Sustainable construction: 6 ways to clean up your job site
Construction is a dirty job, and sustainability is often an afterthought. But going green can be a good thing, for the environment and for your business. And the market is starting to demand it.
Contractors are now taking a deeper look at practices that can improve both their footprint and their foothold within the industry. For many, it’s uncharted territory, so we’ve pulled together a few helpful hints to guide you down a path of sustainable success.
Consider the triple bottom line
In the field, decisions are usually made based on how they affect the bottom line, but that doesn’t take everything into account.
A key concept in sustainability is the triple bottom line. The idea is that natural resources aren’t solely an environmental concern. If you generate enough waste, eventually it has social implications, which, in turn, have an economic impact that reverts back to you. There’s no escaping Mother Nature.
So think of sustainability as something that can benefit you in the long run, rather than a luxury. And you’ll be surprised by how much it can help.
Reclaim materials when you can
Few things look more daunting than a pile of rubble from demolition work, but with the right mindset, you can look at it and see dollar signs.
There are ways to turn that trash into treasure. In the EPA report, demolition accounted for the vast majority of C&D waste. Concrete made up the lion’s share of those materials at around 70 percent, and even that can be reclaimed to some extent. In the right hands, these materials can have unexpected second acts. Rooftop shingles, for instance, have been repurposed into roads.
This means that demo sites are secret goldmines. Provided you have the manpower to sort materials, the revenue you generate can be used to defray overall project costs, making it easier for you to stay competitive.
So, consider stationing one of these trucks around your site for easy collection and seize opportunities as they present themselves.
Seek out recycled building materials
Outside of what you can harvest on your own, preserving natural resources is a collaborative effort. Build on what others are already doing and boost your project’s sustainability through the use of recovered materials. The EPA’s Comprehensive Procurement Guideline program maintains a directory of suppliers that can point you in the right direction. Make sure you incorporate these materials in your design to get the most out of them.
Obtain LEED certifications
Not all of us have the time to become experts on the environment and how to protect it. Fortunately, you don’t have to come up with your own game plan. The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program provides an excellent benchmark for sustainable construction and design.
These certifications are highly sought-after in the real estate world, and they’re often a requirement for many upscale projects. The program requires you to complete prerequisites and a number of electives, and the specifics can vary from project to project.
With a certification in hand, you’ll have demonstrated a willingness to invest in green building, which can open yourself up to prestigious opportunities down the line.
Don't be afraid to rent
Very often, sustainability efforts can seem restricted by what you have on hand, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Whether you’re building up or tearing down, material reclamation is too large an opportunity to ignore. If you’re considering how to make your job site more sustainable, get in touch with our Material Handling Solutions specialty. This team has equipment ranging anywhere from heavy forklifts to a simple hand truck, so you can transport materials with the utmost control. And our specialists can help you brainstorm options.
At the end of the day, we believe in the power green, from the color of our equipment to the sustainability it supports.