You will increasingly hear the word sustainability being used in connection with construction work. Carrying out construction in a sustainable way affects everyone in and around the industry.
Sustainable buildings are built with materials that are resource efficient and have a low environmental impact. They are energy efficient, reduce water consumption, create minimum waste and improve the natural environment and human health.
One element of sustainability is to carry out construction work in a responsible way to avoid any environmental damage that could cause problems for future generations.
Examples of good practice are listed below.
- Designing out waste, such as making the unit off site, making site dimensions to match standard product sizes, or adjusting site levels to reduce the amount of excavated material going off site.
- Using local labour and services to support the local economy and reduce energy and emissions associated with travel.
- Using locally produced materials to minimise transportation of raw materials and finished goods, to reduce the project’s carbon footprint.
- Saving energy and water by recycling rainwater, good maintenance of vehicles and turning off equipment and taps when not in use.
- Avoid creating pollution that will damage the environment.
- Using reclaimed or recycled materials or materials with a high recyclable content.
- Only using timber and other wood products that can be fully traced to sustainably managed forests.
- Reusing leftover materials wherever possible to conserve raw materials and save the energy it would take to produce new.
- Segregating waste into different types, so it can be reused or recycled more easily.
- Implementing good storage management procedures to avoid damage, pollution, double handling, rain damage and breakages.
- Fuel, energy, water, materials and time are often wasted on construction sites – practices which need to be stopped or at least reduced.