Thanks to a vibrant economy, many building developers, owners, and managers are investing funds into new construction projects as well as renovations. This makes this a perfect time for developers, owners and managers to start thinking about sustainability, according to Stephen Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group.
“For instance, many pre-construction projects start by ordering too many materials or too few,” Ashkin says. “In both situations, this reflects poor planning, which usually ends up producing waste, requiring more fuel, releasing more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and increasing costs.”
To properly plan construction projects with sustainability in mind, Ashkin provides the following Five Sustainability Pre-Construction Tips:
Planned Demolition. Sustainability begins in the demolition phase. Traditionally, old materials are hauled off to landfills. Planned demolition looks for ways to reuse or recycle these items.
Focus on Long-term Savings: When selecting new construction products, put more emphasis on how they will reduce costs over the long-term, than their initial costs. Solar panels, for instance, do add to construction costs, but they can reduce a building’s electricity bill by as much as 75 percent, each month for years.
Buy Locally. Purchasing from local suppliers helps reduce the energy used for transportation. This reduces the amount of greenhouse gasses released into the environment, plus, it helps the local economy.
Use Newer Construction Equipment: Newer construction equipment tends to use fuel and electricity more efficiently, promoting sustainability and helping to lower construction costs.
Emphasis on “Efficiency.” Efficiency is a keyword in sustainability. It refers to products and materials that reduce waste, energy, fuel, water, and other natural resources.
“Finally, almost all construction projects have one or two ‘clean-ups’ once work is completed,” adds Ashkin. “This is the perfect time to introduce Green cleaning solutions into the facility, so they are used from Day-1.”