However, sustainable construction should not cease when the building is finished; the structure should have a lower environmental effect during its lifetime. This indicates that components in the building design should have a long-term positive impact on the building’s carbon footprint.
Unlike traditional structures, which consume too much energy to maintain, sustainable buildings contain a variety of energy-saving features. Sustainable structures should ideally include adequate insulation, long-lasting construction materials, and energy-generating solar panels. Wind turbines can also be used in certain residential and business buildings.
The Advantages of Sustainable Building
Although there are many advantages to sustainable building, making the switch is not an easy one. Using the best practices takes time and planning. To begin using sustainable techniques, training must be implemented, which requires time and money.
Despite the obstacles, more public and private property owners and developers are opting for a greener and more sustainable building method. Especially now that the consequences of climate change are being felt across the world. Every day, there is a growing demand for cleaner, greener places, which is driving the development of sustainable buildings. Sustainability becomes even more essential as the consequences of climate change worsen. While there are difficulties, the advantages of a sustainable building can pave the road for a cleaner future.
Sustainable Construction Principles
During construction projects, special attention must be paid to reducing waste and energy consumption as much as possible, as well as protecting the natural environment surrounding the construction site. An ecologically friendly structure or environment must be the final result of a sustainable construction project.
The following seven principles of sustainable construction are a way for minimizing the overall carbon footprint while contributing to a greener built environment.
- environmentally friendly design
- efficiency in terms of energy
- reducing waste
- air quality in the home
- conservation of water
- environmentally friendly construction elements
Sustainable Construction Methods and Materials
Sustainable construction materials
One of the finest methods to implement sustainability in the building is through the materials that are used in the process. A new generation of construction materials that are stronger, lighter, and more sustainable can help solve many challenges in the industry while also pushing present methods to be more sustainable. These materials also aid the environment by lowering the carbon footprint of buildings that employ them. Architects and clients can practice sustainable construction by choosing recycled materials that are sourced locally.
1. Sustainable bamboo flooring for construction
Materials might range from sustainable products like bamboo for the flooring to wood purchased from vendors.
Bamboo has a long and successful history as a construction material. It is a lightweight, long-lasting, and renewable material. Bamboo is a fast-growing plant that requires no replanting after harvest and self-generates at an astonishing rate. In terms of construction, it has a higher compressive strength than brick or concrete, allowing it to hold huge loads and survive harsh circumstances over time.
2. Sustainable concrete alternative for construction
Companies can use alternatives to concrete. Concrete causes approximately half of all construction waste produced each year, amounting to more than 500 million tons globally (Callinan, 2019). Bamboo, recycled plastic, and even hempcrete are all green building materials that can be used instead of concrete. Choosing to employ 100 percent recycled plastic on projects is well worth the expenditure since constructions made of this long-lasting material can endure up to 20 years longer than standard concrete or wood structures.
Another option to substitute traditional concrete is precast concrete slabs, which are incredibly robust and can endure all types of weather. This low-cost building material is frequently utilized for walls and building facades. Producing and constructing the slabs uses less energy than many traditional concrete varieties, making it a more environmentally friendly option. This type of concrete also helps to control heat, which saves money for property owners by reducing the amount of time they need to use the air conditioner.
3. Sustainable metal alternatives for construction
There are many substitutes for the elements that are used during the building process of construction projects. Builders heavily use metals during the construction process, especially metals like aluminum and steel. Furthermore, the challenge is that mining and processing the metal consumes a lot of energy, which harms the environment.
Recycled metal is a great feasible and sustainable alternative for builders to rely on. It reduces the amount of energy used in the manufacturing process as a whole. Even after being recycled several times, metals retain their characteristics. For example, this means that when steel is repurposed 75 percent less energy is used. Reclaimed wood is also a sustainable alternative to use while building structures.
Recycled wood that has been treated appropriately can be used to construct walls and other buildings. It is typically sourced from old-growth trees, making it more durable than virgin wood from first-generation forests. Reclaiming wood, like reclaimed metal, reduces the amount of energy required to manufacture it.
4. Sustainable thermal insulation for construction
Apart from sustainable alternatives for building, there have also been alternatives for green thermal insulation purposes. Polyester, sheep’s wool, cellulose, and earth wool are some of the materials that can be used.
They aid in the improvement of a building’s energy rating by trapping surplus heat in the winter and keeping it out in the summer. This minimizes the need for energy-intensive temperature control systems like air conditioning, lowering electricity expenses.
Sustainable construction techniques
Using sustainable resources is not the only aspect of sustainable construction. It’s also about employing construction techniques that support renewable and sustainable efforts. Such as the following sustainable construction techniques:
1. Prefabrication of materials in a controlled environment
Building as much of a structure as feasible in a controlled setting has increased building quality and resulted in less debris. Being able to precisely cut materials reduces waste and provides sturdy buildings.
2. Digitizing construction companies
Due to the high amount of paper consumed in physical copies, digitizing items like blueprints and drawings is another option to promote sustainability in the construction business. Investing in green building technology that eliminates the need for paper blueprints and files is environmentally friendly.
3. Control waste generation
Construction Disposal management is critical because waste is a consequence of construction. Instead of being disposed of in a landfill, it might be reused or repurposed. Metal masonry, plastics, plywood, glass, lumber, and other materials can all be recycled or repurposed as construction materials in the future.
4. Improved transportation efficiency
Construction transportation has a significant carbon footprint. You can help by managing your fleet more efficiently and figuring out the best ways to keep your carbon footprint as low as possible.
5. Other sustainable techniques
- Projects that convert old structures through adaptive reuse
- Improving the environment by conserving energy and managing building sites. Examples include on-site water treatment, prohibiting smoking, and recycling food containers, among others.
Sustainable Construction Benefits
The following are a few of the benefits of sustainable construction:
1. Reduction of costs
Although construction is a $10 trillion sector, its financial difficulties cannot be overlooked. In this regard, sustainable construction can be extremely beneficial. Overall, green construction is less expensive than a conventional structure because fewer resources are required to complete the project. Properties constructed with environmentally friendly materials have a much better resale value.
2. A clean environment always make a difference
By committing to sustainable construction standards, companies are benefiting far more than just their own company’s operations or the local environment. Companies are helping create a more sustainable environment on a global basis, which will benefit future generations greatly.
3. New market Creation
The introduction of sustainable building has aided the construction market’s evolution and opened up new opportunities. A sustainable building can be a great place for industry innovators to test new things. As a result of the utilization of new materials, more novel procedures are being created and implemented.
4. Better quality of life and increased productivity
Sustainable construction has numerous advantages at all stages of the construction process. Increased productivity due to better surroundings and more effective noise protection, as well as improved health due to safer materials. The healthier the working atmosphere, the easier it is for employees to concentrate and complete duties efficiently.
5. A good reputation for businesses
As the global climate situation worsens and public awareness develops, so will the demand for sustainable structures. Green construction is on the rise, with the market for sustainable construction materials expected to reach $377 billion by 2022. Companies will gain a solid reputation if they are known for their environmentally friendly construction procedures.
6. Increases economic growth
Environmental-friendly construction can also create a lot of jobs and benefit the economy. As the world is devasted by climate change, efforts to mitigate its consequences have intensified, resulting in a higher need for construction workers and a rise in construction jobs.
Sustainable Architecture Examples
Here are some sustainable construction examples that might inspire a lot of people to adopt these sustainable construction practices.
1. Tower of The Bank of America
The Bank of America tower in New York City is widely regarded as one of the world’s most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly skyscrapers.
The structure has its power plant, which generates 4.6 megawatts of sustainable energy. It also makes use of:
- CO2 detectors.
- Its bathrooms have waterless urinals and low-flow toilets.
- LED lighting that saves energy.
2. Apartments K2
This housing complex, which was built in 2007 in Australia, is expected to last 200 years and is powered entirely by renewable energy. The following eco-friendly characteristics are included in this structure:
- Rainwater harvesting and collection
- Recycled wood
- Greywater re-use
- Solar-powered water heating
- Photovoltaic panels (PV panels) (converts solar energy directly into electricity)
3. The Center for Sustainable Development
Montreal, Canada is home to the Centre for Sustainable Development. It was designed to be a paradigm for environmentally friendly construction.
- A five-story living wall that works as a natural air filter is included in the center.
- Glass countertops created from recycled glass
- Heating and cooling systems based on geothermal energy
- Floor heating with a raised platform
To conclude, it is the need of the hour to adopt sustainable construction management. Companies can adopt all the above-mentioned techniques for their gains as well as for the betterment of the environment. Governments can intervene by making policies and providing funds to encourage companies to start using sustainable construction. People working in the construction industry should be aware of sustainable methods and clients should also be educated so they can make better choices when building their structures.
What is your stand on this particular topic? Let us know in the comment section below.
BigRentz, I. (2020, February 4). Big Rentz. Retrieved from BigRentz: https://www.bigrentz.com/blog/sustainable-construction
Callinan, T. (2019, August 12). Fieldwire. Retrieved from fieldwire: https://www.fieldwire.com/blog/four-steps-for-more-sustainable-construction-management/
CISION. (2021, June). Retrieved from Prnewswire: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-sustainable-building-and-construction-research-report-2021-focus-on-reducing-embodied-carbon-using-net-zero-energy-buildings-incorporation-of-biophillic-designs-301320898.html
Go Construct. (2020, september 25). Retrieved from goconstruct: https://www.goconstruct.org/why-choose-construction/whats-happening-in-construction/sustainability-in-construction-1/
Herzing college . (2020, October 20). Retrieved from blog.herzing: https://blog.herzing.ca/sustainable-architecture-4-amazing-examples-of-green-buildings
Koutsogiannis, A. (2018, May 22). Construction Executive. Retrieved from constructionexec: https://www.constructionexec.com/article/ten-benefits-of-sustainable-construction
Steers, S. (2021, June). Construction. Retrieved from constructionglobal: https://constructionglobal.com/construction-projects/five-ways-make-your-construction-site-more-sustainable
Hello everybody I am Sara Sahai Marwah, and I am a content writer. I write articles about sustainability and how to achieve it for Bleed Green. I am a second-year at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts. I am currently majoring in International Relations with a double minor in psychology and media studies.