The construction sector is comfortably the worst offender when it comes to pollution. In fact, it accounts for around 55% of all carbon emissions worldwide. But it doesn’t need to be that way. Unfortunately, it’s an industry that has mired itself in some rather bad habits but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If those in charge are willing to work for it.
Here are 5 of the ways the construction sector can reduce its carbon footprint at a fundamental level – at the construction site itself!
1. Low Carbon Cement
A large amount of concrete is used to construct a typical building. To make this mixture, cement is often used as the main ingredient. To reduce the carbon impact of a construction site, it is now necessary to opt for low-carbon cement. While it is still a rather modern invention, low-carbon cement is an ongoing experiment that has been awarded multiple millions of pounds over the last few years in development funds. Switching to renewable fuels and other process improvements could cut the carbon footprint of cement making by as much as 30% and that is by no means a small figure.
2. Zero Carbon Emission Tools
Using cordless tools with chargers is a good way to reduce pollution. Some tools even have enough battery life to last a good few hours and are far less polluting than conventional power tools. Look for industrial equipment suppliers that specialize in battery-powered tools.
3. Tracking Waste
So much of the waste found in landfills across the planet comes from construction sites. If we want to stand any chance of cultivating green construction sites then we need to start tracking our site waste. The LEED green building protocol in the US awards points for waste diversion, so if a site is pursuing that certification it’s in its best interests to keep track of its waste. We think it’s about time the UK caught up.
4. Prefabricated Materials
The use of prefab or preassembled parts significantly cuts down on the number of resources used at a construction site. We understand that this might not be possible or realistic for many projects but for those projects that can be “delivered whole,” the use of prefab pieces means fewer shipments are required, reduces the risk of injury, and means far fewer resources are used in general. A true win-win.
5. Ride-sharing To Work
There has been a major push in recent years towards mainstreaming the use of electric vehicles but we’re not there quite yet. Perhaps a more realistic way of making the transport of workers to and from the site more carbon-neutral is to instigate a ride-sharing program.
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