Green Technology in Construction: Leading With Sustainability

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The construction industry is responsible for 39% of all energy-related carbon dioxide produced in the world. Reduce your construction company’s carbon emissions and energy consumption to be a leader in combating climate change and your industry as a whole. Understand why the benefits of green construction technology outweigh the cons and learn about the various types of green technology in construction to become a leader in the construction industry.

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What Is Green Construction Technology?

To use green technology in construction is to use items, software, or methods of and for building that have a lower-than-average impact on the planet. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) says, “While there are many different definitions of green building out there, it is generally accepted as the planning, design, construction, and operations of buildings with several central, foremost considerations: energy use, water use, indoor environmental (hvac) quality, natural air conditioning, material section and the building’s effects on its site.”

Most green construction focuses on reducing energy, water, and materials after the building is built. However, some more holistic methods look at reducing the carbon footprint of the construction project itself through renewable energy sources in the design stage. Green building technology should be cost-effective and durable to be worth investing in by the builders and the eventual owners. For example, the fuel needed to bring all items and employees to site and between sites each day isn’t low or cheap. Options that reduce fuel consumption or provide fuel management have positive environmental benefits that also provide cost savings for construction companies.

Another example is an estimating method most construction programs can use called lean construction. Lean construction reduces waste on a construction site through more aggressive estimations. This both saves money and reduces the environmental impact of the project. Options like this are easier as they have limited cons and massive benefits.

Cost to Build Using Green Technology

Buildings are expensive to design, construct, and maintain—green or not. And, since most green technology costs more, the primary con of using environmental construction methods is a higher cost to build. Often the increase in cost comes from sustainable raw materials and an increase in design time.

Design time can and should take longer when a project is designed sustainably. Each sustainable building project should consider the plot of land, climate, and local laws—often called passive design. When a home, commercial building or skyscraper is designed like this, each building’s orientation, shading, and layout will vary from climate to climate or even neighbor to neighbor.

This increase in building design time is a good thing as the Australian Government says on Your Home, “Paying attention to the principles of good passive design suitable for your climate effectively ‘locks in’ thermal comfort, low heating and cooling bills, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions for the life span of your home.” Though it’s more costly initially, it should pay off for the owners in the long run due to lower bills and an easier-to-maintain home or building.

Benefits of Using Sustainable Construction Technology

Green construction technology can give your client a competitive edge, reduce the impact you have on the world, and even lengthen the life of the building.

Showcase your passion for the environment

LEED-certified buildings prove a business’s passion for the environment and commitment to sustainability. According to LEED’s website, over 80 million tons of waste have been eliminated from the waste process due to its projects. In addition, it says its gold-level buildings generate 34% lower greenhouse gas emissions. Participants in LEED must meet certain requirements during construction and usage to receive a plaque they can attach to the front of their building (options pictured below.)

LEED certification options
LEED Certification options as taken from LEED’s Website.

Reduce your impact on the world

Green construction methods use fewer materials and energy and contribute less waste to landfills compared to traditional building methods—all the way to creating zero-energy buildings. One example of reducing your impact is lean construction which is the idea that you should reduce waste on a construction site. Traditionally, construction sites aim for 10-20% waste; however, during lean construction, that goal is complete elimination with up to 5% waste through material reuse and recycle and plan with more accurate estimating.

Another way that subcontractors (for example, site inspectors) can reduce their impact is by reducing fuel emissions. Traveling from site to site every day, uses a lot of fuel which leads to increases in carbon emissions during the construction of the project. Choosing the optimum route and planning ahead can reduce fuel needs while keeping your team on track.

OptimoRoute is an option that can minimize miles driven thereby reducing the fuel consumed and carbon emissions created. In addition, you can modify and instantly optimize routes on the go in case of changes during the day.

Your projects to last longer

Green construction projects are made from longer-lasting, more sustainable materials like metal, stone, and brick. Examples of these types of materials include:

  • Wood: Cork floors or bamboo floors
  • Brick: Facades or flooring
  • Stone: Landscaping, flooring, or facades
  • Concrete: Build on a slab, concrete walls, or floors
  • Metal: Metal roofs, metal framing, or rebar in concrete

By choosing materials that last longer than their counterparts, you extend the life of the building, reduce maintenance needs, and lower costs in the long run. In addition, by looking at sustainably harvested wood and other biodegradable material option, you reduce the carbon footprint of the building.

Stand out among competitors

Going green is a differentiator for your construction firm. As time goes on, more clients and owners will care about the green credentials you bring to the table as the industry continues its efforts to meet the goals in The Paris Agreement. In addition, by using green construction methods, you’ll stand out from your competitors through the innovation you show in the design and construction of eco-friendly buildings.

Make your project’s future inhabitants happier

When you build using green construction methods and technology, it helps the life of the future resident or inhabitant in more ways than one. For example, green flooring like bamboo or cork decreases your environmental footprint and leaves your home less toxic due to a lack of artificial fibers and chemicals. As another benefit, creating a space with increased air quality for those working and living will create happier clients in the long run.

Types of Green Technology Used in Construction

A holistic look at green building technology involves looking at all aspects of the construction process to make sure you’re doing your part to be a leader. There are two main types of green construction technology: materials used to build the project and the processes used in construction.

Built-in green technology

Sustainable buildings use building materials and technology that are good for the environment. By building this way, you lower the overall carbon footprint of the building during installation and over time. Examples of materials and technology include:

  • Materials: green insulation, rammed earth brick, greywater recycling, or electrochromic smart glass
  • Technology: light and water timers, AC smart systems, renewable energy systems (like wind power or solar power), rainwater capture, geothermal heating, or smart appliances

New green building materials come out each year intending to lower the overall impact of the building itself. A key is to look for sustainably harvested items (like bamboo) or energy-saving technologies (like building automation via smart devices) that increase water efficiency and lower power consumption and fossil fuel usage.

Processes for green construction

The methods used in sustainable construction also have an impact on the environment due to the fuel consumption and waste problems that often affect a construction site. Green construction can increase water conservation efforts by forcing a conservative usage of materials and implementing smarter resource-saving technologies. In addition, green construction has a huge, positive impact on the bottom line of businesses looking to reduce their impact on the environment.

Construction scheduling software can help increase the overall efficiency of construction projects. Similarly, multi-stop route planners like OptimoRoute (shown above) can help increase profits and reduce fuel consumption by planning optimized schedules for people like drivers, site inspectors, and safety inspectors. And you can further increase the life cycle of vehicles with scheduling software to be more fuel-efficient and energy-efficient and optimize your fuel consumption. 

Use OptimoRoute to Reduce Your Transportation-Related Emissions

However, implementing green technology in your construction business is, understandably, not an overnight process. It impacts your bottom line, increases time required to complete your projects and requires additional workforce that will oversee and coordinate the process. 

OptimoRoute is your quick solution— it’s an instant and easy option to reduce carbon emissions related to fuel consumption and driving. By solving everyday problems like scheduling location visits by supervisors or scheduling skilled workers on the day they are required your business can reduce unnecessary miles traveled across locations. Aside from route optimization and scheduling, OptimoRoute can do more for your business and help you boost your profits through built-in features. 

  • Optimize using company KPIs: Maximize work performed per day while minimizing downtime and miles driven.
  • Live Vehicle Tracking: Keep track of each of your employees and vehicles and see both planned and executed routes.
  • Robust Analytics overview: See details about miles driven, deliveries completed, and stops made each month.
  • Vehicle capacity planning: Optimize how much material or supplies you can load on each vehicle when taking supplies between sites.
  • Workload balancing: Even out the number of hours worked or sites visited between team members, site or project managers.
  • Weekly planning: Plan five weeks in advance with all PTO, restrictions, and extra information including employee time tracking. 

Try OptimoRoute today, free for 30 days! Then, see how you can reduce emissions and increase revenue.

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