Sustainable Construction, What Is It? And How You Can Be Part Of It.
We appreciate working in a spacious office and we love spending time with our family in our home. But we can’t deny our desire to build can leave a negative impact on our environment. From drawing on natural resources to manufacture building materials while emitting CO2, leaving behind industrial waste to invading wild habitats, there are plenty of opportunities for us to do better, innovate and think about sustainable construction.
What Is Sustainable Construction?
Put it simply, sustainable construction is about building using ecological principles so we have a healthy and harmonious relationship with our environment. According to Professor Charles J. Kibert, sustainable construction focuses on 6 principles and they are conserve, reuse, recycle/renew, protect nature, create non-toxic and high quality.
While the concept of sustainable construction is not new, it is also not very well practised. Until recently, construction development in Australia took place without really taking into consideration of the complex relationships between ecological systems and the built environment. In part, this has to do with how we measure a building’s performance. As building performance is almost exclusively measured by minimum building codes, many believe these codes are the only target that we should aim for.
However, the demand for building more sustainably has been growing globally. As a result, sustainable construction is gradually gaining more attention and momentum worldwide as we continue to look for ways to build more harmoniously with nature while placing less demand on our environment.
Surprising Benefits of Sustainable Construction
Surprisingly, sustainable construction is not just good for the environment, it also has great benefits to our health.
1. Better Cognitive Function
Apparently, living in a green building can be good for our brain. Harvard University conducted a study where 24 participants spent 6 full working days over a 2-week period in an environmentally-controlled office. Compared to a typical office, the study found an officer with “green building conditions” were linked to higher cognitive function.
Depending on how “green” the office is, the increase in our brain function can be quite amazing. The study showed a 61% increase in cognitive function when study participants were in an office with “general” green building conditions compared to a typical office. When the green building conditions were “enhanced”, the cognitive function further increased to 101%.
With us spending most of the time indoor nowadays, it should come as no surprise that our well-being is very much linked to the building which we work and live in.
2. A Healthier Living
Part of sustainable construction is to invest in building method, product and technology development so we can build more effectively and efficiently. As a result, we are seeing more products on the market that are not only better for the environment but also kinder to us humans, too.
Stonewall Platinum volcanic rock wool insulation is such an example where the products are made of natural volcanic rock. The non-toxic nature of the raw ingredient and more environmentally friendly manufacturing process makes products like volcanic rock wool insulation a great choice for sustainable construction.
What Does Sustainable Construction Look Like?
Construction methods and building materials are the 2 key elements that sustainable construction focuses on.
1. Construction Methods
Think about how we can build in a way that supports renewable and sustainable efforts. Consider some of these practical sustainable construction practices that we can easily adopt in our built environment:
- Reducing waste by paying attention to calculating and cutting materials precisely
- Managing waste effectively by properly separating and recycling waste
- Encouraging construction teams to recycle food containers, practise non-smoking
- Choosing sustainable and recycled building materials.
2. Building Materials
Selecting sustainable, green building materials plays a big role in achieving sustainable construction. Think about what building materials are made of, where they come from and how they are manufactured, transported and disposed of. All these factors can have an influence on our environment, the well-being of the workers and future sustainability.
Here at Stonewall Platinum, we are proud that our volcanic rock wool insulation products can contribute to the sustainable construction movement. Send us a note as we would love to hear about your own sustainable construction ideas and practices.