The environmental management challenges and opportunities facing construction industry through ‘going green’
Pressures to build using less materials and in way to embed efficiency within a structure are being increasingly key issues. Today, businesses across all sectors face countless challenges with the issue of sustainability consistently appearing at or near the top of both public and private sector agendas.
The construction industry is significant, with its output worth over £100 billion a year. The industry accounts for 8% of gross domestic product and provides employment for around three million workers. But in the current economic climate the construction and demolition industry is under ever increasing pressure from government, clients and the public to be seen as an industry where sustainability is a key priority.
The construction industry is trying to compete in an ever ‘greener’ market while tackling challenging economic, regulatory and environmental issues. The industry faces increasing pressure on their response to waste, resource use, carbon and energy management and their supply chain.
In recent years the industry has faced ever increasing pressure to reduce the carbon impact of materials and water use in the built environment by embedding resource efficiency principles in the design and construction of new buildings, infrastructure and refurbishment projects.
Efficient and innovative design and construction not only paves the way towards a future of sustainable construction, but also reduces construction and facilities management costs while providing a competitive edge. The move to a more sustainable construction industry will pose questions, but also offers major opportunities to organisations. Buildings and infrastructure should now interact with their environment including smart grids and sustainable transport infrastructure.
Sustainable construction concerns more than just the fabric of buildings. Construction, maintaining and occupying buildings accounts for almost 50% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions. New innovative and unique developments provide an excellent opportunity to build homes and offices that are better not only for the environment but have cheaper construction and operation costs.
Environmental considerations of construction and refurbishment of the built environment are vital as the industry:
The transition to becoming a sustainable business is probably the biggest change since the introduction of IT. Companies and public sector organisations are facing funding and resource constraints while they continue to wrestle with high energy prices. They are also under pressure from governments, regulators and consumers to pay more attention to environmental issues.
To comply with legislation and to ensure competitiveness in the future, carbon and energy management are key areas of focus for the construction industry. The industry faces increasing pressure to report transparently on carbon emissions and to implement energy efficiency measures both in internal operations and new builds.
Companies are going to need the right expertise to deal with new pressures and make the most of new opportunities. We all have a responsibility to build a sustainable future and it’s important that the construction industry meets these challenges head-on.
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