Strategies for a Greener Construction Process
Green construction will build a better future. A balance with the planet is only possible if companies adapt to today's challenges, confronting carbon emissions and excessive waste with new strategies. They have to change the way they operate, and many of them have, showing impressive ingenuity in their solutions.
Here are some of the ways in which those involved with construction can keep things green. From management to equipment, cutting down waste can be achieved at every step of the way.
The green building process requires coordination between multiple individuals, involving everyone from the mechanical engineer to the general contractor. As the design for the structure begins to take shape, these professionals meet face-to-face to discuss the details, contributing to the conversation with their individual expertise. It's the most effective method for producing a final build that will achieve sustainability goals.
Integrated design means that issues can be brought to the table early on, creating a vision for the finished project. A team can confront these issues and determine how they'll fulfill specific credits to earn LEED certification, accounting for any small uncertainties before they complicate the draft.
Building Information Modeling
Along with the benefits of integrated design comes improved technology for planning a project. BIM helps architects and engineers analyze how changes in design or construction will affect a model. This can have a massive impact if used throughout the construction process.
For example, if clients can see a visualizations of the project before construction begins, this will reduce time- and energy-intensive changes later on. Plus, increased coordination between different teams helps planners avoid mistakes that would otherwise eat up more resources during the construction process.
CAD has transformed building across the board, but in considering how technology can streamline the construction process, we can take steps to reduce the energy and resources consumed throughout the process.
Work sites once relied on separate bins for different types of refuse, which was often inconvenient for inner city projects where space was limited. In recent years, however, haulers have adapted their technology to account for the problem, using pickers to separate the materials. Many of today's crews no longer need multiple bins, and using one is often enough to manage their waste — all without harming the environment.
Waste management can be implemented earlier in the process, too. Again, building design also plays a role in green construction, so starting with a focus on waste reduction can have a greater impact on the entire project. If a building is designed to use more eco-friendly, multipurpose materials, there will be less overall waste to worry about once construction is underway.
Energy Compliant Equipment
Some construction companies are keeping pace with environmental compliance and modern tech by choosing to rent newer equipment, rather than hang onto aging investments. The cost of a down payment for new machinery is often high, and few can afford the latest and greatest as it comes to market. Many companies have found a comfortable middle ground, renting machinery that meets today's emissions and pollution regulations while saving a substantial sum of money.
This practice is so common that 40 percent of construction equipment in operation across the country is rented, with projections placing that number above 50 percent in only a few years. It's an attractive choice for many reasons — more than an eco-conscious money-saving measure — as construction companies enjoy the added benefits of reduced downtime and higher safety standards.
Construction companies have used prefabrication to incredible effect, and there are numerous examples of its value. One company, for example, prefabricated forms to create the concrete superstructure addition for the Ordway Center for Performing Arts in downtown St. Paul. The company first developed 3D models of the forms before pre-building them in a controlled environment, prepping these parts for later transportation to the worksite.
The prefabrication process allows companies to save time while improving the overall quality of their buildings. They enjoy enhanced precision and have access to equipment unavailable on a standard site. This industrial-level accuracy reduces waste by a significant margin when they're cutting materials. The more components of a structure a firm chooses to prefabricate, the less trash and debris they produce.
A Foundation for Tomorrow
The solutions above have enormous potential in reducing the impact of construction on the environment. They're often simple, like keeping up with modern equipment or selecting more eco-friendly building materials.
It doesn't require a massive transition to work toward better waste management. As long as companies adopt green strategies during the construction process, they'll lay the foundation for sustainability in the future.
They can only build up from there.