In recent history, there has been an increasing focus on green and sustainability initiatives. Construction has been no different, and many scholars have highlighted the lack of sustainable practices and the contribution of pollution or destruction of environments that new builds can cause. This short essay is not an attempt to refute these claims but instead an effort to introduce those looking to build or current builders to sustainable building (SB) and how it is developing.
Sustainable building is not exclusively the pursuit of greener builds, although that is a component. Sustainable building is primarily concerned with the following; environmental impacts, economic impacts, and social impacts. Environmental concerns are impacts on climate, the local or regional ecosystem, and the use or depletion of resources. The economic concerns are what value is generated or lost and the productivity of the build. The social impacts involve health, culture, equity, and satisfaction and whether these factors increase or decrease (Belloni & Häkkinen, 2011).
Sustainable building involves elevating elements such as value generated, productivity, and satisfaction while simultaneously minimizing environmental impacts. Therefore, sustainable building is contingent on the use of greener and more advanced technology, alongside improved practices that benefit the environment, the client, and the employees working on a project (Belloni & Häkkinen, 2011).
Technology can vary from equipment used in assembly to the selection of materials and components. For instance, insulation, windows, and sealing advancements have resulted in increasingly more energy-efficient homes. This energy efficiency, combined with cleaner materials, has allowed new home builds to reach greater levels of sustainability (Thorpe, 2010).
However, the practices in building a home often make the most significant difference in sustainable building. Research has found that a lack of organization in the build process, such as delaying procurement of materials, will drive up environmental damage while lowering productivity and satisfaction (Belloni & Häkkinen, 2011). Furthermore, many builders are unwilling to use cleaner equipment due to upfront costs, are reluctant to educate themselves on new green standards of practice, or are unable to network efficiently enough to raise their sustainability standards (Belloni & Häkkinen, 2011).
At Barnett Construction Ltd., we strive for sustainability. Whether communicating with industry tech innovators for first looks at new technology, switching over to lower-carbon footprint equipment, or being organized in our procurement processes, we work to lead in sustainable building in the Okanagan Valley.
If sustainability is crucial for you, or if you just like knowing you are doing your part while building your dream home, contact us today.
Tarja Häkkinen & Kaisa Belloni (2011) Barriers and drivers for sustainable building, Building Research & Information, 39:3, 239-255, DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2011.561948
Thorpe, D. (2010). Sustainable Home Refurbishment: The Earthscan Expert Guide to Retrofitting Homes for Efficiency (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781849776523