The United Kingdom is committed towards reaching net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. It is a huge task which will require fundamental changes to the way people live and work. The construction Industry specifically contributes to 33% of the UK’s carbon emissions and it will have to alter the way it operates so that the target can be achieved. In the recent times the construction industry has been under increasing pressure to reduce their carbon emissions. In fact, in 2017 the AEC industry made an agreement with the UK government to halve the emissions in built environment by 2025. The task ahead of the AEC companies today is monumental. They must aim to become more sustainable at the same time they will also have to strive to be profitable. In the current article we look at the four ways in which construction industry can be become more sustainable.
1. Using Preconstruction Technologies:
Preconstruction methods like Drafting Services, Building Information Modeling can go a long way in advancing sustainability. Firstly, they discourage the use of paper blueprints, drawings and specs. They also increase precision and reduce rework which causes a lot of onsite waste. BIM specifically, has provided the construction processionals all the tools to better plan, design, construct and manage the buildings. It allows to accurately schedule the construction project, digitize calculations which increase precision, control various costs, analyzing risks, keeping track of the project etc. It can also analyze energy consumption of the building and mitigate and calculate carbon footprint. Using BIM data through the project lifecycle enables a safer, faster, less wasteful and more cost-effective construction.
Prefabrication is process of constructing building or building components in an environmentally controlled factory setting and assembling it onsite. Usually, onsite construction creates a lot waste and also leads to soil and air pollution. The air particles and effluents that are released during the construction process, are not just extremely detrimental but there is no way to treat the effect it causes on the environment. Moreover, since prefabrication takes place in a factory setting more tools like robots, machines etc., can be used to augment precision which saves resources.
3. Use Sustainable Building Materials:
Some of the more traditional building materials like concrete, tar, etc. release a large amount of greenhouse gases in the environment making it extremely harmful. Over the years, construction professionals have figured out various alternatives to traditional building materials which are greener. For instance, straw bales are increasingly being used as a substitute for rebar and concrete construction. Sustainably grown wood is also gaining prominence. Bamboo has high tensile strength, is readily available and is affordable. What makes bamboo so attractive are its properties like fire resistance, durability and that it is CO2 neutral. Using BIM Services also provides information that can be used during facility management.
4. Discard Construction Waste Responsibly:
Construction and demolition waste typically consist of lumber, pieces of concrete and drywall, wiring, ductwork, glass, metal parts etc. A lot of these components are difficult to dispose off and it’s crucial that whatever can be recycled needs to be properly done so. This includes plywood, lumbar, glass, plastic trash etc. which can be used in other construction project, converted into useful object or even into mulch or bio mass fuel. Construction companies must also take measures to prevent sediment flow so that rivers, streams and other water bodies can be free of contamination. One way is to create a silt fence which can prevent upto 80% water-borne particles from escaping and can considerably reduce soil and water pollution.
Thus, the construction industry has to shoulder a lot of responsibility when it comes to achieving UK’s goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions. This would include changing a lot of their functions, techniques and materials etc. which they have depended upon traditionally. However, the above four ways can help them get the push in the right direction.