What is Sustainable Construction?
Sustainable construction refers to the process of constructing a structure that is environmentally sound and resource-efficient throughout the building’s life. Sustainable construction incorporates a recyclable aspect throughout the entirety of the building’s lifecycle, meaning the project will be deemed efficient (in terms of resources used and the impact it poses on the environment) from design to construction and subsequent operation, maintenance, renovation and finally its demolition.
The introduction of innovations and new technologies have enables the construction of new buildings to meet environmental and resource standards. These new technologies, which are consistently being developed, complement current construction efforts to create greener structures. The common objective of sustainable construction is to reduce the overall impact and coordinating negative externalities that a construction project poses on human health and the natural environment.
How does Sustainable Construction work?
To accomplish the aforementioned goals, a sustainable construction project will efficiently use its available resources and combine this practice with recyclable or innovative technologies. A sustainable construction project will efficiently use energy, water and other natural resources to build the structure. In addition, a sustainable construction project will protect occupant health and improve employee productivity through the issuance of a highly-regulated and organized protocol. Lastly, a sustainable construction project will reduce by products, through the reduction of waste, pollution and environmental degradation.
Sustainable Construction and Energy Efficiency:
A green building will typically utilize energy in a highly efficient manner. To increase the efficiency of energy, the construction team may use high-efficiency windows and innovative insulation systems in the structure’s walls, floors and ceilings.
A sustainable construction project may also incorporate other innovative technologies, such as a passive solar building design. This strategy will implement orient windows and walls to shade the structure during the summer while maximizing light in the winter months.
A sustainable construction project will also implement renewable energy sources throughout the construction process. Solar power, hydro power, wind power or biomass can all reduce the environmental impact of the building.
Sustainable Construction and Water Efficiency:
Protecting water quality and reducing water consumption are fundamental objectives during the sustainable construction process. The conservation and protection of water throughout a building’s life cycle may be accomplished by designing dual plumbing systems. These systems will efficiently recycle water when a toilet flushes. In addition, water may be conserved during the lifecycle, by installing low-flush toilets or low-flow shower heads.
Point of use water treatment and heating systems also improve both the water quality and the efficiency of energy by reducing the amount of total water in circulation.
Sustainable Construction and Waste Reduction:
A sustainable construction project will seek to reduce waste or byproducts; the materials and water used during the construction of a sustainable structure will be preserved as much as possible. During the building phase, a sustainable construction project will limit the amount of material that is transferred to land-fills. An efficiently-designed building will also help reduce the amount of waste generated by the occupants by providing various on-site solutions, such as compost bins.