The nature of the construction industry requires the use of natural resources. The construction industry generates over 39% of the world’s carbon emissions because of the consumption of natural resources and raw materials. But with increasing climate change and finite natural resources, sustainable construction development is the transition that’s required for EPC contractors. Energy-intensive construction and environmental sustainability don’t complement each other. Despite the complex challenges and conflicting goals, construction companies are gradually becoming more sustainable. Let’s dive deep into understanding the nitty-gritty aspects of sustainable industrial development and why it’s important for construction companies.
What is Sustainable Construction?
Sustainability in the construction industry means using recyclable and renewable materials while constructing new residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. It also focuses on minimizing waste and energy consumption, which can lower the negative impact of construction on nature. Following different strategies and overcoming different construction industry challenges, an EPC contractor can switch to contributing to minimizing the industry’s impact on the environment. But the sustainability factor is not limited until the construction of the building or a structure. It should also focus on lowering the environmental impact throughout its lifespan. Design and construction planning play a significant role in positively influencing the building’s environmental impact. From proper insulation to solar panels, from integrating a solid waste management system to using sustainable building material, different steps must be taken by a construction company.
Now let’s understand the importance of sustainability in industry development.
Why is Sustainability Industrial Development Important?
The construction segment can impact the environment more from emissions to energy usage. Multiple reasons can be considered while understanding the importance of sustainable industrial development. But we have shortlisted a few:
- Effective usage of resources: Sustainable construction development restricts the exploitation of natural resources and ensures that resources are used effectively and conservatively. Construction companies and EPC contractors need to optimize the supply chain and focus on how the natural resources are extracted, the procurement process, and the waste management of the materials. Integrating sustainable business models can ensure your building construction creates a minimal environmental impact and helps create a happy and healthy future living space.
- Minimal pollution: A vital element of sustainability is lowering the environmental impact and stepping towards more environment-friendly and greener construction strategies and implementations. Implementing different waste management strategies in the construction segment can help reduce, reuse, or prevent waste that creates hazardous pollution.
- Adapting to the government’s regulations: World leaders are highly concerned about the new sustainable industrial practices in the world. Focus on adapting to sustainable construction practices has been around the cornea for a while now. Different regulations like European Green Deal and Construction Products Regulation limit construction companies from exploiting the environment and delivering greener and sustainable construction results to their clients. The UN has also announced different targets for sustainable contraction, like the reduction rate of energy intensity for every square meter in buildings must be 30% by 2030. The increase in regulations pushes EPC contractors and construction companies to remodel their strategies and figure out more sustainable solutions to help create a better tomorrow. But these sustainable construction solutions can be difficult to implement, keeping in mind the goals of the construction businesses and the rising competition in the industry.
Challenges of Sustainable Construction
The transition towards sustainable construction methods is not a smooth and overnight process. There are different challenges and a lot of capital involved in the process, and many construction businesses can find it hard to make the adoption.
- Sustainability comes at a cost: The biggest concern is the cost of the sustainable construction process. Construction companies face immense pressure to reduce costs for different construction aspects, but the project’s overall cost is higher than the traditional methods. With the rising competition in the industry, where different contractors and companies compete for project estimates and overall pricing, it’s hard for most construction businesses to sustain. Affordability is the primary challenge hindering the adoption of sustainable construction practices. Over 50% of the construction firms have stated that the expected green building cost is higher compared to the construction of normal buildings. Most construction businesses are stuck in-between balancing the demand and high cost of the sustainable construction approach and results. Cost consideration is a vital aspect of construction and engineering businesses, and if the sustainable materials or strategies are too expensive, the companies may not choose them as their primary approach.
- Lack of expertise: Different construction companies are trying to implement sustainability plans but lack experience in executing sustainability projects, and the knowledge of taking concrete steps is still lacking. The lack of visibility and clarity to complete the projects has also become a major issue for companies trying to transition into more sustainable construction projects. The companies find it hard to monitor their supply chains, sustainable practices, and their association with subcontractors. Only 55% of the companies have clear visibility and focus on the sustainable sourcing of the raw materials, and only 16% of the same visibility in the suppliers’ processes. Many companies are not accurate with the future prediction and execution of sustainable processes, which can result in ineffective results that can hinder growth.
- Design constraints: Designs play a vital role in ensuring that the constructed structure should result in minimal impact on nature over its lifespan. Different engineers and architects are using modern technologies to deliver more energy-efficient building designs, but that’s shifting the pressure on the construction agencies to digitize. Still, more design improvements and adoption are required to ensure that sustainable industrial development can be done effectively.
- Sustainable material choice: Construction materials are a primary contributor to impacting the environment in significant ways. The installation, use, end-of-life reuse, procurement, and extraction of construction material must be taken care of. Suppliers should implement different guidelines and policies to help the builders make quality material choices that can help in minimizing the negative environmental impacts. Sustainable materials should involve limited GHG emissions, and companies must assess and measure construction materials’ environmental impacts. The introduction of new types of sustainable materials and sustainable production processes are required to improve the supply chain and manufacturing. Multiple ways can be used to overcome these challenges and boost construction sustainability in the environment.
Sustainable Construction Industry Solutions
Here’s how construction projects can be sustainable.
- Use of renewable energy: Renewable energy can be used at construction sites to help minimize the on-site construction process energy consumption. Different modular battery systems and solar panels can be used to power the heavy construction equipment and ensure that the construction process runs with finesse. The use of solar energy in the construction project can restrict the use of diesel and the emission of harmful gasses in the large generators and can create a significant positive impact on the completion of large construction projects. Some modular battery systems can offset one tonne of CO2 weekly and 400 liters of diesel.
- Plastic: You might think about how plastic can be included in the topic where we are discussing sustainability and a greener environment. But the greatest sin of plastic becomes its strength in the construction world. The material cannot degrade, so it can assist in building sustainable buildings with a longer lifespan. The building doesn’t require maintenance or material replacement because the plastic won’t degrade. Plastic can play a vital role in sustainable construction and ensure that natural resources are not exploited in the construction industry.
- Sustainable materials: Other sustainable materials like wood, concrete and alternative brick materials can also be used for sustainable construction that can help shift the industry. Properly managed forests can be used for wood manufacturing that you can use in the construction process and can also help provide quality wildlife habitat. Construction businesses must collaborate with professional suppliers to access the woods processed from managed forests. Sustainable concrete can be used with plastic that can minimize CO2 production drastically. It can help a sudden shift towards sustainable construction development and deliver a greener environment. You can also use alternative brick materials such as plastic-like wool, mud, and cigarette butts that can give you a stronger strength than bricks. The need for kiln fires can be reduced, resulting in less harmful environmental emissions because of the construction process. Sustainable industrial development can provide great benefits that can improve the construction industry’s carbon footprint.
Benefits of Sustainable Industrial Development
Adopting sustainable construction methods can reduce the organization’s impact on nature, but that’s not it.
Here are more tangible benefits of sustainability of industrial development.
- Lowering the use of natural resources: Using minimal natural resources can help promote a greener and more effective ecosystem. A construction company can switch to a better, quality alternative to traditional construction materials. The lesser dependency can lead to new ideas and creativity in the construction industry and help quickly adopt the sustainability drive. The overall value of the greener building will be more that can deliver higher returns to the homeowners and builders over time. The reduced environmental impact can help in achieving better results in the future. Different industrial businesses are shifting towards greener development to uphold their responsibility to ensure a safer and cleaner environment. It helps in lowering greenhouse emissions and helps in the conservation of energy, water, and natural resources.
- Lower costs: The use of the latest sustainable technologies can result in lowering the overall spending on global energy. If a construction company can filter a better and more cost-effective alternative to the traditional construction approach, they can minimize the overall project construction cost to help end customers.
- Higher economic value: Sustainable industrial development can promote jobs and income, reducing the industrial impact. Improved environmental performance can result in increased labor productivity and higher product quality. Sustainable industrial development can also contribute to a healthier economy. Sustainability can result in efficient processes, lesser water, energy, and materials use, and deliver overall cost-saving results for different entities involved.
CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)
CSR can result in positive PR for businesses which can help attract more customers. The switch towards sustainable construction can result in higher CSR which can increase revenue. Greener buildings attract more people and businesses who want to reduce the environmental impact. They can point to their lower impact on the environment. The construction firm can also demonstrate CSR, which can be shared across the supply chain. If the organization is only in contact with the supplier focused on minimizing the carbon footprint, it can increase its PR.
TEBO Group Can Help You with Sustainable Industrial and Commercial Construction
TEBO is a leading engineering procurement and construction (EPC) in western Canada, with over years of experience conducting business in a responsible environment-friendly manner. We have adopted an environmental sustainability construction strategy to drive climate action and use construction resources effectively in our value chain. We support the circular economy and promote inclusion and diversity. We source ethically and responsibly and focus on practicing strict product stewardship.
Here are a few stand-out sustainable construction features that we follow.
- Planning: We focus on reviewing and developing sustainable targets and set appropriate benchmarks to achieve those targets. Our team of strategists has years of experience managing different sustainable construction projects that can deliver excellent results for our clients. We have clear visibility of the supply chain and the construction processing, enabling us to achieve our desired results with finesse.
- Sustainable product procurement: We focus on sustainable product procurement that can minimize carbon emissions and ensure we can deliver sustainable construction results. Our experts also focus on improving the quality and lowering the cost of sustainable products that can become great alternatives to traditional construction products.
- Environment-friendly development execution: We use the best machinery and focus on renewable energy sources at our construction site that can ensure environmental-friendly development execution. Our project managers ensure that the environmental impact is measured and checked at different stages of the construction project, and there’s no compromise in the quality.
Get in touch with our experts to discuss your sustainable project requirements and achieve your desired business outcomes.