2021 Sustainability Innovations in Construction
With the world ever on the hunt for sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies and upgrades to current methods in place, how has 2021 been so far for sustainability innovations in the construction sector?
What was a bleak outlook last year for the construction industry has turned more hopeful as economies are reopening, and with construction once again on the rise, so are the advances in building technologies.
Whilst there are always going to be elements of unsustainability in every sector, this has been a real focus for construction over the past few years. Designs for new buildings have more and more sustainable elements in place from the start, and there are calls for further eco innovations in works surrounding actual properties, as well as the materials used to build them.
Some of these include:
- Asphalt for roads made from recycled materials – primarily rubber, which has been in use since the ‘60s, but more recently, recycled materials such as plastic.
- As well as recycled materials, biodegradable materials such as timber, sustainably sourced bamboo and classic linoleum are being used more, as they break down without releasing toxins into the environment if they end up in landfill.
- Insulation has been a big area of focus, with traditional insulators effective, but not eco-friendly. Green insulation is fast becoming popular, such as reusing materials that have insulative properties.
- Zero energy homes – these are designed and built to remain independent from the electricity grid. They are self-sufficient and provide their own power through renewable energy resources.
- Whilst not all homes are built to this spec, upgrades such as solar panels are becoming increasingly popular with both new build and existing homes.
- Prefabricated construction remains popular, as this reduces waste on site (amongst other benefits).
- Speaking of waste on site, waste management is another focus area – landfill avoidance is key, as this contributes heavily to environmental issues surrounding landfill sites. With this in mind, many construction sites now aim to use materials where possible that can be recycled on site, such as concrete, with any excess then crushed to use as aggregate, for example.
Technology in construction has perhaps been slower to come to the fore than in other industries, but we have certainly seen an upturn in this area over the past few years, and 2021 is no exception. All areas of construction have seen advances in technology, from roadworks to bricklaying and even contact tracing of individuals on sites.
Some of the sustainable advances in technology on construction sites of late include:
- The use of electric where possible, instead of fuel, with rechargeable heavy plant a new trend.
- Some heavy plant is also now powered by alternative means including solar, wind or geothermal sources.
- Using these alternative methods of power have a positive knock on effect on noise pollution.
- Construction wearables – there are a number of options, some of the most used being GPS/location trackers, biometric and environmental sensors. These go hand in hand with site sensors, which work to monitor hazards such as noise levels, temperature and dust, alerting workers if there is an issue.
- Collaboration apps. These help to reduce the number of people on site or commuting in for short amounts of time (which also has a positive effect on commuter pollution). Collaboration apps can be used to hold meetings in and allow site managers to communicate in real time where face to face meetings are not essential.
We have seen a real upturn in the number of candidates taking e-elearning training courses where possible; of course, it hasn’t only been focus on decreasing the carbon footprint of those commuting that has driven this change, COVID-19 made it essential that online learning became key and still continues to be a massive influence on those who can sit e-elearning courses.
Whilst we advocate classroom courses for many aspects of training, there is no denying that the e-learning environment offers many benefits, both for the environment and the candidates taking the courses.
- Decreased carbon footprint in terms of commuting.
- In some cases, the candidate can take the course content at a time to suit their own schedule and around their job, with only the test at a set time.
- Social distancing is not a concern for those taking a course on their own in their home or a safe area at their workplace.
Of course, not all construction training can be conducted online; there are certain areas such as heavy plant, working with ladders and scaffolding that require candidates to receive face to face training.
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For specific e-learning Scheme options, please contact us on 01933 233884 or at firstname.lastname@example.org