Sustainable and efficient construction is possible if companies set their sights on just a few areas – reducing carbon emissions, managing water usage and waste, using green building materials and being mindful of biodiversity, according to a document released by the Green Construction Board.
The document offers tips in five areas for making construction more green, efficient and sustainable:
- In the area of carbon emissions, set targets for reducing carbon emissions and monitor performance. Include carbon reduction as an objective in the design process, keeping in mind the entire life of the project. Prioritize energy savings throughout the entire construction process, and include durability and flexibility in building, making sure users will be able to save energy and keep costs down.
- In regard to water usage, set targets to minimize water consumption. Reduce main water consumption by using water-saving appliances or alternative water sources such as rainwater. Track water usage during construction, use water-efficient equipment, and watch and manage leaks. Take steps to prevent pollution, and inspect drains regularly.
- For materials, ask suppliers about new green products and processes before starting a project. Consider making materials go further by designing projects to be compact, integrated and resource efficient. Choose materials that have a low impact on the environment over their life, and when possible, choose materials that have responsible sourcing certifications.
- Design with waste management in mind, and create designs that can be dismantled and reused. Avoid late design changes, as these can create unnecessary waste. Use only as much packaging as is necessary to protect products, and choose materials that can be recycled. Make reuse and recycling a priority.
- To help maintain biodiversity, select sites with low ecological and agricultural value. Assess and monitor plants and animals sensitive to change, and take steps to protect them, their food sources and breeding sites. Design with features such as nest boxes, breeding sites, green roofs and walls. Use native plants in landscaping.
Lastly, check with specialists to create a comprehensive plan that meets the needs of both people and wildlife. Take advantage of expertise available in this area.