Sustainability In Construction and Design

The environmental impact of buildings and their construction is a growing concern for consumers, builders, and politicians. The most common topic has been the rising cost of goods, and the diminishing availability of the necessary materials. “Sustainability” is a hot-button issue, but it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what that means and what action to take. In this post, we will examine sustainability practices in construction design and their impact on the future of this industry.


What is Sustainability?

In short, sustainability refers to meeting the needs of the present while still considering future generations and their ability to meet their own needs. It’s challenging to find a balance between economic growth, social responsibility, and environmental protection that works for everyone because we may not be able to anticipate the needs of a hypothetical future. This is an ongoing process that various industries are attempting to tackle in their own ways as new technologies are developed. 


Sustainability in Engineering

Sustainable structural engineering aims to reduce the environmental impact of buildings and use materials more efficiently. Ideally, building material costs would decrease, and buildings would need less maintenance over time. Here are some examples of how sustainable building practices can be of benefit:


Reduction of Energy Construction: By using energy-efficient materials, insulation, ventilation, and lighting systems, the overall energy costs can be reduced while the building is in use. In cases where materials are more expensive, splurging on the initial cost could result in savings over time.


Minimizing Waste: Sustainable design can reduce waste generation by using recycled and locally sourced materials, designing temporary buildings for disassembly and reuse, and implementing waste reduction strategies throughout the construction process. This method also has the potential to save overall project costs but can be done quickly with experienced project management.


Lower Environmental Impact: Something that often gets overlooked is indoor air quality. Not only do certain sustainability practices enhance airflow and save on energy costs, but using non-toxic materials will improve the air quality inside the building and prevent potential harmful chemical runoff during construction. If we remember what we learned from the catastrophic effects of using asbestos in building materials, sustainability practices can also maintain a better quality of life for construction and maintenance workers in the future.


Improving Economic Viability: Sustainable construction design can also improve economic viability by reducing operating costs over the life of the building, increasing property values, and attracting environmentally conscious tenants and investors. As the conversation around social responsibility expands, more and more communities seek to minimize the negative impact of construction in the surrounding environment.

As sustainability continues to grow in importance socially and politically, firms need to stay informed on upcoming trends. Many future building developments will require designs that reduce energy consumption, minimize waste as a form of social responsibility, and meet consumer demands. If you or your company are in need of experienced engineering services, contact DDA Engineers, P.A. today for a consultation.

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