The construction process is estimated to contribute roughly 50 percent of all annual global CO2 emissions, with about 25 percent of these emissions coming from building operations and 20 percent coming from building materials and construction practices that are required to build them. With a greater emphasis on designing for sustainability and LEED certification, many new construction buildings are becoming greener. But what about the construction practices that create these structures?
In this post, we’ll cover some of the green and sustainable construction practices that many contractors are implementing today to take building efforts to a new level. Here’s a look:
‘Greening’ Construction Practices: How Contractors Can Work More Sustainably
Construction and demolition activities are estimated to produce about 600 million tons of waste every year – more than twice as much waste that’s collected from homes and businesses. One way to minimize this waste is to adopt lean construction methodologies. Lean construction is a project delivery strategy that aims to maximize value to owners and other stakeholders and reduce waste by enhancing collaboration, developing solutions to common problems, improving efficiencies, and standardizing procedures. When it comes to lean optimization, it’s not one silver bullet that gets the job done but several little things that all add up to a significant improvement. In addition to increasing value and eliminating waste, a lean construction environment also tends to lead to an improvement in job site safety.
Part of lean is also empowering your workforce to become problem solvers. This can be accomplished by identifying issues and hosting Kaizen events to identify solutions to better projects both in the present and future.
Adopt Prefabrication Practices
Prefabrication is the process of constructing certain components offsite, delivering them to the project site, and then installing them. It’s designed to accelerate construction timelines, minimize the potential for delays and reduce construction waste. Prefabrication is also linked to an improvement in safety, as there’s less work required on a construction site and thereby fewer moving parts to navigate. Not everything can be prefabricated, but what can should be seriously considered based on the benefits listed here.
Sourcing materials closer to the project site does more than just help the local economy and community, it also means shorter trips to deliver materials. This translates to less fuel consumption and fewer greenhouse gas emissions produced.
Invest in Upgraded Equipment
If it’s been a while since your firm upgraded its construction equipment, now could be an ideal time to do so. New construction equipment isn’t just likely to require less maintenance and optimize productivity, but it also tends to operate more efficiently and effectively than outdated equipment. Just as a new vehicle today is going to be more efficient than one that was designed and manufactured decades ago, new cranes, trucks, bulldozers, and other equipment are also going to run more efficiently than those that were developed in the past.
Even upgrading company trucks to hybrid or electric drivetrains, or investing in vehicles that run on clean diesel fuel can help lead to a greener job site and fewer environmental pollutants.
Idling leads to accelerated engine wear, more vehicle and equipment maintenance, and a greater likelihood of unplanned downtime. It also generates unnecessary emissions and wastes fuel. And idling is all too common in the construction industry. According to Modern Contractor Solutions, idling for one hour every day each year is equivalent to about 64,000 miles of additional engine wear and can translate to more than $9,000 more in annual maintenance costs for vehicles. And when you consider that every gallon of gas burned produces more than 20 pounds of greenhouse gasses, challenging workers to reduce idle time can reduce overhead costs and help the environment to boot.
Contact ACE Consulting Today
For more information on green and sustainable construction practices that many industry firms are looking to adopt or have already implemented, contact ACE Consulting today. ACE specializes in providing plans, schedules and high-level training to meet the challenges and demands of any project. Contact ACE today to learn more.