As the global population continues to work towards building a more sustainable future for our planet, there has never been a more important time for those in construction to understand the impact their work is having on the both the environment and the societies in which we operate – so understanding your carbon footprint is essential.
In its simplest form, a carbon footprint refers to the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by operations – including the construction process, transportation, and materials used. And, there are several common issues on construction sites in relation to sustainability — including energy consumption, waste generation, and material sourcing — but solving them doesn’t have to cost the earth.
At Agilité, we’re in the process of calculating how much carbon we’re emitting on our sites — through the use of materials, energy, and the waste we produce — to benchmark where we are, and how we could offset that amount through other projects, to achieve carbon neutrality.
Only by understanding, and therefore trying to proactively reduce our usage and reliance on some of the main producers of greenhouse gases — such as sand, water, other raw materials, as well as the high levels of power needed to operate a site — can we start to evaluate renewable and more sustainable alternatives.
For example, energy consumption can be reduced by swapping to energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems during construction, as well as using renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, to power the site.
As construction sites also generate a lot of waste — including generic debris, product packaging, and other materials — proper waste management practices, such as separation of waste, composting, reuse and recycling, can help reduce surpluses.
We know that sourcing sustainable materials can be challenging, particularly if it’s not a part of the client’s budget (read more in our ‘sustainable supply chain guide’) but it’s essential to reduce the negative impact of construction on the planet. Where possible, though, it’s important to use recycled or locally-sourced products — and choose materials that have a lower environmental impact.
That’s why understanding your carbon footprint and implementing sustainable practices on construction sites is essential for reducing the harmful impact of construction on the planet.
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