Understanding The Importance Of Sustainability In Construction

In this article, we discuss the key features of sustainable development and its role in the Construction Industry.

What is sustainable development?

In the simplest of terms, sustainable development can be defined as the social and economic development that meets the needs of the present without compromising on the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

At its very core, sustainable development is a holistic approach and does not restrict to the environment but also the social and economic aspect of society. Too often, development is driven by the needs of today without considering the wider impacts on our future.

Sustainability in construction

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines sustainable construction as “the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and deconstruction.” In layman’s term, sustainable construction is a way of building structures and establishments using non-toxic materials and ecological resources that protects the natural environment and minimize the environmental impact caused by the process.

Importance of sustainable development in Construction:

The need for a more sustainable ecosystem is greatly required, now more than ever. The built environment around us has already caused so much damage to our ecosystem that according to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), “the increased construction activities and urbanization will increase waste which will eventually destroy natural resources and wildlife habitats over 70% of land surface from now up to 2032.”

This is deeply concerning for us and our future generations and therefore the need for sustainability, especially in construction is growing. Over the years, the construction sector has contributed a lot towards the destruction of our ecosystem. In fact, the built environment accounts for:

  • 45% of total CO2 emissions in the UK (27% from domestic buildings and 18% from non-domestic).
  • 72% of domestic emissions due to space heating and the provision of hot water.
  • 32% of landfill waste from construction and demolition of buildings.
  • 13% of construction waste that is sent directly to the landfill without being used.

Source: (Designing Buildings Wiki)

Remedying this situation has become a top priority for industry workers and key decision makers to minimize the consumption of natural resources for construction as well as reducing the impact of construction on our ecosystem.  

To meet these objectives, specific steps are needed to be taken towards designing, renovating or constructing buildings in compliance with environmental rules and energy-saving methods.

For example;

  • Use of renewable energy,
  • Developing efficient and smart technologies,
  • Minimization of natural resource consumption
  • Using environment- friendly materials for structures,
  • Investing in research and education of sustainable structures among local contractors

Even though the cost of sustainable construction is higher in the initial stages of the project, the mainstream contractors and construction firms are undertaking sustainable development in construction. The adoption of sustainable construction in firms has increased tremendously over the past few years and with new and improved technologies in the market, the cost for sustainable construction has also come down.

Sustainable development has become a principal topic in the construction industry. Colleges and universities are also stressing the importance of sustainability and have also introduced it in their curriculum. Today, sustainable development is the need of the hour and the construction sector is acting together to revolutionalize the way the industry traditionally functions.

Read how emerging technologies in construction is transforming the industry in 2019- https://pgcm.xime.org/?p=3240




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