Integrating the 7 Principles of Sustainable Construction

Principles of Sustainable Construction

Research has predicted over the next 40 years, the world will build 230 billion square metres – the equivalent of Paris – in new construction each week. With this in mind, the construction industry must equip itself with business sustainability strategies if we stand a chance at reaching net zero

Buildings emit more energy-related carbon than the full transport industry worldwide. What’s more, the amount of man-made mass has surpassed 1 trillion tonnes, exceeding the biomass of the entire natural world. Green buildings are the answer and as a result, the construction sector has embraced the 7 principles of sustainable construction which aim to shape a greener and more resilient future.

What does sustainability construction look like? 

Sustainable construction comprises three critical areas – social responsibility, economic efficiency, and of course, environmental impact. These pillars work in tandem, governing the building design, technologies and processes, quality of architecture, and working conditions. 

Sustainability in construction refers to a style of construction that aims to mitigate buildings’ negative social, economic, and environmental repercussions. Sustainable construction approaches are intended to achieve numerous objectives. 

These include reducing reliance on non-renewable natural resources, minimising the quantity of waste we create, and curbing maintenance and expenditures. Additionally, enhancing communities’ social interactions and increasing the utilisation of renewable natural resources. 

Houses, retail buildings, offices, and other infrastructure are built to offer benefits with these objectives in mind. However, sustainability should also be prioritised from design to delivery and beyond. With this in mind, when speaking about sustainable construction, we must remember it isn’t just about how we create our infrastructure but our entire aims and attitude throughout the construction lifetime.

Benefits of sustainable construction 

There are many benefits associated with sustainable construction beyond driving sustainable development. Below are some of those advantages in more depth. 

Reduces waste

Sustainable construction also generates a lot less waste than traditional business-as-usual construction initiatives and projects. Green buildings also have a low environmental impact and typically employ renewable and clean resources. 

Noise resistance

This advantage may be less obvious, but sustainable construction materials typically offer fantastic heat and sound insulation, thereby resisting noise. 

Cost-effective

It is essential to acknowledge that sustainable construction can be incredibly cost-effective. In other words, it can be a versatile and intelligent choice because the building initiatives are often significantly less expensive and require fewer resources than typical construction. 

How to implement the 7 principles of sustainable construction

The  7 principles of sustainable construction are vital to ensuring building developments adhere to sustainable construction methods. Below are some tips on how to implement these principles in the early stages for maximum impact.

Choose sustainable materials for construction

Creating construction materials from scratch requires a significant amount of energy, a resource we desperately need to conserve. To effectively reduce the emergency expended on a range of manufacturing processes, it is vital to choose minimal-impact materials that can be either repurposed or recycled. 

An excellent way to achieve this is by utilising sustainable construction materials sourced from other building sites or those that come from naturally occurring elements containing recycled content and waste, like blown paper insulation. Builders can also opt for modular designs to curb wasted materials and greatly reduce construction time. 

Maximise space efficiency 

Maximising space efficiency is also an effective way to ensure you are adhering to the 7 principles of sustainable construction to create environmentally friendly buildings. There are several different ways to do this, from implementing industrial weighing scales in equipment to curb movement and reducing surface areas by excluding things like porches and patios. 

Not to mention, including open spaces to maximise the use of daylight inside. Other ways to achieve this include implementing raised floor solutions to create space for underfloor systems and introducing folding beds, space-saving furniture, and moving walls to minimise the size of the structure and maximise the usable area. 

Select clean and renewable energy sources

One intelligent and easy way to achieve sustainable construction is by selecting renewable and clean energy solutions. Some of these include wind, hydro, and solar, which can greatly curb your fuel footprint and drive energy savings. 

Additionally, renewable energy can be embedded into the building design by constructing well-ventilated structures. Builders should also aim to install smart windows, bring in more natural light, and install solar panels on rooftops for running water heaters and HVAC units. 

Curb construction waste at all costs

It is well known that waste is a byproduct of any construction site. A significant amount of wasted cardboard, glass, roofing, metal, drywall, insulation, and more is not uncommon. 

Determine the materials that can be reused or repurposed. Waste is also witnessed when materials go unused because materials come in such large quantities so be sure to weigh raw materials accurately to avoid over-ordering. 

Summary

Research from RubyHome reports that green buildings can curb water consumption by between 20 and 30 percent and carbon emissions by up to 35 percent. Sustainable construction is vital to addressing the many adverse environmental impacts of traditional construction and building. 

Not to mention, this practice can result in significant cost savings over the life cycle of a construction initiative and curb the ecological impact of the process. These practices could also create economic and social benefits for local communities. Sustainability education for professionals is a critical piece to turning the tide on climate action. 

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