Sustainability in the Construction Industry

2021-08-07 FARS Engineering

According to statistics, in 2020 the earth’s surface temperature was around 0.98 Celsius warmer than the 20th-century average. This has been one of the hottest temperatures on record and the temperature is still rising as of this day. The effects of the rise in the earth’s temperature can lead to minor as well as major consequences. To name a few: there will be an increase in sea level thereby causing severe flooding in areas with low sea levels; there will be an increase in the temperature in general, causing droughts and heat strokes to different parts of the world during the hot seasons, especially in countries located at or near the earth’s equator. The change in the temperature can also lead to unpredictable and alarming storms and typhoons as well as raging forest fires.


In fact, in recent news reports, several countries are experiencing their own dilemmas brought about by the increase in the earth’s temperature. California, USA has just experienced a huge forest fire and the authorities warned that the hot and dry weather threatened to further stoke the flames. This destroyed the beautiful forests and land which housed people as well as a huge diversity of animals. Australia is suffering from a one-in-a-thousand-years drought which caused depleted reservoirs, failed crops and arid farmland. And our very own land, Hong Kong, has been experiencing, more frequently, tough storms, typhoons and floods brought about by this uncontrollable climate change.


Everyone from different sectors of the society has their own fair share in terms of contribution when it comes to the protection of the environment. As an example, in the medical industry, they have strictly segregated their waste into non-biodegradable and biodegradable as well as switched to more environmentally made “everyday” items such as gloves, PPEs, and masks. In the food industry, some companies have also changed their utensils to those which are safer for the environment. Former plastic straws have been changed to paper or edible straws, some, in fact, have dispensed with using straws all together. Plastic bags were also changed to paper bags for a more sustainable approach. How about in the construction industry?


Here are a few ways that the construction industry have become more sustainable over the years:


  1. Use of sustainable building materials

Building materials have evolved throughout the years. Due to the different demands of the community as well as the rapid changes in the environment. Over the years, those working in the construction industry, especially engineers, have found several different environmentally friendly alternatives to these materials.


For example, concrete is the most preferred construction material, however its production is not environmentally friendly. According to the Industrialized Wood-Based Construction Conference, the production of concrete results in 2.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide which is between 4-8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to this, concrete is found to be responsible for a tenth of the world’s industrial water usage. Because of this, Engineers have thought of different alternatives such as straw bales which are found to be a better alternative to concrete as it provides better insulation from the hot and cold weather and is more environmentally friendly than concrete. Other alternatives are bamboo, recycled plastic, timber crate and wood which have their own unique features and are, in their own ways, better for the environment.


  1. Using energy-efficient equipment

Using the right equipment is a start to a more environmentally friendly approach to construction. Some equpment are more time-efficient and sustainable when used correctly.


For example, the use of a correct and suitable on-site generator can avoid wasting fuel. Natural gas generators are an environmentally-friendly choice because they emit lower carbon dioxide emissions and other harmful pollutants. The proper use of these types of generators are more environmentally friendly especially when used in a populated area because they emit lower levels of sound pollution and odor.


  1. Adopting a more efficient transport system

On-site and off-site transportation are one of the main activities in construction. The first step to a more sustainable transportation system is developing a better transportation management routine.


An organized transportation system reduces the time and number of trips to transport materials. For example, if materials will come from different places, it is better to organize a transport system that has an organized route to reduce the trips as much as possible. So, instead of using different trucks or other vehicles to transport them from different locations to the destination, an alternative will be to have a proper sized truck to go to all of the locations, pick the materials up, and transport them to the destination. This means that there’s lesser use of fuel altogether, therefore making the system sustainable.


As shown in history, the construction industry is one of the primary contributors to environmental pollution. That is the reason why the government has been implementing laws, policies or even incentives, to urge and encourage construction companies to implement a more sustainable approach to construction.


FARS Engineering has been implementing a sustainable approach in the construction. In fact, it has received a lot of awards to recognize such efforts. It is a great way to encourage us, and other entities, to be more environmentally conscious.


Check out this link to see how we adopted a better alternative to the use of timber.

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