Sustainable Construction: Methods, Benefits and Best Practices

Sustainable construction is inexpensive, sturdy, and better for the environment by producing less waste products.
August 25, 2021
Construction

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics made headlines around the world not just for the grandeur of the Olympic stadium and its continuation despite the ongoing pandemic, but also for Japan's usage of sustainable construction methods in building their sports stadium. 

Japan has been long known to employ modern technologies in their construction of buildings, and sustainable construction is an emerging market in the construction industry. This modern method of construction advocates for sustainable development in one of the industries most responsible for the worsening of climate change. 

Sustainable construction aims to provide an alternative way of completing construction projects, but with a positive impact on the environment. In making construction sustainable, we expect to reduce our carbon footprint, and reduce the negative environmental impact brought by traditional building methods. 


hand holding heart next to scale model of house
Sustainable construction is the eco-friendly option to traditional construction.

What is Sustainable Construction?

Sustainable construction is more than just using recycled materials in building. This new market is redefining the processes in the construction sector, making use of sustainable materials and methods to complete projects, while reducing construction waste at the same time. 

The building industry has long been known for its negative impacts on the environment, and sustainable construction practices advocate the use of eco-friendly materials and processes.


hand holding scale model of house
Sustainable construction is better for the environment.


What Are the Different Types or Methods of Sustainable Construction?

The two main portions in the construction of buildings are the processes, and the materials used to complete the structure. As such, sustainability in construction can be achieved through the use of alternative methods, materials, and processes that contribute to green building. 

Processes

Traditional building processes are energy-guzzling and wasteful, as they follow the methods of before we collectively understood the impacts of our building sector to the environment. By creating alternative methods to our usual construction processes, we are able to develop environmentally-friendly ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

Waste Management

The construction industry is known for being particularly wasteful in resources, but is ultimately an industry that we cannot live without. However, we can agree that the methods of waste management can be improved by implementing recycling programs, and ensuring waste products are disposed properly. 

Construction of Green Buildings

Green buildings are those that reduce or eliminate negative environmental impacts by integrating a mixture of urban and natural elements in its construction. For instance, a green building may be one that was built around a strong, established tree without knocking the tree down. Instead, the tree serves as a support structure for the building. 

Transforming Old Buildings

Back to the Olympics, after the two-week stint of hosting the Olympic games, most countries completely abandon their stadiums, allowing these structures to break down or demolish. This is not the case for China, who hosted the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and has since transformed their Olympic stadium into a sports stadium. 

That is an example of transforming old buildings. Instead of developing new buildings on the same site, renovate and transform the existing building to fit the purpose of the new building. This method is not only sustainable, it also reinforces the structure, especially if the base of the structure is still solid. 

Energy Conservation

Those heavy duty machineries and equipment need heavy duty power. The energy used in construction is typically from non-renewable sources like gas and fossil fuels. Sustainable construction methods call for using equipment only when needed, and to shut off equipment not in use to reduce the amount of energy being used up.


man holding scale wooden model of house
Materials used in sustainable construction are usually reclaimed or otherwise sustainable resources.


Materials Used

The usage of sustainable materials may seem like an obvious way of contributing to green building, but not all natural resources or recycled materials are considered environmental. Construction companies need to take into account the environmental impact of processing these natural materials, assessing if they are truly renewable resources that don't take a lot of energy and water to process.

Precise Measurements

When measuring out the materials needed, measure as precisely as possible to prevent over cutting of blocks, or other items needed for the building. This way, we reduce the amount of excess material that would become construction waste at the end of the building process. 

Bamboo

Bamboo is not only a great natural resource, it is sustainable and eco-friendly as well. Bamboo may look and feel like wood, but is actually a grass that grows exponentially fast, making it a renewable resource that is a perfect alternative to wood as the material is durable, yet water resilient. 

Recycled Plastic

Because plastics never really fully degrade, recycled plastic makes for terrific and sustainable construction materials since they are waterproof, durable, and make use of materials that are otherwise waste products. 

Reclaimed Materials

Reclaimed materials have been used in construction since the beginning of its roots, but increase in the usage of reclaimed materials have only been around for the past decade or so. Reclaimed materials overturn its negative impact on the environment by making use of otherwise waste materials, and giving them new life in the construction of homes and buildings.


two men shaking hands with scale model of house on table
Sustainably constructed structures tend to promote environmental stability.


What Are the Benefits of Sustainable Construction?

We know that sustainable construction is great for the environment; but there is more to sustainable building than just being environmentally-friendly. Sustainable construction is better for our health, as it provides us with clean, green processes that minimize its contributions to greenhouse gases, pollution, and climate change.

Better for Health

Sustainable construction is better for our health, as it makes use of green materials and processes that do not pollute the air, land, and water. This makes it better for us, as we do not get to inhale harmful chemicals or substances that could leak into our water supply, or in our air or soil. 

Sustainable construction also minimizes greenhouse gas emissions, making our environment generally cleaner and better for our health. In the long run, with more and more construction companies looking into sustainable building, we can expect cleaner air and clear waters while not having to give up developing our infrastructures.

Environmentally Responsible

Sustainable construction is the right thing to do when it comes to our environmental responsibility. We know, and we are aware that we have the duty to keep nature in balance with our urbanized infrastructures. Sustainable construction is the way to keep our buildings eco-friendly from start to completion, and even beyond that.

Reduces Waste

No one wants to deal with a messy, dirty environment full of toxic chemicals and construction waste, so sustainable construction conceptualizes methods that reduce waste in construction. Improper disposal of construction waste is also harmful to our health, as these waste products may make their way into our air or water supply, and taint the soil with harmful substances.

Promotes Sustainability

The term “sustainable” is right in the name, hence, sustainable construction promotes the use of sustainable and environmentally sound construction methods and building materials to make for a greener earth for future generations. The earth is a non-renewable resource, and we only have one of it, so managing its condition is key to keeping the earth inhabitable and safe for generations to come.

Growth for Emerging Market

On the business side of sustainability, sustainable construction is an emerging market that is continuously growing as more and more people understand the importance of keeping the environment clean. Sustainable construction methods are now providing more jobs for people, as well as opportunities for businesses that offer alternative building materials.


large open space with shrubs and buildings
The best sustainable construction practices advocate for a mix of urban and nature.


The Best Practices for Sustainable Construction

Use Alternative Materials and Methods

Using alternative materials listed above is a good step into sustainable construction. Couple that with integrating alternative methods into your building makes for a much more eco-efficient building that still produces the intended end result.

Just-in-Time (JIT) Production

Utilising Just-in-Time, or JIT, production is to produce materials only when the project calls for it. This practice is mostly on the side of the materials manufacturer, as it promotes waste reduction by only manufacturing materials when needed or required by the client. This practice reduces the waste materials that come from excess production.

Go Digital

The current digital era has given us the opportunity to go paperless, and instead reach for the tablet to conceptualize building plans. There are multiple professional apps developed and used by engineers and architects to make building conceptualization more efficient and less wasteful. Most of these apps also calculate the exact amount of materials needed for the best precision.

Build Green

When looking for a contractor to help you make your dream home a reality, in the safest, and most sustainable way possible, contact us at ColeBuild. We have the expertise and technology to find alternative solutions to build your home the sustainable way, giving you the peace of mind that you were able to construct your dream home or building without negative impacts on the environment.


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