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, and an advocate for sustainability in the professional cleaning and distribution industries.
For instance, many pre-construction projects start by ordering too many materials or too few. “In both situations, this reflects poor planning, which usually ends up producing waste, requiring more fuel, releasing more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and increasing costs,” Ashkin says.
To properly plan construction projects with sustainability in mind, Ashkin offers five 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 on 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% each month, for years to come.
Buy locally: Purchasing from local suppliers helps reduce the energy used for transportation. This reduces the amount of greenhouse gases 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. “This is the perfect time to introduce green cleaning solutions into the facility, so they are used from day one,” Ashkin adds.