With the future of our planet hanging in the balance, the construction industry still has a lot of challenges left to overcome before it reaches a point of sustainable development. As it stands, the carbon footprint of the global construction industry is already quite high; it accounts for 38% of total global emissions.
The first step in the process of solving a problem is acknowledging that there is one. To even begin preaching sustainability in the construction industry, decisionmakers need to become aware of the environmental impact of this industry and the importance of embracing new, sustainable construction practices that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preserve the planet.
Thankfully, researchers have found that there are many opportunities available for sustainable development in 2022. Let’s have a look at some of the major steps that can be taken to push the construction industry in a more sustainable direction.
To support rising sustainability demands in construction projects, professionals can turn to more sustainable building materials that help minimize surface-level pollution. That can include non-VOC paints (as standard organic volatile compound paints can make their way into the soil and poison natural water supplies), recycled wood or plastic, bamboo, natural fibers, stone, steel or graphene.
Another smart way to reduce the environmental impact of construction is to take full advantage of the staggering amount of technological advances. Building emissions can be cut down with the help of efficiency-enhancing devices, such as smart thermostats, lights, shades and other smart appliances. What’s more, the IoT (Internet-of-Things) system can be implemented in construction projects to collect specific information about materials and equipment and deliver live data related to sustainability. This data can be used to ensure the optimal usage of all resources available, therefore reducing waste.
Modular or prefabricated construction is not a new model. However, it has seen a large rise in popularity over the last few years, particularly since the pandemic forced everyone to adopt new social-distancing practices. Thanks to the controlled environment it introduces and the major reduction in building materials waste, modular construction is a far more sustainable approach to construction.
The recent pandemic served as a temporary pause button, allowing many homeowners to stop and consider the benefits of more environmentally friendly homes. As lockdowns were slowly lifted, the demand for construction projects rose again, this time with a larger focus on sustainable building and energy-efficient tools and devices. In 2022, there is a strong demand for footprint-reducing construction practices and “net-zero” homes all across the residential sector.
A major trend in sustainable construction is smart plumbing. To emphasize the importance of water conservation, construction companies are adopting and implementing smart plumbing features such as low-flush toilets, touchless fixtures, water-leak sensors, and heat pumps into their construction projects. These features are not just energy-efficient, but also healthier and more convenient to use.
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