Posted on 25th May 2018

Making the change to environmentally friendly construction

Making the change to environmentally friendly construction

Within the next 20 years, one thing is clear, we will reach the peak capacity for our consumption of oil. However, demand continually appears to rise as the global production of oil decreases. In light of this, the construction industry still requires most of its energy sources from oil-based fuels.

The construction sector is reliant upon crude oils throughout the Western world. This is because they are used within the processes that allow construction to happen. Surprisingly, within the UK, 50% of all carbon emissions produced by machinery and production are accounted for by the construction industry.

Awareness regarding how pollution is starting to impact our planet in the long-term is finally being realised, and attitudes are slowly beginning to change. Together with Reconomy, providers of waste management solutions for recyclable materials and skips for hire, we establish how eco-friendly practices can be established within any construction site.

When constructing new houses or new buildings, the UK government is instructing construction firms to use green processes by passing legislation. Post-construction, firms are also encouraged to incorporate green technologies within the build to benefit the environment once construction is complete.

As a lucrative opportunity within the market, UK firms could be taking advantage of environmentally friendly practices; in the US last year, estimated revenues for eco-friendly construction amounted to $245 billion.

The techniques involved in eco-friendly construction
In order for a structure to be ecologically beneficial to and within the environment, three core principles need to be established before construction any construction project begins:

1.       During construction, is any energy being wasted? Machines can often be overused during the production process, which leads to expendable energy that is wasted and can never be used again. Electric vehicles and machines with hybrid-engines should be used so that when a motor is being overworked – an electric engine can be engaged to cope with the load.

2.       Finally, once building the structure is complete, is there any energy generated within it that is wasted?

3.       Establish whether materials have been locally sourced or if they’re renewed; if they aren’t, can they be recycled in the future?

Recycled paper can be utilised as a form of insulation during and after the construction of roofing. Insulation materials are often expensive. By using a cheaper and practical alternative, the cost of producing insulation for one roof will be minimised drastically by using already existing materials. Furthermore, timbers sourced from sustainably managed forests in the local area can also be used. As well as reclaimed wood, this is an alternative to chopping down trees that are used within construction.

Ecological structures and their design
Energy-efficient practices and eco-friendly technologies can be incorporated into a proposed structure in many ways, and here are some examples:

· Solar energy panels. To generate electricity within a building, or domestically to power boilers and other electrical equipment, solar energy is fast become a cheaper alternative to other forms of domestic power.

· Drainage systems and water filtration. With these systems in place, water can be re-used when biological waste is treated safely, which can then be recycled. Rainwater can also be collected in specific drains and storage taps, as opposed to always relying on water from a tap.

· Low-energy lighting. Accounting for an energy saving of 100%, low energy lighting lasts twice as long as a regular lightbulb.

Benefitting from eco-friendly construction
Operating and maintaining a building can account for 80% of a building’s overall running costs throughout the duration of its lifetime. Green initiatives reduce the total running costs of a building by one third, which amounts to around 53.3% of a building’s running costs.

Daylight should always be factored into a building’s design, as this helps to save on artificial lighting costs. The ‘indoor environment quality’ of a building can also be improved when daylight can shine through a building, which benefits the health of all of the occupants that are present in the building.

Long lasting and recyclable materials should also be used once construction of a building begins. As a result, fewer new materials will be used within the structure, helping to reduce costs whilst less energy is consumed (from crude oils) in order to produce the structure.

By using these techniques and materials within the construction of a proposed structure, this ultimately slows down the pace of climate change. The end goal for the construction industry then, should be to produce homes and buildings that are greener, economically efficient and conceptualised with the environment in mind.