“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”(Robert Swan, Author)
As the relationship between the human world and the planet that sustains it has undergone a profound change over the course of the century, there are some actions we are able to take to reduce risks and protect the environment by making some changes now. The aim for the Sustainability Campaign is to raise the awareness and help understand the current issues surrounding sustainability and advice on steps we can all take to minimise our impact on the environment, reducing business costs and be mindful when it comes to use of materials and resources.
Sustainability (environmental) is the quality of producing services and goods in ways that do not use irreplaceable resources with minimum or no damage to the environment and therefore being able to continue over period of time.
Sustainable development defined by Brundtland Commission (WCED, 1987) is that of which meets the needs of present without compromising the ability for the future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainability has been talked about a lot in recent years. The issue of climate change can sometimes feel overwhelming and we often tend to think that us as individuals are limited in making a difference, however collectively our small actions scale up and can play a significant role. The aim of sustainable construction is to reduce the industry’s impact on the environment.
During the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and national lockdowns lower levels of nitrogen dioxide and small particle pollution have been reported in several UK cities, partly due to reduced traffic. Nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter can cause severe respiratory problems and worsen existing conditions such as asthma, which means that any overall reduction in pollution levels benefits public health. However, World Health Organisation (WHO) is urging for more widespread climate action stating that ‘Any short-term environmental benefits as a result of COVID-19 come at an unacceptable human and economic cost, and are no substitute for planned and sustained action on air quality and climate.’
Sustainable construction methods include:
- Using renewable and recyclable resources
- Reducing energy consumption
- Reducing waste
- Proper disposal of hazardous waste
- Reducing company’s impact on the environment
- Protecting the natural environment
- Keeping your tyres properly inflated and vehicle well maintained can increase your fuel efficiency
- Try and avoid harsh acceleration and breaking
- Plan what you are buying and avoid over ordering, as this increases waste.
- Eliminate waste from your work by using leftover materials from one job on the next one as this is usually cheaper than having to dispose of waste, is more environmentally friendly and also cost officiant to the company.
- Recycle where you cannot eliminate or reduce waste, recover and reuse lengths of wiring and cabling during and between projects.
- Look for the shortest cabling route whenever possible, but make sure you comply with wiring regulations.
- Reduce your packaging to reduce waste on your construction site.
- Be aware of the types of waste you produce and whether you need to deal with hazardous types of waste such as asbestos or those containing hazardous substances e.g. fluorescent tubes, refrigerators and microwaves.
- Take steps to protect completed work so others cannot damage it.
- Work efficiently – e.g. reduce tails to a minimum and don’t install more lights and sockets than are needed.
- Find out how sustainable materials you use are and trial those with a higher recycled content e.g. plastic cable trunking. Work with your supply chain to purchase sustainable materials from local suppliers.
- Encourage the use of energy efficient lighting.
- Keep store area secure, dry and organised as poor storage conditions can result in damage and waste. This applies also to area the materials are stored on site.
- Instruct costumers the use of the installation e.g. leave manuals and clear maintenance instructions.