Sustainability is becoming an increasingly large topic across the globe, with pressure to ensure that businesses are doing everything they can for the environment. Climate change, the availability of resources, government regulation, and much more are all taken into consideration when construction firms plan how they can create a greener industry.
In the last few years, the construction industry has made great strides in its efforts to improve its sustainability, and there is a greater interest among industry leaders to find greener ways to build. The new demand for sustainable construction practices has accelerated the growth of the green building materials market, which is expected to be valued at $573 billion by 2027 .
The growth is part of a series of trends in 2021 that are leaning towards a much greener future for the construction industry. Here, we detail the changes that firms are making and how they can contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the construction industry.
Growth and innovation in sustainable materials for construction
Construction companies are now beginning to reduce their carbon footprint throughout the lifecycle of a project. Sustainable materials such as recycled materials and materials that can be processed with low CO2 emissions are being incorporated into projects more and more.
Today, there are a range of sustainable alternatives to many of the construction materials that are most used. These include materials and designs that aid renewable energy solutions for basic household needs such as lighting and heating.
The use of bamboo in flooring, cork in insulation and recycled metal in plumbing are some fantastic examples of eco-friendly alternatives that are gaining traction. As more construction firms become environmentally conscious, we can expect to see an increase in the use of sustainable materials.
Electric construction equipment
Vehicle fuel is one of the construction industry’s largest emissions, with most sites requiring heavy-duty machinery such as bulldozers and excavators to perform large-scale tasks.
Electric construction equipment isn’t exactly a new concept within the construction industry; however, it is gaining popularity. In the past, electric equipment was limited to smaller machines such as hand-held tools and landscaping devices. However, thanks to advancements in technology and the innovation of some construction firms, heavy-duty electric equipment is on the rise.
Electric equipment not only significantly reduces carbon emissions, but it also lowers fuel costs for construction companies, which is why many are now adopting this approach. Manufacturers such as Caterpillar and Komatsu are now committed to producing heavy-duty electric equipment, so the future looks bright for a sustainable construction industry.
The reduction of waste
Waste has been one of the main issues within the construction industry for a number of years, and now firms are taking steps to reduce waste and improve their carbon footprint. The primary solution that companies are now implementing is more efficient planning of resources and materials
Creating a detailed SWMP is without a doubt the best practice to reduce waste, and construction firms are now placing more emphasis on this process. An SWMP sets out how resources will be managed, and waste controlled at all stages during a construction project. An SWMP covers aspects of a project such as:
• Who is responsible for resource management
• What types of waste will be generated
• How the waste will be managed and disposed of ethically
• How the quantity of waste generated by the project will be measured.
In addition to being an efficient way to improve sustainability, such waste management plans can also be cost-effective by reducing the over-ordering of materials.
Use of technology
As with most industries, the emergence of brand-new technologies that replace pen and paper processes significantly help to reduce their carbon emissions.
Many construction firms have now adopted a building information modelling (BIM) process, allowing everyone involved in a project to access information digitally. Employees can access the entire life cycle of a project on a single system, eliminating the need for multiple paper-based files.
In addition, the ability to plan every detail of a project digitally contributes to reduced wasted materials as firms can easily forecast potential issues that may arise in the construction phase. Technology has always been an important part of the construction industry , and we are now seeing firms take the next step in using tech to create a greener future.
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