At some point, we will reach our consumption of oil, and it has been predicted to happen in the next 20 years. However, demand continually appears to rise as the global production of oil decreases. In light of this, the construction industry still requires most of its energy sources from oil-based fuels.
The western world relies heavily on crude oils, with this especially the case in the construction sector. This is because they are used within the processes that allow construction to happen. Surprisingly, within the UK, 50% of all carbon emissions produced by machinery and production are accounted for by the construction industry.
With the UK population continuously rising, the government is telling construction companies that they must use green processes, and they have done this by passing legislation. Post-construction, firms are also encouraged to incorporate green technologies within the build to benefit the environment once construction is complete.
The estimation for the revenue of eco-friendly construction companies came to around $245 billion and this is something that companies within the UK could take advantage of.
Together with Reconomy, providers of waste management solutions for recyclable materials and skips for hire, we establish how eco-friendly practices can be established within any construction site.
Making the move!
Three things that should be in your thought process when making the transition to becoming eco-friendly within construction are:
- During construction, is any energy being wasted? Machines can often be overused during the production process, which leads to expendable energy that is wasted and can never be used again. Electric vehicles and machines with hybrid-engines should be used so that when a motor is being overworked – an electric engine can be engaged to cope with the load.
- Finally, once building the structure is complete, is there any energy generated within it that is wasted?
- Establish whether materials have been locally sourced or if they’re renewed; if they aren’t, can they be recycled in the future?
Recycling paper can be where the material is used as insulation for a roof during and after the construction. Insulation materials are often expensive. By using a cheaper and practical alternative, the cost of producing insulation for one roof will be minimised drastically by using already existing materials. Furthermore, timbers sourced from sustainably managed forests in the local area can also be used. As well as reclaimed wood, this is an alternative to chopping down trees that are used within construction.
Eco friendly technology can be included in a proposed structure in the following manners:
- Solar energy panels. To generate electricity within a building, or domestically to power boilers and other electrical equipment, solar energy is fast become a cheaper alternative to other forms of domestic power.
- Drainage systems and water filtration. With these systems in place, water can be re-used when biological waste is treated safely, which can then be recycled. Rainwater can also be collected in specific drains and storage taps, as opposed to always relying on water from a tap.
- Low-energy lighting. Accounting for an energy saving of 100%, low energy lighting lasts twice as long as a regular lightbulb.
Get the most out of it
80% of a building’s running cost can come out of just maintenance for the building. Green initiatives reduce the total running costs of a building by one third, which amounts to around 53.3% of a building’s running costs.
When designing a building, always think of the natural light you will receive. It will help you save costs on artificial lighting. The ‘indoor environment quality’ of a building can also be improved when daylight can shine through a building, which benefits the health of all of the occupants that are present in the building.
Using long-lasting recyclable materials is beneficial for when the building begins. As a result, fewer new materials will be used within the structure, helping to reduce costs whilst less energy is consumed (from crude oils) in order to produce the structure.
Slowing down the pace of climate change is essential. Using techniques and materials like these can make a great difference. The end goal for the construction industry then should be to produce homes and buildings that are greener, economically efficient and conceptualised with the environment in mind.
Finally, more people are becoming more aware and more acceptant to how pollution will impact our planet.