As the global population becomes more aware of our collective footprint, the pressure to take on green initiatives increases all the time. More and more opportunities to be environmentally conscious are becoming available. So much so, that applying these eco-friendly methods to your construction projects can feel a bit overwhelming.
But this kind of pressure doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Green initiatives are not only good for the planet and for future generations, they can also be cost-effective and genuinely rewarding.
This guide will help you embrace sustainable construction methods in a way that your conscience and your pocket will appreciate.
When embarking on a project, a little research can go a long way. Before you plan out your construction project and seek planning approval, spend some time learning about structural innovations that can take your sustainability to the next level, so you can decide if you want to do any design work around a particular concept.
A few structural innovations to consider:
Green roofs, also called living roofs or eco-roofs, are inexpensive to build and will save you money in the long-term, as they provide great insulation in winter months and cooling during the summer. Environmental benefits include
– Filtering and cleaning toxins from the air and rain water
– Reducing carbon dioxide emissions
– Reducing temperatures in urban settings
– Preserving and enhancing biodiversity by providing micro-habitats for native wildlife
– Cob building involves using a mixture of clay, soil, sand and straw to build your walls. This method removes limited resources like lumber and synthetic materials like insulation from your construction project. You can even make your own cob, which brings your construction costs way down.
As you begin planning your construction project, keep in mind the innovations that intrigue you and decide if you want to incorporate any into your building strategy.
Break it down
Once you have a basic design, you can categorise aspects of your building projects in a way that makes going green a bit simpler.
For example, you’ve drawn out your design for a small guest house – the dimensions, the layout of the walls, where the windows and doors will go. Now, break it down into bite-size categories, like these:
– green roof
– 4 walls
– 2 doors
– 1 type of flooring
You get the idea. Now you’ll be able to approach each aspect of your construction project more easily.
Now that you have an organised list to follow, take a look at each category and consider your options. For almost every category, there are a variety of unconventional materials available to make your construction project more green. Also keep in mind that sustainable construction is not only about the materials you use, but also the long-term environmental impact of your building project.
Brainstorm how you are going to approach each category of your building project to make it more sustainable. Consider your options, your budget and the resources you already have.
Your list might now look like this:
– Green roof: waterproof layer, root repellent membrane, filter cloth, moisture blanket, drainage system, soil substrate, seeds and plants from neighbour’s garden
– Walls: low-VOC paints
– Doors: refurbished doors
– Type of flooring: bamboo floor
– Insulation: wood fibres (by-products from the forestry industry)
And so on. By briefly looking into alternative materials for your project, you can incorporate sustainable construction methods into your building project one piece at a time.
Take it slow, and take advantage
If you have the luxury to slow down your construction project, you’ll find more time to think of ways you can reduce your long-term environmental footprint, more sources to provide you with recycled building materials, and more opportunities to reuse products and give them a second life.
Taking advantage of local resources is a great way to acquire used materials and lessen your impact on the environment. Simply by buying local, you can reduce carbon emissions, wastes, and the costs associated with shipping materials.
With so many opportunities for going green, all it takes is a little time and planning to incorporate sustainable construction methods into your project.
About the author
Ronnie Campbell BSc MRICS has been a qualified building surveyor for over 11 years and is the founder of London Building Surveyors based in Walthamstow, East London.
Ronnie has spent much of his career carrying out building surveys and advising on residential and commercial property matters including party wall regulations and dilapidations reports. You can connect with Ronnie on Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn or call London Building Surveyors on 020 8257 5766.
Green Weddings Trend: Why 70% of Newlyweds Are Going Green
A couple of months ago, my best friend got married to her new husband. They are both very eco-conscious people, so they decided to have a unique twist on their wedding. They asked for the following:
- They arranged a carpool with their friends.
- They didn’t have any balloons. Instead they used umbrellas.
- They used plant materials instead of plastic confetti.
- My friend insisted her husband not purchase a diamond. In addition to being ecologically conscious, she didn’t like the idea of having a stone that was used in conflict zones.
My friends aren’t the only ones making these changes. In fact, nearly a quarter of all newlyweds are organizing green weddings.
Green Weddings Are Becoming the Norm
People are more concerned about green living than ever before. They are trying to incorporate environmental protectionist ideas into every facet of their lives, even the most intimate, such as marriage. A growing number of people are trying to have green weddings, which can make a big difference in reducing their carbon footprint.
How much of a difference can this make? Here are some statistics to bear in mind:
- The Center for Disease Control reports that about two million marriages are formed every year.
- Approximately 70% of all marriages have green elements today.
- This means that 1.4 million marriages are green.
There are a number ofreasons that green weddings are becoming more important. Here are a few.
People Are More Worried About Environmental Preservation than Ever Before
Green living in general is becoming a greater concern for most people. Even younger conservatives are breaking from their older counterparts by insisting on fighting climate change. According to a poll from Pew Research earlier this year, 75% of Americans say that they are very concerned about protecting the environment. Having green weddings is a good way to act on this concern.
One of the biggest changes people are making is using recycled products for their green weddings. This is explained by the research from Pew:
“Overall, 32% of U.S. adults say they are bothered a lot by people throwing away things that could be recycled. Roughly six-in-ten Americans (61%) who say they always try to live in ways that protect the environment say it bothers them “a lot” when others throw away things that could be recycled. Among those who are less focused on environmental protection, only a quarter say it bothers them a lot when others don’t recycle. People who are environmentally conscious are also twice as likely as others to say that seeing someone incorrectly putting trash in recycling bins bothers them a lot (42% vs. 21%).”
Indifferent Politicians Are Driving them to Take More Initiative
Many politicians in power have been very hesitant to take action on climate change. Many of them have openly stated that it is a hoax. These politicians are forcing people to do what they can in their own lives to make a difference. Making small changes, such as hosting green weddings, is a great way to improve the environment without waiting for political momentum.
Cost and Simplicity
A couple of the biggest reasons that people want to host green weddings have nothing to do with their concern for the environment. Running green weddings is simply cheaper and simpler than having a massive, traditional one. One of the biggest changes is that they are buying green engagement rings from the best brands.
Green Weddings Are the Future
Green weddings have become very popular over the past few years. They will probably account for close to 90% of all marriages by 2025. People that are planning to get married should look into the benefits and plan accordingly.
Green Tech Start-Ups: Are they the Future?
Endless innovations are occurring in green companies, reinventing the industries they belong to. Gradually, they are beginning to amass more success and popularity. Consequently, these factors serve as a good indicator for green technology businesses, and their development must begin somewhere.
Green tech start-ups boast a wide array of opportunities for the economy and environment, while boosting recruitment openings with valuable services. While the technology industry is littered with high revenues and competition, the green tech start-ups are the clear sign of a cleaner future.
Fulfilling a Genuine Need
Many tech companies will market themselves as the ultimate tech giants to shift stock and make profit. As they all vie for attention through warped corporate rhetoric, there is only one ethical winner; the start-up green tech company.
Some argue that mainstream tech businesses have grown far too big, branching out into other industries and standing between the consumer and practically everything they do. However, green tech start-ups go beyond the shallow ambitions of a company, answering a call to sincerely help the customer and climate in any way they can. Of course, this is an attractive business model, putting customers at ease as they contribute to a humanitarian cause that is genuine through and through.
After all, empathy is a striking trait to have in business, and green tech start-ups maintain this composure by their very nature and purpose.
Despite the pursuits for clean energy still needing more awareness, green tech is an area that is ripe for contribution and expansion. There’s no need to copy another company or be a business of cheap knockoffs; green tech start-ups can add a new voice to the economy by being fresh, fearless and entrepreneurial.
Technology is at its most useful when it breaks new ground, an awe that eco-friendly innovations have by default in their operations. Of course, green tech start-ups have the chance to build on this foundation and create harmony instead of climate crisis. Ultimately, the tech advancements are what revolutionise clean energy as more than an activist niche, putting theory into practice.
Despite the US gradually becoming more disengaged with green technology, others such as China and Canada recognise the potential in green technology for creating jobs and growth in their respective economies. The slack of others spurs them on, which creates a constant influx of prospects for the green tech sector. Put simply, their services are always required, able to thrive from country to country.
A Fundamental Foresight
Mainstream technology can seem repetitive and dull, tinkering with what has come before rather than turning tech on its head. Since 2011, technology has been accused of stagnation, something which the internet and petty app services seem to disguise in short reaching ideas of creativity.
However, green tech start-ups aren’t just winging it, and operate with a roadmap of climate change in the years ahead to strategize accordingly. In other words, they aren’t simply looking to make a quick profit by sticking to a trend, but have the long-term future in mind. Consequently, the green tech start-up will be there from the very start, building up from the foundational level to only grow as more and more people inevitably go green.
They can additionally forecast their finances too, with the ability to access online platforms despite the differing levels of experience, keeping them in the loop. Consequently, with an eye for the future, green tech startups are the ones who will eventually usher in the new era.
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