Johnathan Bulmer of Cleveland Containers, a leading supplier of shipping container solutions to the industry, offers tips to make construction sites greener
Each business owner has a greater responsibility, now more than ever before, to make their place of work more eco-friendly. Global initiatives on carbon, recycling and plastic use are coming into force more and more and businesses large and small have an obligation to their local and wider communities.
While offices and warehouses are able to enforce practices overnight like going ‘paperless’, for construction and building sites, it can be more of a challenge. Luckily there are a few steps that can be taken to ensure your business is working towards a much greener and environmentally responsible future – no matter what your industry.
The material world
What materials you use, how you use them and where they are sourced from, will play a vital role in your eco-friendly construction practices. Current materials predominantly used in construction produce too much C02 during and after construction, which makes these materials unsustainable. Fortunately, there are more sustainable materials available and the list is growing as the industry adapts:
- Sustainable concrete – regular concrete is actually responsible for 7-10% of global C02 emissions but there is an alternative. Sustainable concrete is mixed with recyclable materials like crushed glass and wood chips.
- Wool bricks – these clever bricks use non-toxic materials and are actually up to 37% stronger than regular bricks while being more resistant to corrosive elements.
- Paper insulation – a great alternative to chemical foams like fibreglass. Recycled newspapers and cardboard can be used instead and are fire-retardant thanks to the inclusion of borax, boric acid and calcium carbonate – all natural materials!
A question of demolition
Recycling shouldn’t just be reserved for paper, plastics and glass – demolition practices can contribute too. Countless tonnes of used concrete and steel are simply dumped into landfills every day when these can be recycled for future construction jobs. Contact your nearest industrial crushing facility who can crush these materials into dry aggregate for future use.
Household construction waste like carpet, tiles and ceiling debris can also be used in a variety of ways. Plus, you will save money by avoiding the costs associated with disposing toxic materials, which are a hazard to everyone.
Keep it local
By using locally sourced materials, you will be cutting down on the huge energy usage associated with transporting large amounts of materials over long distances. Cut down on your carbon footprint and get your hands on materials quicker too with locally sourced materials.
Remember, you’ll also be supporting your local businesses and suppliers and using local materials is something your business can shout about in the press and be proud of.
Energy efficiency best practice
There are also several basics you may be missing on your construction site that can have a large impact on your energy usage and efficiency. Take a walk around your site or create ‘green champions’ in your company who look out for the following on site:
- Lighting – switch to high efficiency lighting anywhere you can on site, which will also help reduce your monthly bills.
- Site accommodation – ensure your staff rooms, cafeterias and other site accommodation have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of A, B or C. Prioritise insulation and natural light over artificial heating too.
- On site offices – the same applies to your on-site offices. Keep windows closed and doors shut when your heating is on, keep computers shut down or hibernating when not in use and recycle everything you can.
Accept the green challenge
The challenges of sustainability and green practices are felt very heavily in construction– perhaps more than in any other industry. Heavy material usage, transportation and energy are at the heart of construction and are unavoidable by-products. However, if every company begins to take small green steps the impact on our environment could. be considerable.