The construction sector is one of the world’s biggest users of natural resources. Studies show that more than 30 % of natural resource extraction and over 25% of solid waste generation is attributed to construction. In light of the growing concerns over climate change, construction firms face increasing pressure to reduce their environmental impact.
Building regulations are continuously being revised and changed to increase what’s minimally expected of construction companies today. Adapting to these changes will undoubtedly be challenging. Still, you may find that the benefits may very well outweigh the drawbacks.
So, how does sustainability affect the construction industry? This article aims to answer this question, as well as provide you with a list of benefits that may hopefully convince you to adopt a more sustainable way of business.
What is Sustainable Construction?
Sustainable construction simply means building with materials that are recyclable or renewable. Its goal is to minimize the environmental impact of building projects by encouraging firms to pay closer attention to where they source building materials and tools. Energy efficiency is also encouraged, to protect the surrounding natural environment around a construction site.
Importance of Sustainable Construction
The construction industry is responsible for over 25% of the total global energy consumption. It’s also responsible for 27% of the energy sector’s emissions. Needless to say, it has a massive environmental impact.
Sustainable construction offers numerous benefits to the environment, helping firms reduce their carbon footprint and — in turn — improve their chances of attracting new and loyal investors.
Benefits of Sustainable Construction
Here are some of the most common advantages of sustainable construction that companies should know:
Fight Climate Change
Sustainable buildings or “green” buildings make construction easier and cheaper. Beyond that, it can also help fight climate change and excessive emissions. Green buildings minimize waste by using renewable energy and materials. They also consume far fewer natural resources, like water.
Examples of renewable materials include:
- Sustainable concrete
- Recycled metals
- Wool bricks
- Mud bricks
- Straw bales
Meanwhile, renewable energy sources could be any of the following:
- Solar energy
- Wind energy
- Falling water energy
Workspaces that are environmentally friendly help increase employee productivity and morale. Workers are more satisfied and productive when their firms value their health and well-being. A study has found that healthy workplaces have smarter and happier employees. They also have fewer cases of illness or chronic stress among workers.
Besides water efficiency, sustainable buildings are also highly efficient when it comes to electricity. Buildings that use natural lighting can lower their energy usage by 50% to 70%. Not only can this help reduce a business’s energy costs — it also helps reduce its carbon footprint. Utilizing natural light inside the workplace is also a great way to increase employee morale and energy.
Unlock New Business Opportunities
To unlock new and beneficial opportunities businesses would do well to include sustainability in their project planning processes. In a survey conducted by Morningstar, around 44% of its respondents said that governance, social, and environmental factors are things they consider when making new investments. For companies who wish to take advantage of this emerging trend, incorporating sustainability in their business plan is a great way to start. Inform your employees of your wishes to adopt a more sustainable operation. Provide stakeholders and workers with informative and helpful sustainability training or lectures. Strive to have everyone on the same page for better communication and implementation.
Challenges of Sustainable Construction
A common misconception about sustainability practices is that they can be adopted overnight. Unfortunately, this is not quite the case. For construction companies, transitioning from a non-sustainable company to one that is will take some time — not to mention effort. Besides making sure to source your materials from sustainable providers, you must also make sure to work with like-minded architects, engineers, and technicians.
Unfortunately, you’re ultimately limited by the budget provided to you by your client. Thus, creating reporting frameworks to help your business maintain a solid and consistent plan is essential. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reports can help you monitor your procedures and ensure that everyone cooperates with your company’s sustainability regulations and rules.
Sustainability is not a new concept; however, it has gained some recognition in the last couple of years. Large companies and industries are turning to sustainability to help reduce negative environmental impacts such as climate change and pollution. The construction industry is one of the many sectors that is focusing its resources on creating greener and more eco-friendly buildings.
Expectations for sustainability from construction companies only increase by the minute. The bar is rising for everyone, regardless of whether firms are ready or not. Avoid falling behind other businesses by increasing the level of attention you pay to your company’s environmental impact. Investors and customers alike now prefer greener businesses as opposed to traditional and non-sustainable options. Do your part for the environment and adopt more sustainable practices in your organization.
About the Author
Kat Sarmiento is a content writer focusing on lifestyle, science, and smart hacks.