Sustainability has been a buzzword in the construction industry for years. We are now seeing a significant increase in new, and existing, construction projects pursuing increasingly higher levels of sustainability. This is driven partly by regulation, and the host of sustainability measurement programs available, but it’s also due to the recognition by building owners and contractors that sustainability offers a genuine opportunity to be profitable.
Here at Sustainable Construction magazine, we’ve given you the opportunity to participate in a Sustainability Self Assessment survey over the last several months. We’ll have more results to share with you in future issues, but overall the initial responses have validated the increase in sustainability within your companies.
For example, as far as company culture is concerned in your organizations, almost half of you said your company leadership understands and promotes cost-saving benefits of sustainable practices and initiatives (recycling, resource conservation, etc.) within the company. A good majority also said when it comes to operational efficiency related to sustainability, your company analyzes operations and looks for improvements in sustainability practices and resources conservation. Twenty-five percent of you have calculated cost savings or ROI of sustainability-related operational improvements. Almost as many of you view sustainable construction projects as a current and future growth opportunity.
Industry experts agree. Mike Acott, president, National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), had this to say about sustainability for road building contractors:
“Whatever the funding level, both contractors and agencies are going to keep looking for more sustainable solutions in terms — of both economics and the environment. We will always have a need to reuse and recycle at the highest level, whether we’re talking about asphalt pavement or materials from other industries such as ground tire rubber and asphalt shingles. Sustainable technologies are win-win-win propositions. In terms of momentum, it’s like a snowball rolling down a hill — it just gets bigger and moves faster all the time.”
According to survey results released by GE Capital, Equipment Finance, participants in the construction equipment industry are more optimistic about 2013, with 75% saying they expect retail sales of construction equipment to increase by at least three percent this year, up 10 percentage points over last year’s survey. Within this group, 24% say they expect sales to increase six to eight percent.
Sustainability in the construction market is an ever-evoloving topic. And even though it’s constantly changing, sustainability is here to stay and it’s a commitment more and more contractors are continuing to make. I look forward to watching this year unfold and the sustainability within your businesses continue to strengthen.