With sustainability at the top of the minds of construction companies and consumers alike, you may be looking for diverse ways to cut down your company’s carbon footprint and reduce its environmental impact. While large-scale changes like switching truck fleets to electric vehicles can help your company meet its goal, these are expensive adjustments to make. And even if you have the capital to make those types of large-scale changes, it takes time to see them to fruition. No matter your situation, there are smaller changes you can make at your company that will help you meet your sustainability goals, and here are five easy ways you can do just that.
Source Materials Locally
When possible, it’s best to source your construction materials from local rather than out-of-state or international companies. Material transportation is a major contributor to a company’s carbon footprint and is one of the major drivers of the industry’s carbon footprint overall. Acquiring materials from local sources also tends to reduce the overall price of the project, improving the margins for both you and your clients. Of course, not all materials can be sourced locally, so you should strive to buy materials from local sources as often as possible so that the bigger lifts are saved for when it’s necessary.
Reducing Single Use Plastics
Plastic is abundant in the construction industry, but for the most part, plastic in construction is a good thing as permanently installed materials like PVC piping are highly durable and long lasting, which makes them unlikely to end up in the landfills. This is not the case, however, for single-use plastics as they often can’t be recycled. Thankfully, single-use plastics are an issue that can be reduced at all levels of your company, starting with your workers. Encourage your employees to use refillable water bottles on site, and if possible, you can provide employees with their very own company-branded water bottles. On a higher level, you should work with material suppliers to switch plastic packaging to reusable containers when possible and plastic mastic tubes to foil tubes, which can result in a 96% reduction in packaging waste.
Mitigate Noise Pollution
A type of pollution that you may have overlooked is noise pollution, but it can negatively affect both your workers and the environment around a worksite. National Geographic considers noise pollution “to be any unwanted or disturbing sound that affects the health and well-being of humans and other organisms,” and any noise above 85 decibels can harm workers' ears. Additionally, loud noises can disrupt local wildlife that rely on sound to find food, avoid predators, or attract mates, which can have long-lasting effects on the ecosystem. To mitigate noise pollution on a worksite, you should invest in noise reduction devices like damping foam, acoustic absorbers, and acoustic barriers to protect both your workers and wildlife.
Implement Solar Technology at Home and On-Site
Photovoltaic solar technology has been gaining popularity as decreasing costs make it more accessible, and you should take advantage of it both in the office and on-site when possible. Anywhere that your company can switch to solar power allows it to reduce its carbon footprint, and while solar panels are the best-known photovoltaic technology, it’s not the only option. Another great piece of solar equipment you can roll out on the worksite is solar lanterns. These can be more economical than their fossil-fuel counterparts, and they help to reduce emissions while providing the needed visibility.
Encourage Recycled Safety Gear and Clothes
Producing new clothes uses a lot of materials, so manufacturers have developed methods by which to make all kinds of worksite safety gear and clothes from recycled materials. Hard hats, safety goggles, gloves, and boots can all be made from recycled materials, and you should encourage your employees to buy these products for gear that’s not provided by the company. You can do so by offering to cover part of the costs of these products or running an incentive program for employees to buy recycled gear.
By making these changes at your company, it will make strides in meeting its sustainability goals without breaking the bank. So next time you’re assessing your sustainability strategy, consider these tips as some easily implemented options.