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Sustainability in construction

'Sustainability' is one of the most talked about but least understood terms. Its core significance is often clouded by differing interpretations compounded by a tendency to treat the subject matter superficially, be it through eco, green or smart rhetoric. Yet, for those in the public and private sectors who do take the issue earnestly, sustainability embraces the environment and its long-term endurance as a matter of concern for all humanity. In fact, the construction industry accounts for an incredible 36% of worldwide energy usage, and 40% of CO2 emissions. Considering the global extent of urbanization today and taking into account the pace at which the planet is being further urbanized, it is even more imperative that whatever is built must perform sustainably on all registers – environmentally, economically, and socially.

Working sustainably involves meeting the current demands of the expanding population as well as supporting the environment in the long-term. The Earth has a finite number of resources, and growing population so there is a need for sustainable construction. Sustainability is avoiding the depletion of natural resources to maintain the ecological balance, and that is what most businesses and industries mean when they talk about sustainability.

Construction methodologies use excessive amounts of non-renewable energy sources or produce a lot of waste that is harming the environment. If we value environmental preservation, it is crucial that we use methodologies that promote that, or that we pursue other means of offsetting the harm we are doing by creating a benefit some other way.

There can be great benefits of investing in sustainable technologies when it comes to construction. There have been recent advancements in construction that can help reduce the amount of materials used and hopefully improve sustainability in construction like prefabrication in construction in an eco friendly manner. The great benefit is that the units are manufactured within a factory, so any excess is not thrown out. Instead it can be recycled and reused in another unit. Prefabrication also allows for more accurate construction, so there is less material that needs to be recycled.

The technology around design and building information modelling can revolutionize the way that we build. BIM is becoming more and more accurate and can help with the necessary calculations of material and time. The information that construction companies can get from these models can improve construction overall and lead to better, more efficient building practices which reduce the resources needed. Because it is not just the physical resources used in the construction of the building, it is also the resources that go into the construction. Resources like gas and electricity can be saved through more efficient construction processes.

Building firms are increasingly turning to drone technology in an effort to enhance worker safety, lower costs and improve the quality of their land surveys. These tools can address safety risks and enhance security by keeping a close eye on construction sites. Tracecost is an amazing software that brings sustainability allowing changes and updates to be made in real time resulting in reduced costs, work effectiveness and enhanced efficiencies.

While developing technologies and planned projects are getting the ball rolling, there is still a lot to be done to ensure construction is truly sustainable. It is important for companies to look for different ways to construct buildings sustainably. Too many aspirations for a project will not give sustainable construction. Hence, identification of appropriate targets, benchmarks and tools along with their proper management will give sustainability in construction.

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