It’s no secret that while every industry has its part to play in lowering carbon footprints, the building sector and construction industries have one of the biggest impacts on our environment.
This isn’t their fault - it’s part and parcel of the sort of work they undertake. But the impact is undeniably large.
Some reports suggest that the construction industry is responsible for around half of climate change, 40% of global energy use and 50% of landfill waste.
Thankfully, there’s lots the UK building trade can do to reduce its carbon footprint and become more eco-friendly. But, to understand what it can do, we first need to consider how environmental pressures have changed that industry.
Once a building is constructed, it needs to retain a high level of operational efficiency if its to be kind to the environment.
This goes for homes as much as it does offices and larger construction projects.
If you’ve bought a house recently, you’ll be aware of the myriad of eco-related documentation you need to source and sign, too, and that has in turn put more pressure on builders.
As a result, the building trade needs to be aware of eco-friendly policies, facilities management technology and how to create a structure that is guaranteed to be sustainable over the long term.
The way homes and business premises are designed has changed considerably due to environmental pressures.
For instance, if you’re planning an extensive home renovation that includes an extension, for instance, you’ll probably be encouraged to make some eco-friendly choices by your architect.
This might include solar panels, smart appliances and placing windows strategically to ensure you’re harnessing as much natural light as possible, rather than relying on man-made power.
The durability of buildings has also come under closer scrutiny from an eco-friendly perspective. That includes its waste production over the long term and just how much energy it is likely to consume.
This has resulted in more environmentally-focused building designs and builders having to follow suit.
When a building has been designed, builders and building firms are rapidly having to take on board greener construction practices.
One simple example is reducing noise while working, because noise pollution is considered a key issue. However, builders are often expected to go further with their green efforts.
For instance, there have been a raft of new fuel-efficient alternatives for certain types of equipment and material recycling is far more commonplace.
If you’re planning on having building work undertaken this year, you shouldn't expect significant changes to the way builders work, but there will probably be subtle tweaks and working practices you’ll spot that are designed to be more eco-friendly.
No one is under the impression that the building trade can change overnight when it comes to greener practices, but they’re certainly making a good start.
Becoming more eco-friendly is challenging for any business, but the uk building trade arguably has more challenges than most. How it continues to evolve will be fascinating and something we’ll be paying close attention to.