Over the next 20 years, it is estimated that we will reach our maximum capacity for oil consumption. Furthermore, as the global production of oil decreases – and demand continues to increase – the construction industry is going to need to consider how it can be sustainable and function in a world that will need to be more environmentally friendly.
Used within manufacturing processes throughout the Western world, the construction industry depends upon cheap crude oil. Within the UK alone, the construction industry accounts for 50% of all carbon emissions – produced by machinery, production and other building techniques.
Regarding the long-term effects of pollution and our planet, as well as the way construction techniques can damage the environment, the industry as a whole is beginning to change and recognise how it can rectify its problems when it comes to the consumption of oil. In the US last year alone, eco-friendly construction firms found that revenues had reached $245 billion, marking a positive step forward and change in light of the ever-changing needs of our planet.
If the design of a proposed structure is to be ecologically sound, then three things needs to be considered before the structure is built.
First, materials should always try and be locally sourced. If they aren’t, have they been renewed or can they be renewed and recycled in the future?
The second thing to consider is whether energy used to build the structure is being wasted. During the construction process, energy can be wasted when machines are overused and overworked, wasting expendable energy. On the flip side, Nifty Lift boom lifts are designed so that they do not waste expendable energy during the construction process. This is because they use a hybrid motor, so while the electric engine is being used, 0% emissions are produced so that the diesel engine is never overworked or overused onsite.
Thirdly, when used as insulation, recycled paper – as opposed to more expensive alternatives – can be used during the construction of roofing. As opposed to incurring the cost of roofing insulation required for that job, recycled paper can be used as it saves time and money. It also counters the requirement to wait for insulation specifically needed for the onsite construction job. Sourced from sustainably managed forests, timber should be used that doesn’t negatively impact the environment. Reclaimed wood should also be used where possible, rather than chopping down a tree.
The main benefits of eco-friendly construction.
Accounting for 80% of a building’s total running costs over its lifetime, operation and maintenance account for a significant proportion of total costs. If those constructing these structures aim to implement green energy initiatives, the operating costs of using water and energy can be decreased by a third.
After construction, how daylight is used in the structure should be considered to decrease artificial lighting costs. This is because vitamin D can help to improve the ‘indoor environment quality’ of a building, which can benefit all of the occupants within it.
Ultimately, if these processes are utilised by construction firms in the US and throughout the world, then this will help to radically decrease the rate of climate change. This is of course the end goal of any green construction firm aiming to become greener, economically conscious and more efficient.