Environmental issues have taken the center stage across different sectors in the world today, including construction. As a result, green technologies play a crucial role in protecting the environment from potential threats. Furthermore, reports also show that hiring green construction companies for a project increases the value of the building by 4%.
Green constructions often require support from leading companies and authorities to be successful and widely adopted. Companies like Turner Corp, Clark Construction, AECOM, among others have gone mainstream with the idea of eco-friendly constructions. While many construction companies in Lagos and Nigeria at large are still playing catch up.
SANA Global Projects is a pioneer in Nigeria with its commitment to the innovation and implementation of new, eco-friendly techniques on its projects.
How Does Construction Affect the Environment?
Constructing a building involves several activities that increase carbon footprints, while also leading to other environmental problems. Therefore, it should be a collective effort to protect the environment from excessive pollution and all associated negative impacts. Here are some problems caused by construction waste:
1. Exploitation of Natural Resources
The construction industry is one of the sectors that exploit natural resources the most. It uses raw stones, sand, gravel, and wood, which diminishes their availability.
2. Affects Biodiversity
Building materials can also impact the biodiversity of the earth. It affects the lives of animals and other species in the ecosystem. Some of these take the form of water pollution, air pollution, hydrological impacts, among others.
3. Damages the Atmosphere
The construction sectors are responsible for carbon emissions that impact the air quality in the atmosphere. The focus should be on implementing measures to lower these effects sustainably to ensure that we maintain an eco-friendly environment.
4. Waste Pollution
A recent study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that the waste produced by construction companies greatly impacts the environment. Reportedly, construction companies account for nearly 40 % of worldwide energy usage, resulting in major environmental issues. Such statistics highlight just how serious the need for proper waste disposal is in the construction sector.
What Are the Advantages of Green Construction?
1. Low Maintenance and Operational Costs
Green buildings use simple construction techniques, allowing people to maintain them with ease. These techniques include the use of solar for lights and heating and harvesting rainwater for domestic use, among others. Additionally, they have been shown to reduce energy bills which helps save money.
2. Reduces Strain on Local Resources
One of the main advantages of a green building is that it lowers the strain on local resources, thereby helping to preserve the environment. An example of this is the use of recycled steel as a substitute for wood.
3. Improves Indoor Environment Quality
A green building provides ways to improve indoor environment quality by addressing essential needs. The use of glass enhances the lighting in the building. At the same time, the inclusion of indoor plants cleanses the air of carbon dioxide, which results in increased productivity, efficiency, and reduced stress levels.
Furthermore, building owners are encouraged to decrease the use of materials that may emit toxic elements. This, in turn, contributes more to eliminating severe threats to the earth.
4. Tax Benefits
In some countries, green buildings get tax benefits. The government offers incentives to encourage green solutions in daily operations as a means of preserving the environment. It significantly reduces the costs incurred during the construction of a building.
How Can Construction Companies Be More Sustainable?
1. Using Sustainable Materials
While planning a new project, a company should consider using sustainable materials to minimize unanticipated environmental problems. Most companies build structures with on-site concrete materials, which release large amounts of greenhouse gases.
To mitigate these effects, materials like straw bales, recycled plastic, reclaimed wood, bamboo, etc., have been introduced to work as earth bricks, concrete, and wood alternatives. For example, such sustainable materials were used to make structures like the flower tower in Paris, Bangkok Treehouse, made out of bamboo.
2. Using Prefabricated Materials
Prefabrication is one of the best ways to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases significantly. It involves producing materials and then transporting them to a site for assembly. This technique is not only cost-effective but also environmentally friendly and guarantees optimal results.
Most commonly used prefabricated materials include aluminum steel, wood, fiberglass, and concrete. This form of construction is environmentally friendly and can also reduce the costs depending on the materials used.
3. Proper Disposal Of Construction Waste
Materials such as concrete, shingles, and gravel can result in high waste products. Therefore, construction companies must discard construction waste properly to manage environmental pollution. While attending to this, firms should consider sending them to a recycling unit to dispose of them properly to keep the surroundings safe.
4. Eliminating Paper Blueprint Drawings
Construction firms should avoid using paper blueprints, drawings, and paper-made products to reduce tree cutting. With technology improving by the day, it is becoming easier to utilize construction software such as CAD Pro’s blueprint software and computers for this purpose. The added advantage of adopting technology is that it will improve project management and task coordination due to increased efficiency.
5. Energy-efficient Plans and Equipment
One of the best ways to ensure sustainability in construction is choosing energy-efficient plans and equipment. Having the right type of energy-saving appliances and other resources will significantly decrease energy waste. Highly qualified teams on this subject matter can also help greatly.
The world needs green construction companies to reduce the industry’s effect on the environment. As mentioned above, any construction company can take the initiative to become more sustainable in their operations using these tips.