Why is sustainability important in construction?

by Sion Geschwindt

It’s important to consider the impact our actions have on the planet, but what does it mean to be sustainable? and what role does the construction industry play? Sjoerd Springer, Account Manager at Ed Controls, explores

The United Nations defines sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without comprising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

To build a sustainable world, we must adopt environmentally friendly approaches using renewable and recyclable resources – to reduce waste and energy consumption.

The use of eco-friendly building materials, green manufacturing techniques, and project management technology are just a few ways construction is moving towards creating a sustainable future.

And it doesn’t end after the completion of a building project, the design of a building itself should have minimal impact on the environment over its entire lifecycle.

Energy consumption

Construction sites are known for their high energy requirements. From emissions generated onsite and along the supply chain to intensive energy usage during construction, the industry has huge impact on the environment. According to British Assessment, the construction industry accounts for a whopping 36% of worldwide energy usage and 40% of CO2 emissions.

Given these statistics, care must be taken to reduce waste and energy consumption wherever possible, and this can be done in a number of ways.

A popular solution is a modular battery system that can be deployed on site and recharged through solar panels. Considered an industry leader, BayWa.re is a great example of this. Their renewable-based solution provides clean, self-generated onsite power for construction projects around the world.

Building materials

Environmentally friendly materials are those in which, in their production, placing, and maintenance, have a minimal environmental footprint.

The construction industry produces a huge amount of waste – indeed, construction, demolition, and excavation account for an astonishing 62% of the UK’s total waste – three times more waste than all UK households.

According to Wrap, the sector uses 400 million tonnes of material every year, which results in 100 million tonnes of waste being produced.

Eco-friendly materials are created to make sure they do not harm the environment at any stage of the construction supply chain, whether it’s in production, use, or at the end of their useful life.

There are many different types of materials that can be recycled. Research by BuildPass includes:

  • Metals
  • Plasterboard
  • Glass
  • Plastics
  • Wood
  • Bricks
  • Floor and wall coverings
  • Insulation
  • Packaging

Technology

From communication and data sharing to innovative construction methods and health and safety – technology can help the industry work smarter, faster, safer, and more sustainably.

Sustainable construction starts with everyday practices that positively impact the environment. Digital, cloud-based project management systems like Ed Controls are helping us become more sustainable by optimising operations, reducing waste, and creating a streamlined strategy to any construction project.

Did you know, that even in 2022 the most widespread method of snagging is by pen and paper? In fact, under 6% of construction companies in Europe make full use of digital planning tools. This process starts by going paperless and utilising digital documentation, reducing the use of paper is a great step towards sustainable construction.

It’s crucial that we take full advantage of the digital technologies available to us by enhancing digital collaboration and moving to paperless projects.

Future

As the effects of climate change intensify globally, sustainability will only become more important year on year.

The earth has a growing population, a finite number of resources, and a need for sustainable construction. In the UK, we also have stringent policies to meet on the long road to Net Zero 2050.

Sustainable construction poses a number of benefits from environmental and financial to social. It’s important that we help to create a world that will improve the lives of future generations to come.


Build in Digital stakeholder Ed Controls is an IT company that helps organisations to reach their full potential by developing innovative software that makes it possible to work in a smart, effective, and time-saving manner.


Read next: What is the Building Safety Bill?

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