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[VIDEO] Sustainability in Construction: Where Contractors Make an Impact



Sustainability in Construction: During the Construction Phase


Buildings and the building construction sectors combined are responsible for a third of global final energy consumption and nearly 40% of direct and indirect CO2 emissions. So, our buildings and our built environment has a giant impact on whether the world is sustainable or will be preserved for future generations. 

Even though we think of construction as this industry that pollutes and uses a ton of fuel and produces a ton of greenhouse gasses , it is actually poised to make one of the biggest effects on our climate future. And that influence the industry can have has so much to do with efficiency - to plan your routes better driving, excavating, to analyze machines and understand how you can make them more fuel efficient, to dive into our long-running processes and find things with data that don't need to be done. The excess, and there's a lot of it in construction.

Two things are intersecting, mechanical and electrical, we have to tear something out and rework it. Or maybe we ordered the wrong parts and we have a schedule delay or so forth. By being able to model some of these things in software and using these services to ultimately get to more of a first-time right solution, there's less waste throughout the process.

Fabricating everything before you get to site or as much as possible with minimum amounts of waste is really critical. The tools are there, the technology is there, we just need to get it in the hands of more contractors and they will be more productive and more sustainable as a result. 

Build projects with more efficient, more effective means as far as reducing carbon dioxide levels in a more sustainable way. What we actually see, the biggest impact can actually be made in the planning phase of the project. So when a project is being planned, optimizing a corridor or route from one city to another city, from one location to another location.

At the lowest level, being a responsible operator onsite, being somebody that is doing the expert work but is being cognizant of when they're idling the machine, of how they're structuring their day and their work to minimize the amount of fuel they're burning and the effect they're having on the climate. Trash and contaminated materials - you have construction professionals making decisions about what material needs to go to a landfill and what doesn't. 

And stormwater pollution prevention is such a big part of making sure that we stay green and I think that it's not necessarily something people think of in terms of sustainability. But construction produces so much waste that has the potential to run off into streams and a big part of that starts with the stormwater plan and making sure we that we have the proper measures in place so that we're not having a negative ecological impact.

All these decisions play into a massive climate picture. One that everyone in construction has some responsibility to understand.

About the Author

Matt is a Senior Video Producer for Trimble Construction. He's never met a building rendering he doesn't love — and in another life is most definitely an Architect. He's spent 15 years crafting storytelling in sports & entertainment, wearables, non-profit, and construction.

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