How can Construction Leaders Accelerate Sustainability Efforts?

Construction sustainability Ellis Fox Blog

The construction industry has often been accused of slow to accept new innovations and implement change. But with the sector being one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions by industry, the pressure is on to green building efforts and prioritise sustainability.

There isn’t a singular or simple solution and managing the many facets that contribute to sustainability requires dedicated management. Construction leaders now have an additional dimension to manage as part of their day to day activities. We discuss some of the key considerations that can help construction leaders in their sustainability efforts.

Cross Industry Collaboration

The complexity involved in achieving a sustainable circular economy in construction requires expert knowledge. While a basic level of understanding is required by construction leadership, taking the time to become expert in all the facets of sustainability will take years, and there simply isn’t that luxury of time.  There are many professionals in the engineering, environmental and waste management fields that can easily apply their knowledge to the construction sector. In short, cross industry collaboration has the potential to identify more opportunities for sustainability and accelerate decarbonisation of the industry.

Retrofit, rebuild opportunities

As a result of the pandemic, many commercial properties are standing empty. Additionally, city councils are enthusiastically supporting urban revival initiatives. There is a real opportunity to win contracts, especially if retrofit design includes improvements to insulation, heating and cooling. Some believe that the UK’s energy requirements can be significantly reduced by switching to heat pumps and improving insulation in homes and commercial building. Traditionally most main contractors have been focused on new build projects, but a few are now starting to capitalise on retrofit and rebuild projects.  It promises to not only be profitable, but also makes a significant contribution to reducing the industry’s carbon footprint.

Modern Methods of Construction

New materials made from recycled and repurposed construction waste are providing some innovative solutions for construction. Prefabricated components are proving to be especially useful. On-site construction time is being significantly reduced and materials wastage is almost zero. In recent months, major infrastructure projects are adopting MMC and it’s proving very effective. Bridges and railway overpasses can be completed within days, compared to months of construction using traditional methods.

Construction leaders have a huge opportunity to make an impact in the industry and on a global scale. Every percentage reduction in carbon emissions matters.