The construction industry continues to boom. According to the latest “Future of Construction” report, global construction is expected to grow by $4.5 trillion by 2030, but that increase comes at a cost to our environment. Research by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) reveals that the construction industry accounts for approximately 40% of worldwide energy use, with estimations that these emissions will continue to rise.
Whether you work in construction or are a DIYer, the industry is shifting towards more eco-friendly resources and building practices to protect our planet for future generations. If you’re ready to start thinking greener, Equipment Trader has come up with six ways to make your construction site more sustainable.
1. Upgrade to Electric Equipment
Heavy equipment manufacturers, such as Bobcat, Caterpillar and Volvo CE, have been following the trend of producing lower emission machines. When it comes to performance capabilities on a construction site, electric equipment can certainly keep up with diesel machinery.
In addition to matching the output of diesel-powered equipment, electric machines deliver lower carbon emissions, have quieter motors that reduce vibration and noise pollution, and offer lower operating and maintenance costs. Hybrid electric and fully electric heavy equipment models are not just great for the environment, they can also improve your project’s efficiency and bottom line.
2. Switch to Electronic Blueprints
Step into the future and swap out your traditional paper blueprints and specs for something more technologically advanced. By taking advantage of the available technology and using electronic blueprints, you can use less paper and save some trees.
Construction management software not only creates blueprints and specs that you can change when needed, but also tracks the progress of your project, costs, and materials. With the push of a button, you can share this information with worksite managers, operators, and others, instead of making copies.
3. Reduce or Reuse Waste
From start to finish, a construction project can accumulate a lot of wasted materials. Sustainable waste management involves finding ways to reduce the amount of waste you produce, as well as increasing the amount you recycle. Cutting materials precisely and repurposing recycled/renewable materials are a few ways to reduce waste on your construction site.
Of course waste is inevitable, but you can make better choices for how you want to remove that waste. Take some time to research all of the recycling options available for the materials you work with. Plastic, glass, and some metal can be recycled. Are there ways to reuse lumber, concrete, and more in future projects? You can also reach out to the community and see if anyone wants your discarded materials. As they say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
4. Use Sustainable Materials
If you work in the construction industry, or you’re remodeling your home, you can utilize more environmentally friendly building materials to practice sustainability. Materials, such as bamboo, recycled plastic and laminated timber, are lighter weight, stronger, and can reduce the carbon footprint of the buildings they’re used for.
Builders can seek out suppliers with sustainable materials for their projects. As an added bonus, working with local suppliers can reduce transportation emissions and streamline costs.
5. Control Stormwater Pollution
Rain causes stormwater to wash over a construction site, picking up pollutants along the way. This sediment, chemicals, oil, and other debris go from your jobsite and into nearby soil, the sewer system, or directly into waterways.
If you’re completing a construction project outside, you should take steps to control this type of pollution and protect your community. Here are a few suggestions for preventing stormwater runoff:
- Check equipment frequently for leaks.
- Avoid excavating or grading during wet weather.
- Cover materials at the end of every workday to prevent runoff.
- Create blockades around storm drains with gravel barriers or sand bags.
- Conduct any equipment maintenance away from storm drains, preferably away from the jobsite.
- Build a perimeter with sediment filter logs or silt fences around the downhill boundaries of your worksite.
6. Strive for LEED Certification
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is globally recognized as a symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership through its green building rating system. Obtaining LEED credentials showcases your proficiency and expertise in sustainable design, construction, and operations.
If you’re serious about making a more positive impact on the environment, set a goal to become a LEED professional. LEED offers online courses and live events that will help you fulfill the necessary education requirements and advance your sustainability knowledge.
The construction industry has always adapted to new methods, materials, and technology, and the current environmental climate requires a new evolution. These eco-friendly best practices can make sustainable construction more attainable and have a major impact on the future of our ecosystem.