The future of the construction industry relies on sustainable renewable energy solutions and eco-friendly practices. New homes and commercial sites should be built with future-proofing greener technologies, while widespread efforts should be made to reduce the sector’s carbon dioxide emissions.
Whether you’re working on-site or managing a project proposal, it’s always worth knowing how technological advances could pave the way for greener developments.
Understanding the environmental challenge
The construction industry threatens natural and residential environments in various ways.
It’s estimated that the energy-related CO2 emissions from the building and construction sector reached ten gigatons, with the sector accounting for over a third of total energy demand in 2021.
From discarded building waste materials to carbon emissions from heavy machinery, it’s impossible to avoid the sources of these pollutants. To safeguard the industry’s future, it’s imperative that site managers and leaders need to take decisive action to mitigate the sector’s environmental footprint.
Which sustainable technologies could transform the construction industry?
As of August 2022, sourcing low-carbon energy solutions was the least popular sustainability priority amongst engineering and construction companies in the US.
But construction firms and leaders within them should turn to renewable energy sources, reducing the need for traditional fuels over time. As an example, solar panels could used to charge or replace devices and power products on a permanent site.
The challenges intensify in remote working environments, where most construction workers rely on diesel-powered tools and generators to provide electricity. The responsibility also lies with local authorities to make renewable power easily accessible and commercially available.
- Sustainable materials and equipment
Choosing recycled and eco-friendly materials could significantly boost a construction firm’s eco-credentials. While it might take years or decades for the industry to improve, smaller localized efforts shouldn’t be overlooked.
Mass timber makes a sterling example of a sustainable material. This simply means sourcing and reusing timber scraps or leftovers from previous projects. It could come from any structure or parts, like old furniture and fences.
- Government initiatives and regulations
The government knows that pollution on construction site endangers the lives of workers across the country. Policies, incentives and regulations should be introduced with a focus on promoting sustainability and protecting natural resources and environments too.
Regulatory changes might be slow to take effect, but the long-term benefits could reduce the serious consequences of a dangerous sector.
The US should work collaboratively towards a zero-emissions strategy for multiple sectors, with a focus on construction. Efficiency needs to be the focus over the next ten years as companies turn away from fossil fuels and welcome renewable technologies.
Legislation could impose fines or restrictions on this aspect of the trade, encouraging managers to look for more sustainable options.
The international dependence on fossil fuels keeps the construction industry polluting at an alarming rate. With renewable energy sources, sustainable materials and official legislation in place, we might start to see things change for the better.