Sustainability in Construction

Sustainability is defined as “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance” or as the Brundtland Commission described it “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”. The environmental awareness over the last few decades has grown exponentially, however when it comes to construction the industry had not considered their impact until the last ten years. Since then, the sector has been determined to reduce any further problems as much as possible. The UK is set on achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and in order for this to be accomplished, we must all work together and play our part.

What is sustainable construction?

The construction industry is responsible for producing a huge amount of waste, every year around 400 million tonnes of materials are used, and around 100 million tonnes of that goes to waste. It is clear the construction industry is one of the largest users of global resources and contributors of pollution, therefore the pressure put on firms to reduce their environmental impact is more prevalent than ever. Whilst some changes may be larger and more challenging than others, all improvements are of high importance. Sustainable construction is adapting the principles of sustainable development and applying this to the construction industry. The best way any construction organisation can do this is by implementing it before the project has commenced and enforcing it throughout any planning to maximise the benefit.

Why is sustainable construction important?

Sustainability within construction will only become more important every year as the effects of climate change are developing across the globe. Although it is no easy task, it must be prioritised before it is too late. All organisations have an obligation to consider the community, environment and wildlife where their operations are based. It not only can be beneficial for the environment, but it can also be cost-efficient for the companies’ profits.

Small steps that can go a long way

Purchase used machinery. This helps to reduce the number of machines manufactured every year which reduces the amount of steel and iron consumed, reduce industrial waste and factory carbon emissions. It also will reduce the number of machines in landfills as equipment will not be thrown away so easily once it ages if it is properly maintained.

Reduce your transport of goods or workforce. This will help to reduce your energy consumption and the amount of carbon emissions created via transport. Alternatively, source the materials locally where possible, but if this is not viable then seek sustainable suppliers.

Cut down on waste. If you have an excess of materials at the end of your project, you can reduce the wastage by coordinating with other organisations to see if they can use your leftover materials and you use theirs. You could also have facilities on-site so your staff can organise the different waste materials into their specified skips or bins, making it easy for you to recycle where possible.

Protect and maintain the surrounding environments. When a project begins it is important to ensure all life and land are undisturbed from your work. Carrying out an assessment before work begins should inform you of any possible negative effects may be and allow you to put procedures in place to minimise them as much as possible.

Noise avoidance. Noise pollution can cause a great impact upon the environment and a person’s well-being, so decreasing the amount your project gives out has a substantial benefit in many ways. To do this you can plant more trees close to the noise source as they will absorb it. Also creating noise barriers will help reduce the amount of impact your project has.

Use less paper instead use technology. This seems a simple step however, when you are scheduling jobs, landing leads, tracking daily work, managing the workforce, and planning projects daily the amount of paper you can go used quickly is huge! You can also discourage the use of paper blueprints, specs and drawings. Implementing technology into your business will not only save trees but make your business save a vast amount of money and time.

Use sustainable materials and technologies. Similar to the last point incorporating sustainable materials such as bamboo in the place of cement, will have a dramatic positive impact on the number of greenhouse gasses you emit into the air. There are many materials that can be switched to a more environmentally friendly alternative.

Check your machinery. Make sure you are performing regular inspections and having your equipment serviced to make it last longer. This will help reduce repairs or the need to purchase new machinery which will mean less fuel consumption and a lower amount of emissions polluted into the air. It will also lower cost and energy consumption.

Focus on green building. The importance of green building has grown substantially over the last decade as people find ways to reduce their environmental impact. Green building is the way of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life cycle.

At Omnia Machinery, all of our heavy plant machinery is inspected before being prepared for shipment enabling you to buy in confidence. Should you have any used machinery requirements for your upcoming projects, please do not hesitate to contact us! Alternatively, you can browse our extensive selection of quality used plant machinery here.