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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