13 Jul Key Initiatives in Sustainable Construction Towards a Better Future
The construction industry is responsible for 25% of solid waste generated globally and over 30% of the extraction of natural resources. These alarming numbers are related with a linear economic model that grossly ignores the environmental impact of its activity. Fortunately, there has been an important raise in awareness towards this problem in recent years, and many important agents within the industry have decided to take sustainability measures towards environmental preservation.
When we talk about sustainable construction, we’re talking about a series of practices that create structures and define processes with an environmental responsibility and resource efficiency. This has to consider not only a building’s design and construction, but also its operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. The purpose is to consider the natural environment’s resilience and the industry’s impact on it.
Nowadays, there are several green initiatives that have become increasingly popular throughout the world. Here, we enlist some of them that have drawn our attention particularly:
MODULAR AND INDUSTRIALIZED CONSTRUCTION
There are several benefits to approaching construction and engineering through a modular system. For those projects that are compatible with this method, materials can be reduced in a significant way, thus contributing to a smaller carbon footprint. Also, the planning process lets us have an almost exact budget and material calculation.
This system’s purpose is to reduce, reuse and recycle as many resources as possible. It encourages the rescue of disposal materials, and it is mainly in the hands of people directly working on site. The ideal future we’re aiming for is one where all people working on construction have a culture that’s deeply rooted in this system.
ALTERNATIVE BUILDING MATERIALS
One of the main obstacles is the predominant use of non-renewable materials in construction. This is why many developers are looking for different alternatives that will help us solve this problem. Among these materials, the most popular ones are bamboo, wood, recycled plastic, and more innovative ones like papercrete, grasscrete and hempcrete.
Net-Zero buildings are those whose energy consumption equals its energy output. Their purpose is to reduce carbon emissions, water consumption and solid waste. Developers achieve this by finding ways to generate renewable energy, such as solar water heating and wind turbines. These initiatives also bring long-term financial benefits for investors.
It’s impossible to continue ignoring the environmental crisis. It’s time to demand government support, invest in sustainable projects and raise awareness on the impact that our ideas of development and urbanization have caused.
- Kayla Matthews, “The 7 Most Popular Green Building Initiatives in 2021”, Green Building Insider, https://greenbuildinginsider.com/387/7-most-popular-green-building-practices
- Sarah Jones, “Sustainable Construction: Why Building for a Better World Is Better for Business”, Redshift, https://redshift.autodesk.com/sustainable-construction/
- Gabriel Luiz Fritz, Maria do Carmo, Sergio Duarte Freitas, Fernando Tavares, “Circular economy in the construction industry: A systematic literature review”, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959652620310933