Sustainability in the construction site
Construction sites – and the sector as a whole – make a big contribution where emissions are concerned. In fact, the built environment sector is responsible for 45% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions, with 10% directly associated with construction activities. A more sustainable approach to a construction site will necessarily involve reducing emissions – with the added benefit that this will help to reduce levels of air pollution too. So, where is the best place to start?
- Opt for more energy-efficient premises on-site. Sustainability isn’t just about reducing emissions during the construction process but also when it comes to the way that premises are set up. Choose accommodation with an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of A, B or C to minimise the amount of energy being consumed on site. Selecting sustainable options for power – such as a combined heating and power system (CHP) – could also make all the difference.
- A new perspective on waste. Make, use, dispose has been the construction sector’s traditional perspective when it comes to waste. However, it’s clear that this doesn’t contribute to a more sustainable construction site. Instead, it’s vital to switch to recycling and reusing wherever possible.
- Make use of off-site construction. Whether it’s to improve cost-effectiveness or reduce waste, there are many advantages to opting for more off-site construction. Building components that are created off-site will reduce the impact of on-site activities and waste and can also help to deal with shorter project lead-in times. Emissions are reduced because there are fewer pieces of equipment on site and those that are there are run for shorter periods of time.
- Take a more efficient approach to transportation. There are many changes that can potentially make a big difference to the 20% of total UK carbon dioxide emissions that are created by the transport sector every year. Some of these include using telematics tracking and more driver training to ensure the most efficient routes are being taken. Plus, local sourcing can make all the difference to the volume of miles that need to be covered to bring materials on site. There are also now many more options when it comes to vehicles, including those that don’t consume diesel or petrol.
- Sustainability by design. This is an approach to the way that materials are sourced that will act to reduce the impact of the materials that are used in the construction process. For example, making the switch to recycled or secondary materials and integrating more consideration of how materials are going to be treated, from purchase to disposal.
- Find the right equipment. When you’re using the right equipment for the job then it’s much easier to minimise energy usage – for example, for lower periods of demand you may only need a smaller generator. Keep equipment well maintained so that it’s functioning effectively and look into renewable alternatives wherever possible.
Sustainability on the construction site is becoming increasingly key and these are some of the ways any business can begin to make the switch.