How Construction Companies Can Become More Sustainable

How Construction Companies Can Become More Sustainable

With the looming threat of climate change hanging over the head of civilisation, it’s vital that industry adapts to become more sustainable. In the case of construction, this is especially important. The industry, almost by definition, is heavily involved in the extraction and shipping of raw building materials. The methods and materials favoured can have significantly influence the industry’s impact on the climate. So, exactly what can construction firms do to make their operations that little bit more sustainable?

Maintain and protect your equipment

If you’re having to frequently replace old pieces of equipment, then you’ll impose a heavy and avoidable burden on the environment. The production of lithium-ion batteries, in particular, can impose a significant environmental cost.

Put in place procedures through which your equipment can be monitored and cared for. Have an appointed person responsible for care and maintenance of equipment. This will not only ensure that equipment lasts for longer: it’ll also mean fewer accidents and injuries occurring as a result of faulty equipment.

Being able to effectively store your tools is critical to protecting them from harm. This is where a quality tool chest can be invaluable.

Use recycled materials

Materials that can be easily broken down and repurposed are, almost by definition, more sustainable. While it might be difficult to re-use existing structures in a different building, we can favour fast-growing timbers like bamboo, recycled metals, mud-bricks and lower-emission concrete.

Of course, it’s vital that we don’t compromise on quality in pursuit of sustainability – not least because these compromises will often cause structures to need replacing earlier, often at a higher environmental cost in the long-run.

Use renewable energy

Obviously, if your site operations can be powered through renewable sources rather than fossil fuels, then the impact on the environment is going to be that much lessened. Renewable energy is more cost effective than it ever has been, with offshore wind in particular enjoying a significant boost in recent years.

Building renewable energy into the structures we create, and the vehicles we use, can also be effective. Solar panels are a popular choice for many homeowners – and they’re getting more affordable as a result of Swanson’s Law, which holds that the price of photovoltaic panels will diminish over time as a result of cumulative shipping volume going up.

Hire a sustainability advisor

Site managers and on-the-ground tradespeople can’t be expected to have strong knowledge of sustainability and everything that makes it happen. Having an outside expert come in and offer an impartial assessment of your operations can help you to understand where your weak areas are, and where your efforts and improvement are best directed. They’ll be unencumbered by the internal politics of your organisation, and at liberty to provide a frank, informed assessment.

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