In simple terms, sustainability refers to the ability to maintain something at a certain level or rate, avoiding depletion. When speaking of green building practices, sustainability refers to avoiding the depletion of natural resources for construction, maintenance, renovation, use, and demolition of a building.
An eco-conscious builder, developer, or property owner would do well to consider the sustainability of their properties and employ green practices during the development and upgrade of structures and land. Note some tips for employing green building practices with the aim of ensuring sustainability.
What Is the Core Principle of Sustainability?
First note some vital information about the core principle of sustainability and especially as applied to green building practices:
- Sustainability involves meeting the needs of the present while still allowing future generations to meet their needs as well.
- Sustainability does not necessarily mean avoiding the use of natural resources but involves replacement or use of such resources at a rate that allows them to replace themselves, or living within our means of natural resources.
- The “three Ps” of sustainability include planet, people, and profit, and the need for a balance between these so that one doesn’t destroy the other.
Sustainability in Construction
Sustainable construction refers to making environmentally responsible choices for a building’s lifecycle. This starts with its location and then proceeds with its design, construction, the use of the building or its operation, its maintenance, needed renovation and remodeling, and demolition.
Sustainability in construction takes into account the long-term use of the building, its surrounding environment, and how it will affect the environment even after its torn down. Building owners would do well to note sustainability in construction, to ensure they’re employing eco-friendly or green practices long after their building is erected.
Steps to Sustainable Construction Management
It’s vital that a construction manager employ sustainable practices on a jobsite and when planning any project. Note some important steps for sustainable construction management:
- Use alternative for construction materials. For example, you might opt for recycled plastic or ferrock rather than concrete or wood. If you must use wood, opt for bamboo as this material grows quickly and is very easy to replace.
- Consider just-in-time production rather than ordering large quantities of construction materials. With improved delivery options and better tracking through apps, it’s more possible than ever to order just what you need, when you need it.
- Prefab or offsite construction methods often eliminate tremendous amounts of construction waste. Framework, walls, and interior materials fabricated offsite are cut to exact measurements and in controlled conditions, producing less construction scrap and requiring far less post-construction treatment.
- More and more offices are storing paperwork digitally and employing email and instant messaging rather than paper memos, and construction managers can do the same with blueprints, engineering plans, drawings, and the like. Investing in technology that allows digital design and storage of these items reduces the use of paper and its resultant waste.