Top Tips for a Greener Construction Industry

Ellena Tangi

September 22, 2017

We’re spreading the word about World Green Building Week which takes place from the 25th September to 1st October. The construction and demolition sector is the largest generator of waste in the UK. Buildings contribute to climate change, and account for over a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – we need to reduce this! When buildings are ‘net zero’ they are highly efficient and use clean energy without waste.  It doesn’t matter what role you take on a site, each and every one of us has a part to play in making the construction and engineering industry more efficient and sustainable. Here are a few tips to help you do your bit #OurHeroIsZero.

Do more with less

Minimising waste and maximising reuse of resources will help towards green construction. Using less, more durable resources and generating less waste will make for a more sustainable building overall. Using recycled materials will help to reduce your carbon footprint, and whilst they may be a little pricier initially, it typically rates higher than traditional methods, and you may end up saving money in the long-run.

Safeguarding Water

Look at ways to measure and manage the water consumption of a project. Using water-saving technology will help reduce usage by detecting leaks etc. Additionally, take care to prevent pollution by inspecting drains regularly and keeping them well maintained. Tankless water heaters only produce heat when the hot water tap is turned on, so they do not waste energy. Although a little more expensive than conventional water heaters, you’d save more on the energy bills by having one.

Renewable alternatives

Biomass boilers, heat pumps and solar panels are proven to be a better and more environmentally friendly way to heat and run a building. Additionally, although this may be a little trickier, the way a building is positioned towards the sun can cut heat and lighting costs. For those that have no choice, using LED lights, and motion sensors can offer significant cost and energy benefits over their lifetime.

Source locally

Gathering materials locally will help reduce the carbon footprint of your site as the materials haven’t had as far to travel. Some suppliers have credentials (FSC, PEFC, ISO) displaying that they are committed to sourcing and operating sustainably.

Design with nature in mind

By carrying out an ecological assessment and choosing sites with low ecological and agricultural value, you can identify any sensitive natural habitats to protect them, their food sources and breeding sites. To help protect nature, incorporating features such as nest boxes, green roofs and native plant planting schemes will promote and protect wildlife.

World Green Building Week brings together Green Building Councils from around the world to create a conversation about the role buildings play in our sustainable future, to find out more or attend the event, click here.