Blog : The Importance of Sustainability in Construction (2022)

Written by Sjoerd Springer

info@edcontrols.com

Sustainability is now part and parcel of modern life. In recent years, it has become increasingly important for all industries to think about the impact they have on the environment, individually and as a collective.

It’s important to consider the impact our actions have on the planet, but what does it mean to be ‘sustainable’ or ‘eco-friendly’ and what part does the construction industry play in this?

The United Nations defines sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without comprising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Working sustainably means doing just thatwhile sustaining the environment for generations to come.

In the UK specifically, there’s a huge focus on reducing carbon emissions and hitting Net Zero by 2050. With this in mind, the building industry needs to meet the energy efficiency targets set out by the UK government, which include eco-friendly building materials and eco-design.

To build a sustainable world, we must use eco-friendly methods. This means

  • using renewable and recyclable resources;

  • reducing waste and energy consumption where possible;

  • and taking the appropriate steps to protect the natural environment.

The use of eco-friendly building materials, green manufacturing techniques and project management technology are just a few ways construction is moving towards creating a sustainable future. And it doesn’t end after the completion of a building project, the design of a building itself should have minimal impact on the environment over the structure’s lifespan.

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Energy consumption

Construction sites are known for their high energy requirements for powering equipment. From emissions to energy usage, the construction industry has a huge impact on the environment.

According to British Assessment, the construction industry accounts for an incredible 36% of worldwide energy usage and 40% of CO2 emissions. Given these shocking statistics, care must be taken to reduce waste and energy consumption wherever possible.

This can be done in many ways. A popular solution is a modular battery system that can be deployed on site and recharges through solar panels. Considered an industry leader, BayWa.re is a great example of this. Their renewables-based solution provides clean, self-generated on site power for construction projects around the world.

“Carbon free construction is possible with modular, renewables based power systems”

Reducing waste and emissions will also result in cost savings, so it’s a win win.

Building materials

Did you know that the construction industry in the UK has been the highest contributor to construction waste (62%) as compared to other sectors?

In fact, the construction industry in the UK produces three times more waste than all UK households. According to Wrap, the sector uses 400 million tonnes of material every year, which results in 100 million tonnes of waste being produced.

In the industry, environmentally friendly materials are those in which, for their production, placing and maintenance are of low environmental impact. Eco-friendly materials are created to make sure they do not harm the environment at any stage of the construction supply chain, whether it’s in production, use or disposable. It’s also important that these materials can be easily recycled.

There are many different types of materials that can be recycled. Research by BuildPass includes:

  • Metals

  • Plasterboard

  • Glass

  • Plastics

  • Wood

  • Bricks

  • Floor and wall coverings

  • Insulation

  • Packaging

Technology

Sustainable construction starts with everyday practices that positively impact the environment. Digital, cloud-based project management systems like Ed Controls are helping us become more sustainable by optimising operations, reducing waste and creating a streamlined approach to any construction project – regardless of size.

One area where technology is set to have a powerful impact is digital construction management. This is something we at Ed Controls know all too well. Our snagging, defect management and quality control app is a world-class example of digital construction management in action.

From communication to data sharing, health and safety and innovative construction methods – technology can help the construction industry work smarter, faster and safer.

This process often starts by going paperless and utilising digital documentation. Reducing the use of paper is a great step toward sustainable construction.

Did you know, that even in 2022 the most widespread method of snagging is by pen and paper? In fact, under 6% of construction companies in Europe make full use of digital planning tools.

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Digitisation in construction signals a paperless future

It’s vital that we take full advantage of the digital technologies, by enhancing digital collaborating and moving to paperless projects. As an increasing number of construction firms adopt game-changing tools like Ed Controls, we’ll see construction activity transform and become faster, smarter and simpler in the future – with sustainability at the forefront.

You can save yourself time and money, whilst making a positive impact on the environment.

Looking ahead

To avoid mounting loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure, accelerated action is required to adapt to climate change, at the same time as making rapid, deep cuts in greenhouse gas says Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

As the effects of climate change are seen throughout the world, sustainability will only become more important year on year. The earth has a growing population, a finite number of resources and a need for sustainable construction. In the UK, we also have stringent policies to meet on the long road to Net Zero 2050.

Now more than ever, it’s important that make the effect to collectively reduce our energy consumption and choose environmentally friendly materials as an industry, to help meet government targets and protect our precious planet.

Sustainable construction poses a number of benefits from environmental and financial to social. It’s important that we help to create a world that will improve the lives of future generations to come.

Wonder how Ed Controls can ease your project? Request a free demo and discover it yourself!