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Environmentally friendly construction: What is it and why should we be paying it attention?

Posted on October 29, 2018 by Andrew

Within the next 20 years, it is estimated that as a planet, we will reach our peak capacity for oil consumption. As global production of all oil decreases, demand continues to increase, and this is no different when it comes to the construction industry.

The construction sector and industries throughout the western world depend upon cheap crude oil for use within their manufacturing processes and the machines they use to implement these processes. What is striking is that within the UK, construction accounts for 50% of all carbon emissions produced by machinery and production.

However, the industry as a whole is starting to change and recognise the problems of pollution and the long-term threats it poses to our planet. The UK government is beginning to pass legislation that stipulates construction firms should use green practices within their production process, for example, whilst the buildings they produce should incorporate energy-efficient technologies. Furthermore, in the US last year, eco-friendly construction firms saw estimated revenues reach $245 billion.

Eco-friendly construction techniques

When building a proposed structure, three things are considered if the design and implementation of that design is to be ecologically beneficial.

Firstly, are the materials locally sourced and are they renewed, or have the opportunity to be recycled?

Second, is the energy being used to build the structure being wasted? For example, machines can be overused during the construction process and this leads to expendable energy being wasted. Nifty Lift cherry pickers are designed with hybrid motor technologies that ensure no expendable energy is wasted on a construction site. When the electric engine is engaged, 0% emissions are produced if the ‘electric only’ option is on, and it can also run alongside the diesel engine so that the diesel engine is never overworked.

Finally, once the structure is constructed, is energy being wasted that is generated within it?

During the construction of roofing, recycled paper can be used as insulation. This will function as a cheaper and practical alternative to the production of insulation materials that are being used specifically for the creation of that roof. As well as this, any timber that is used can be sourced locally from sustainably managed forests – or reclaimed wood can be used instead of chopping down a tree that will be used within construction.

Examples of ecological structures and design

Here are some of the many ways the construction industry is incorporating energy-efficient and eco-friendly technologies into their structures:

  • Solar energy panels. These panels can be used either for generating electricity within the building, or can be used domestically to power boilers and generate hot water within a property.
  • Drainage systems and water filtration. These systems can be designed so that water within a building is re-used, and biological waste is treated safely which can then be recycled. Furthermore, drains can be manufactured so that they lead to gardens. This is in order to collect rainwater for plants, rather than wastefully using water from a tap.
  • Low-energy lighting. Typically, low-energy lighting can account for a 100% energy saving, as they last twice as long as regular bulbs.

The benefits of eco-friendly construction and buildings

Operation and maintenance costs can account for 80% of a building’s total running costs over its lifetime. By using green energy initiatives, the operating costs of a building can be diminished by a third when it comes to water and energy.

When the building is constructed, daylight can be considered within its design in order to minimise artificial lighting costs. In addition to this, vitamin D from sunlight can improve the ‘indoor environment quality’ of a building, benefitting the health of all of the occupants within the structure.

During the construction process, green building manufacturers can also benefit the environment by using recyclable and long-lasting materials; overall, this means that fewer materials need to be used within the structure, which results in a cost saving and less energy being used (in the form of crude oils) to produce the building from machinery.

Ultimately, these processes help slow down the pace of climate change, which is always the end goal of any construction process that aims to become greener, more economically efficient and ergonomically conceptualized. By using less of processes that pollute the environment, and more processes that work in tandem with the environment, environmentally friendly construction helps to keep the environment clean.


Hiring construction equipment instead of buying them

Opting for the best skid steer rental or similar construction machinery instead of buying new ones can significantly contribute to sustainability efforts, particularly in the face of climate change and global warming. The production of new tools requires substantial amounts of raw materials and energy, leading to increased carbon emissions and resource depletion. By choosing to rent, companies can help reduce the demand for new tools, thereby lessening the environmental impact associated with their manufacture.

Moreover, renting tools promotes a circular economy, where resources are used more efficiently and waste is minimized. Tools that are rented are typically maintained in better condition and used to their full lifespan, reducing the number of tools that end up in landfills. This not only helps in managing waste but also conserves resources that would otherwise be used to produce new tools.

Renting also ensures access to the latest, most efficient equipment, which often boasts better fuel efficiency and lower emissions compared to older models. This can lead to reduced operational emissions on construction sites, contributing further to environmental sustainability.

Additionally, the economic benefits of renting should not be overlooked. Companies can avoid the high upfront costs of purchasing new equipment and instead allocate those funds toward other sustainable practices or innovations. In sum, renting construction tools aligns with both environmental and economic goals, making it a prudent choice in the context of global sustainability challenges.








Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings

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