Stunning skyscrapers, high rise buildings, modern condominium units, huge shopping malls, and structured commercial spaces. To the eyes of the public, all of them signifies progress and development. Construction, big or small, is important not just to the economy of the country but to the quality of life for its citizens as well.
The construction industry has seen a resurgence in growth taking on more jobs and projects than usual. While this might be good news for company owners, it can negatively affect the environment. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, 39% of carbon dioxide emission comes from the commercial and residential building sector. The extraction of raw materials, the use of chemicals on site, the diesel-powered and the pollution-emitting machinery all have a detrimental effect on the environment.
It’s important for companies to look for innovative construction methods that benefit the environment. Here are some ways your construction company can help protect Mother Nature.
Follow the rules
Make sure that you follow all rules set by the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. Your company has an obligation to abide by the Construction and Development Effluent Guidelines. And as the owner, it’s your responsibility to inform contract workers regarding the ins and outs of these rules. To ensure proper information dissemination, make sure to include and discuss them during meetings, training, and even daily walkthroughs.
The EPA is very clear when it comes to the outset of building construction, that the protection of the environment should always come first. Site owners along with operators are required to perform erosion and sediment controls, manage dewatering activities, and stabilize soils. These rules are carried out to minimize and prevent any harmful effects to the surrounding areas. Keep in mind that:
- The process depends on the scale of your construction project.
- Preventative measures should be started immediately at the onset of the project.
- Processes should be completed within the allowed time period.
Put preventive measures in place
It’s a given fact that there are tons of dangerous materials used in the construction business. From the hazardous chemicals to toxic fumes and waste products, if not handled and disposed of properly, these may all lead to the destruction of the surrounding environment. As a responsible owner and concern citizen, your goal is to have an eco-friendly construction business that will sustain and not harm the environment.
To put this into practice, you must come up with safety measures minimizing the risk of exposure to hazardous materials. During and after the course of each project, you should discharge pollutants in a correct and safe manner. Having preventive measures in place makes sure that all wastes from your construction are handled and disposed of according to the following protocols.
- Install, implement, and maintain effective plans to prevent and control pollution.
- Reduce the discharge of contaminants produced by your tools and equipment.
- Limit the exposure of products and construction wastes that might pollute stormwater.
Even if you practice the most advanced construction techniques, there is no doubt that building a structure will still produce a variety of waste products. These waste products might look harmless but in reality, they are damaging not just to the environment but to you and to your contract workers as well. Imagine building materials clogging water drains, debris triggering a forest fire, and construction chemicals causing health issues.
Although it’s nearly impossible to eliminate all construction wastes, there are ways to minimize the garbage and chemicals you’re producing. For a sustainable construction business, you must increase the efficiency of operations by optimizing the use of supplies and materials. Choose products wisely and carefully assess each material before putting them in good use. Also, follow the industrial recycling program mandated by the EPA and take note of prohibited discharges such as:
- Waste from paintings, oils, curing compounds, and other materials.
- Wastewater from washout concrete, that should be managed appropriately.
- Waste product from vehicle and equipment like fuel and other pollutants.
There are several methods to reduce waste and protect the environment. You can use renewable energy to minimize carbon footprint, recycle and upcycle things, opt for solar power technologies, and many more. But for a start, getting rid of paper is undeniably one of the best ways to lessen waste. Just look at your desk or office and see the towering piles of paper from documents to notebooks and blueprints.
Using paper is complicated and expensive. It takes a lot of raw wood and chemicals to produce one sheet of paper. They take up a lot of space and paper is unreliable, spill some water on it and all your notes will be gone forever. But when you go paperless and use digital resources, you’ll be able to organize your documents in a more efficient manner, benefiting the environment and your business in the long run. Here are some tips when going paperless:
- Use electronic signatures when signing papers and documents.
- Encourage paperless sharing of documents thru web and cloud drives.
- Use construction management applications when organizing projects.
Going green for your construction company is not easy, it requires courage and long-term commitment to reap the success. There are multiple steps you need to accomplish to see benefits. Remember that small adjustment matters, because they will significantly add up over time.
Sustainable buildings are worth more than ordinary structures since most companies are now looking for ways to cut down on facility costs while reducing environmental pollution. Starting from the selection of supplies, choosing the process, and building the structure, you should discover areas and use green materials whenever possible.
- Explore products that are designed to be environmentally friendly.
- Reduce energy consumption by using smart tools and equipment.
- Discover green building materials like laminated timber, cordwood, bamboo, etc.
Protecting the environment is truly a long and never-ending battle. Each industry has to work hard and look for solutions that will safeguard Mother Nature. Those the building and construction industry can follow these innovative construction methods that benefit the environment to stop pollution and preserve natural resources.