Construction and the Environment: Green Building


Construction and the Environment: Green Building

Ever since we have read how the increase in construction and industrialization has caused deforestation. One of the leading causes for the receding forest covers is the overuse of forest products and felling off trees to use or make way for construction.  There is a growing need for corporations to accept social and environmental responsibility and focus on reducing risk to the environment. They need to adopt environment friendly construction practices, or green building, as it is more popularly known, to minimize the adverse impact of construction on the environment and to encourage attempts to remedy the damage already done by previous activities. Here are some ways to improve our construction habits and reduce our dependence on nature.

One of the biggest ways to impact the environment is to minimize our dependence on electricity and fossil fuels as energy sources. Instead, we should rely more on renewable sources such as obtained via solar panels and wind turbine to supplement our energy needs. This not only provides clean methods of obtaining energy, but is also cost effective and easier to maintain in the long run. Another effective way to have minimum energy consumption is by creating designs that maximize use of day lighting in buildings instead of relying on electric lighting for 24 hours.


There are many competent substitutes available in the construction market for timber. Hard plastic, metal alloy and glass are preferable as a replacement in making furniture and other interior designs, not only because they are more sturdy and resistant than wood, but also because they can be made into any form and shape to create designs to fit the interior décor. There are options to use cement and laminate paint or tiles instead of hard wood for floors that are equally aesthetically pleasing and long lasting. In cases where use of timber is necessary, one may opt to use the fast growing species like bamboo and softwoods that are grown in controlled plantations instead of the rare and deciduous trees from the forests. Discarded timber waste such as saw dust, wood shavings, crate wood etc. can be recycled to be used as timber replacements.


Project management must explore new ways to reduce wastage of water and reuse it on a building site during and also after construction.  They must also make provisions to harvest rainwater and other kinds of precipitation into reservoirs and tanks for use in the buildings to supplement their water sources. Buildings could be equipped to reuse some of the waste water and build in mechanisms such as pressure control valves, low flush cisterns etc. that will help reduce unnecessary wastage of water. In order to let new construction works not affect the local water table in an area, construction projects should use porous materials in parking and general surfaces to allow precipitated water to percolate through the soil and accumulate below.


Earth moving activities during construction works deeply disturb the natural flora and soil composition and fertility of the area. Not only should these activities be reduced to the required minimum, it should also be followed up by replanting campaigns in the surrounding waste land areas and within. Incorporation of gardening and green roofs could be done at various levels of a building and grey water run offs could be used to water these patches.


All buildings must have a suitable recycling and waste disposal system. Waste should be sorted before disposal and measures must be taken so that biodegradable waste can be used to produce bio-fertilizers and bio-fuels. All construction projects should be highly environmental conscious when selecting site locations. Constructing in environmentally fragile areas such as water catchment areas or biodiversity rich areas should be avoided. Instead, one could look to rehabilitate fallow land such as mine fields and hard ground areas.


These and many such conservation measures incorporated into construction practices will help balance human need for resources without compromising the environment. Granted that the initial cost of environment friendly construction may be more expensive upfront, but in the long run it makes for cost-effective maintenance and operation. Besides, the beneficial impact of creating a sustainable environment cannot be compensated by financial gains.


However, green construction require a lot of foresight and careful planning which is why it is taking long to gain popularity in the business. Even so, its benefits are unprecedented and most people propose that it be widely accepted by architectural associations and building regulatory boards worldwide. Governments should take measures to make certain necessary aspects of green building compulsory by legislations and themselves also encourage green building in national and state projects. The industry should embrace the concept of green building, implementing it not only at grass root levels by providing knowledge and expertise in this field in educational institutions and training schools but also by creating a market for and promoting use of environmental friendly materials and equipment.

Get in touch with us today to know how we at Barker Kappelle Construction  LLC can help you green building solutions in Hawaii