Despite a severe construction worker shortage, the construction industry is a thriving business.
With the world and consumers putting a greater emphasis on being environmentally conscious, the construction industry has had to take notice. There’s been a gradual shift to using more environmentally friendly materials and better practices.
LEED is an environmental standard for eco-friendly buildings. Residential homes, housing complexes, businesses and industrial facilities can use LEED guidelines to create greener buildings that use less water and energy. Once complete, the building will be inspected and assigned a LEED certification. LEED has different levels and a LEED-certified building buildings command higher prices on the property market because they are healthier, more eco-friendly and cheaper to run.
Climate change is already affecting the availability of water. This has led many new homeowners to rely on rainwater collection and gray water use. Cisterns or rain barrels are used to collect rain water from roofs and store it for use in the home and garden.
Gray water use is increasingly a feature of modern home and business design. Here water used in the kitchen and shower can be rerouted for use in the toilet before being disposed of. These systems help the homeowner to save money on water bills while saving the environment too.
Renewable energies aren’t anything new, but their widespread availability is. Water, solar, and wind have been always been too expensive for the average person to install. In addition, construction companies have largely shied away from them as they would drive up overall costs.
While water and wind can only be installed in certain areas, solar is increasingly becoming the leader in the renewable energy market. Panels are now more affordable than ever and many companies are opting to install them to save money on energy costs while reducing their carbon footprint.
Not all the green efforts are taking place on the construction site itself. More and more, technology is integrating itself into the construction industry.
More companies are turning to management software, BIM, the cloud, long-term rentals, and more as part of their green stance. While this may not lessen the carbon footprint immediately, all of these choices are going to lead to a more efficient workplace. One can schedule workers better and make sure they are working to their full capability.
In addition, uses of drones are able to cut back on certain processes like seeing a site from the bird’s eye view. In the past, helicopters had to be rented for managers and architects. Now? A drone can simply be tossed into the air, becoming much more cost-effective and less damaging than a helicopter.
With materials like concrete accounting for tens of millions of tons of waste, recycling has become a win for everyone involved. Farmers are moving towards steel buildings for their livestock and storage as this is more durable than wood and can be recycled. More sophisticated recycling techniques are being used for everything from asphalt to timber. Believe it or not, one of the most recycled materials in construction is plastic bathroom stalls. Recycled HDPE (high density polyethylene) is not only good for the environment but one of the most durable materials you can choose.
Even if you don’t know anything about construction, you might notice that buildings are often built one part at a time. That’s how anything is built, from a giant skyscraper to your kid’s LEGO set.
But now, prefabrication is making its way into the construction field. Parts are being put together before arriving at the construction site, meaning it’s saving hours and emissions from heavy equipment. Special tools and equipment help take care of the heavy lifting beforehand.
No longer will workers have to construct each individual part at the site, but instead can simply put larger pieces together.