With so many natural disasters in the world today, it feels more pressing than ever to make an effort to make our communities more environmentally sustainable. But when it comes to analyzing your construction company’s methods, it can be difficult to know where to start. This article will walk you through a few different things you can do to take the lead in environmentally sustainable construction.
Green Building Standards
When figuring out where to start when taking the initiative to be more sustainable, consulting green building standards is one of the first things you should do. Green building standards vary across states, but generally, the process for attaining the green stamp of approval is the same.
Houses are rated for their sustainability based on a series of criteria. When they meet certain criteria, they receive points. The number of points you get determines the rank of your home’s sustainability. Some of the criteria include resource, energy, and water efficiency.
Being aware of these criteria will help you have your radar up for opportunities to make the homes you build more environmentally friendly. Sometimes, the environmentally friendly decision is the same cost as the non-environmentally friendly option.
Reducing emissions is one of the main ways that you can make a positive difference in making your business more environmentally stable. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), resource extraction and processing account for more than 90 percent of global biodiversity loss.
One initial action you can take to reduce your emissions is choosing low-carbon concrete mixes. Because each project typically uses a lot of concrete, the relatively small ratio of carbon in the concrete becomes a significant amount. Choosing lower-carbon alternatives can make a big impact in how you reduce your own carbon footprint.
Recycled materials can contribute to more sustainable development. When it comes to purchasing these materials, you may be wondering where you go to find them. The answer might surprise you. If you’re working on a smaller project, starting with Craigslist might actually be a really good idea.
Lots of people post their extra building materials like brick, lumber, and sometimes granite. Not only is this environmentally friendly, but purchasing building materials off Craigslist could actually save you big money in the long run.
If you’re working on a bigger construction project, you should also consider looking at websites that are dedicated to providing you with sustainable materials. You’ll be surprised at some of the beautiful materials you can find.
Changing your waste disposal method is perhaps one of the biggest opportunities that you have to be more environmentally conscious. There are a variety of ways to make your waste disposal more efficient. For starters, you could change the way you house waste during the actual construction job. In fact, bottom dump hoppers are more efficient than conventional hoppers and help with waste disposal.
In addition to making your disposal method more efficient, you should also consider being more conscious about recycling materials. Concrete tends to be one of the most frequently wasted materials. Making efforts to recycle any extra concrete can make a big difference.
Be Precise about Materials
In addition to being deliberate about your waste disposal, you should also be precise when you cut your materials. The most effective way to eliminate waste when cutting your materials is to use prefabrication. Prefabrication is the method by which building parts are built offsite and then delivered to the building location ready to be assembled.
This allows you to only use the materials that you need. You won’t need to fill any dumpsters with waste.
Be Efficient with Equipment
When it comes to sustainable construction, it’s easy to forget about the impact of the machines you are using. But in reality, between equipment like bulldozers and backhoes, you can actually end up using a lot of energy. Having large machines like this running idly can end up being quite wasteful.
If you only have machines turned on for the time when they are actually in use, you could end up saving both a lot of energy, but also money. In addition, limiting the time that heavy equipment is in use can also help prevent potential injuries that could occur when using that heavy-duty equipment.
Standardize Building Procedures
Another effective method to reduce your carbon footprint is to standardize your building procedures. It may not initially seem obvious how this would affect your sustainability. But in reality, a lot of energy and resources are wasted when you change your building procedures from project to project.
If you have to retrain workers on different equipment and different methods, you’ll inevitably have some bumps at the beginning that generally bring with them some inefficiency.
And besides, finding a way to standardize your building procedures will not only increase your overall efficiency, but it will also save you money. When you can train your workers on less techniques that they learn to master, you’ll be able to get more done in less time.
Work with Local Suppliers
Working with local suppliers can make a big difference in increasing sustainability. Shipping and handling for bigger pieces like cabinets or countertops can result in not only expensive shipping rates but also in a greater carbon footprint.
Do your research to find local suppliers that can provide you with the right materials you consistently need. Not only will this allow you to develop more sustainable business practices and support local businesses, but you may also be able to negotiate better deals between you and the supplier.
If you can commit to the supplier that you will bring them a large amount of your business, they may be willing to lower prices for the materials you need to purchase.
Making your company more environmentally friendly can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with some of these suggestions and see where they take you. Even small changes can make a big difference.
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If you have ever found yourself driving the wrong way in a parking lot lane, or weren’t sure how you would get out of the lot once you entered, you have faced the negatives of bad parking lot design. You want your business to be easy and accessible, and having good parking helps customers find you. Here are some things to consider when designing your business’s parking lot.
Conserving the space that you have is incredibly important. Even if you might have a small parking lot, you can fit more people in the stalls with some clever planning. Diagonal stalls have been used to conserve space and allow for more cars to park at the supermarket. Make sure you don’t have a dumpster or other objects blocking potential parking spots as well.
When necessary and possible, encourage customers to park somewhere nearby. You might want to add parking information to your business’s website.
Building it to Last
You want your business to look and feel professional, and having a well-made parking lot can help provide that image. Without resealing every 2 to 4 years, your asphalt will begin to erode. Investing in resealing every few years can prevent worse damage to your asphalt, saving you a lot of money on getting it fixed or redone entirely. It’s all about the long-game when it comes to your parking lot.
An Intuitive Flow
Driving in your parking lot should be natural and intuitive for your customers. Making a well-designed parking lot makes you and your customers happy without them even knowing it. The worst thing a parking lot can do is provide confusion—especially when a lot of cars are out driving at once.
Make sure your parking lot has a natural flow to it. Paint arrows on the ground in certain areas so cars know where they should go. Ensure that the area is well lit and makes sense. If you are not sure if it is natural or not, think about what the customer would feel in your lot.
People make early first impressions when they interact with a business, and your parking lot should be something they do not think of. If they are concerned or seem annoyed by the way the traffic flows outside of your building, they might have the wrong attitude when they come into your building. The best designs are the ones where people don’t even notice that they were designed in the first place.
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It shouldn’t be any surprise by now that people value sustainability. From product sourcing to power sources to waste processing, the trend towards going green and being sustainable isn’t going away. This means making adjustments to how things are designed, manufactured, built, and disposed of. Parking garages are no exception. There are some great additions that can be used to make a parking garage more sustainable.
Green Power Sources
Green energy sources are a great way to make your parking garage more sustainable. According to Bulbs.com, there are different sources you can use to this effect. LED lights have come a long way since their creation, becoming more effective and more cost-efficient than regular bulbs. They are less expensive to purchase now than they used to be as well. Many garages are also starting to mount solar roof panels on the top of the garages in lieu of additional parking. This allows parking garages to save on utility costs and be more sustainable as they generate their own power.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular, which is creating a need for charging stations. Adding charging stations to parking garages promotes sustainability by encouraging people to utilize electric power instead of gasoline. Maintaining adequate charge is necessary for these vehicles to work in a sustainable manner, so charging up is also a matter of doing so quickly. People won’t want to wait around forever for their car to charge.According to Cali Coast Electronic, the 240-volt circuit can charge up to four times faster than 120-volt chargers. Consider what businesses your parking garage provides parking for and how long people tend to spend there. Then plan accordingly.
One of the commonly touted environmental detractors is exhaust fumes from cars. People spend lots of time slowly cruising around looking for parking spaces in garages. This results in far more exhaust than there would be if parking spaces were easier to find. Fortunately, there is a way to address this. We have technology that allows parking garages to monitor how many cars have entered the structure and where they are currently parked. This information can be transmitted to signs that update regularly with how much parking is available on each floor, and even on each row. This saves drivers time and makes garages more sustainable by cutting down on the production of exhaust fumes.
Parking garages can be sustainable too, just like other building structures and businesses. Technology can be utilized to reduce the emissions produced by people hunting for parking. Electric vehicle charging stations will promote greater use of electric vehicles, further reducing gasoline use and waste production. Green energy sources can also be utilized. These additions can all be utilized to help create a sustainable parking garage.
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There continues to be a great need for senior care facilities all across the country. It is essential for those in charge of these living environments to ensure that their particular assisted living facility is up to code at all times. These state and federal laws vary from state to state, and each care facility is responsible for keeping up with any changes from year to year.
Why Health Is a Special Concern for Assisted Living
To be able to compete with the top assisted living facilities, you need to be up to code at very least, and preferably far better. Competition between the various local care facilities can be fierce, and failing a state health inspection can deter potential facility care clients from entering your facility sometimes far into the future. It is also important to ensure that your facility and staff are equipped to handle the specific health, care and safety needs of each resident living in your environment.
Every assisted living facility is required to check the building for asbestos prior to opening its doors to the public. Failure to do this can set the facility up for lawsuits by care workers, facility residents, and frequent visitors to the setting. This building inspection should be done by a professional contractor experienced in asbestos inspections and removal. Asbestos was used extensively in construction around the turn of the century, and it is known to cause lung issues like cancer.
Mold is another facility concern that can pose a health threat to fragile seniors with complicated health conditions. When conditions are right, mold and mildew can grow quickly. Assisted living facilities should have their buildings inspected by a professional skilled in identifying mold. This inspection should include roofs, basements, attics and crawlspaces. Mold spores are unseen to the naked eye, and they can negatively impact the indoor air quality if the mold gets into the facility’s air duct system.
Facility Cleanliness Concerns
Another critical assisted living facility concern is the overall cleanliness of the building. State health inspectors often show up unannounced in an effort to catch health care workers not following the strict cleanliness guidelines. Determine whether your assisted living facility is up to code by contacting your state Health Department for current regulation details. Many senior care facilities also obtain voluntary certification from JCAHO, an independent inspection agency.
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In the world of construction, time is money. Having a crew that works efficiently and stays on schedule lowers costs as well as helps the company gain a good reputation in the field. The project foreman needs to have the skills that keep the crew on the task promptly ensures a productive day. Keep the following efficiency tips in mind to save money and time.
Have Good Communication
There is nothing worse in construction than having crews standing around while on the clock not knowing what their job is for the day. Good communication is essential to productivity and safety. Texting or emails are ways to give your crew members a heads-up to the tasks that need to be performed before they set foot on the site. Another tip is to have a chart on-site listing a crew member’s goal for the day. Always have someone in charge on-site that can solve problems as they arise.
Keep a High Standard
Having high standards on the worksite is another important factor to consider. There are a number of risks for injury in the workplace, so it’s important to keep high standards to avoid potential accidents and increase efficiency. Let the crew know the safety standards expected of them in each phase of the job. Proper clothing, adequate tools, and proper safety precautions should be everyday aspects of the site. This will also keep productivity high and keep costs in line. It is important that workers follow these instructions for the safety of all.
Have the Necessary Materials Needed on Site
Nothing is more frustrating than having a crew standing around waiting on materials to arrive at the site. Be sure to order ahead so the materials needed are on hand when the crew is ready for them. Have a designated person to make supply runs if needed. If supplies are delayed, have an alternative plan for the crew such as prep work, working another part of the project, or clean-up.
Construction projects are filled with glitches that are not anticipated. Having a schedule that workers are aware of lets them know what is expected of them. Keeping high standards on the worksite gives them the message that you care about them. Having the materials on-site when they are needed conveys that the company is well-organized. When your workers are safe and happy, the work you’ll be able to produce will be fast and efficient.
If you’ve decided to open an apartment complex, you need to know what amenities will help you attract the best tenants. You don’t need to compete with every building in the area, but you should turn to them for inspiration as you begin to look at what most complexes offer. More than individual features, apartment building owners need to consider what type of lifestyle they want to help their tenants cultivate. These are just a few suggestions you may want to consider.
Working out is a part of many people’s routine, and getting in shape is also a on many others’ bucket lists. When you have an on-site gym, people will be more likely to feel inspired about the prospect of living in your complex. Those who regularly exercise already will love the fact that they can save money on a gym membership and not have to sacrifice fitness in the cold winter months when commuting isn’t always an option. Others who want to begin exercising will now find it easier than ever, and they’ll see your complex as an opportunity to start improving their lives in more ways than one.
Green spaces such as parks have the added benefit of boosting property value. Families with children and pets will love having an outdoor space to visit and play in. You can use the park as an opportunity to cater to your residents’ lifestyle; are they typically established adults who want a relaxing place to lounge, wine and dine, or are there lots of young families that would appreciate a dog run and playground equipment? You can even take things a step further and go ultra-green by including a community garden for tenants to plant, tend and harvest their own herbs and produce.
It’s great if you have washers and dryers in every unit, but even if you don’t, you can add laundry on-site that makes it easy for tenants to perform one of the most basic and essential household chores. In addition, a laundry room can boast larger washers and dryers that will easily allow tenants to run heavier loads. You may also want to add vending machines that sell common laundry products; teaming up with a local dry cleaner and tailor will allow you to extend the highest quality of service to your building’s residents.
Remember to focus most on your average tenant’s needs first — think functional before fun. People love flair, but high-quality functional amenities that make their daily lives more convenient are more likely to make the sale.
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