Climate change is an increasingly common term. Everything from the number of forests being cut down to the number of fossil fuels we use contributes to changing weather patterns and, ultimately, the lessening of the planet’s natural resources. If you routinely take on construction projects, chances are you are contributing to the problem. Luckily, you can take steps to ensure your next project as more environmentally friendly and possibly even more affordable for you to complete!
The Materials and Where You Purchase Them
The materials you use to complete your construction project are a big part of remaining eco-friendly. Many people mistakenly believe that environmentally friendly materials will be more expensive, but the truth is that some of the most affordable options are good for the planet. There are popular options for nearly any type of construction project:
- Bamboo – Although it is very lightweight, bamboo is actually quite strong and is an excellent choice for residential construction projects, especially when used for small parts of the project. Additionally, because bamboo grows fast in a variety of climates, it’s a good option if you want a resource that you can easily renew.
- Concrete Substitutes – If you must have something extremely sturdy and long-lasting, consider a concrete substitute. Substitutes involve mixing traditional concrete with waste materials, including ash or sawdust.
- Recycled Steel – The most-recycled materials in the world, steel is normally about 42 percent recycled, However, if you want to up your eco-friendly game, you can source steal that is 100 percent recycled.
- Wood – Used in construction projects for hundreds of years, wood is one of the most eco-friendly materials available. The resource is already renewable, but if you want to take it even further, you can use lumber from demolished buildings to avoid cutting down more trees.
Regardless of the materials you choose, buy as much of them locally as possible. Purchasing from major retailers that need to ship your materials contributes to the strain on the environment because of the fuels required to transport construction items. The closer to home you purchase them, the better impact you’ll have on the environment.
Minor Details Matter, Too
When you imagine construction materials, you likely think only of the “big items” that create the walls, floors, and ceilings of the property. However, the smaller details are just as important when it comes to creating an environmentally friendly property. Cellulose provides proper insulation for a building while keeping it eco-friendly, and wood preservatives or non-toxic paints are gorgeous, affordable, and keep people and the planet safer. When considering the property’s utilities and appliances, consider using solar panels to power them. You might even create a water conservation system by collecting rainwater for the green spaces or creating a biological waste water treatment area that allows you to re-use water. Even the lightbulbs are important in an eco-friendly building. Stick to low-energy models that burn up to 100 times longer than traditional ones.
Eco-Friendly Construction May Bring in More Customers
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons to get into eco-friendly construction is because of new customers it could bring in. An increasing number of people are becoming concerned about the environment. People are choosing contractors not based on price but on how eco-friendly their services are. One way that you can set yourself apart from other contractors who claim to be environmentally friendly is to become certified by an organization such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. You can also choose to become a certified green contractor with Associated Builders and Contractors or a Green Advantage Certified Practitioner, among others.
Eco-Friendly Construction Equipment
The equipment you use (or the way you use it) also factors into creating an environmentally friendly construction project. When you’re buying the bulldozers, trucks, and other items you need to complete construction projects, you might be tempted to purchase something shiny and new but doing so isn’t good for the environment. If your business needs new construction equipment in Lexington, consider purchasing used equipment. When purchased through the right venue, used equipment is certified operable and may even include a warranty. It is more affordable for your company’s budget and keeps otherwise useful construction equipment from going to landfills. You might even consider renting if you don’t do construction all the time but have a short-term project in mind.
When it comes to the equipment you already own, ensure you maintain it according to manufacturer’s instructions. This ensures it remains in working order for as long as possible and prevents it from contributing to the growing waste of the planet’s resources. If you do decide to purchase new equipment, consider selling or donating old pieces to ensure they are recycled.
From where you purchase your construction materials to how you put them together, an environmentally friendly construction project is a big job, but it is one that can literally change the world. Keep these ideas in mind the next time you’re ready to take on a new project.
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