How Can Building/Housing Construction Affect the Environment?

Inefficient ventilation is just one of the ways energy is wasted and the environment is hurt by a building. Building construction waste is another. Construction waste comes from unused and excess material generated during site excavation, site clearance, construction, and renovation. This waste may be rubble (concrete, bricks, and asphalt), byproducts (wood and wood products, plaster, insulation) and scrap (metal and plastic). These materials are commonly referred to as C&D debris and comprise approximately 15 to 30% of all waste disposed of in landfills. Further, some of these waste products may contain toxic constituents that pose a risk to human health and the environment. The following questions should be addressed to ensure that C&D debris has a minimal impact on the surrounding environment.

brasil crv ridge vent constructionEcosystem Concerns

The clearing of lands for construction can lead to the loss of wildlife habitats, erosion and sedimentation, loss of native plant life, and contamination of soils and surface and groundwater. However, proper design and planning can help reduce the impact of these concerns.

  • Is the construction necessary or is it possible to scale back the design?
  • Does the construction contract specify that contractors should cause the least possible disturbance to the site’s vegetation?
  • Does the construction plan provide for erosion and sediment control during construction as well as after?
  • Is there a plan to reuse soil from the construction site?
  • Does the plan include the re-vegetation of areas disturbed by construction?
  • Is there a plan to reduce the use of materials containing constituents that can negatively affect the environment’?
  • Is there a spill control plan to properly address spills of hazardous construction materials?
  • Are hazardous materials in proper storage at the construction site?
  • Is there a plan to use or sell trees cut down during construction activities as lumber or compost?

Procurement Concerns

Environmentally sound purchasing decisions are an important element of pollution prevention, helping reduce the amount of waste generated by a building/housing construction project. In addition, the purchasing of recycled-content material helps support markets for materials collected for recycling.

  • Will the project use durable, long lasting materials, thereby reducing the amount of construction waste generated over time?
  • Are there provisions for the proper storage of construction materials to reduce the amount of waste caused by damage or exposure to the elements?
  • Are perishable construction materials (such as paints) purchased incrementally to ensure reduced spoilage of used materials?
  • Will the project use building materials that have minimal packaging to avoid the generation of excessive packaging waste?
  • Will the project use construction materials containing recycled content when possible and in accordance with accepted standards?
  • Does the construction plan include the use of alternative, environmentally preferable construction materials?
  • Will efficient ventilation be considered both during construction and in the final building?
  • Does the construction plan calls for the use of refurbished construction materials’/ Purchasing and using once-used or recovered construction materials can often save money and reduce the amount of C&D debris disposed of as waste.

Energy Efficiency

Employing energy efficient technologies and practices can prove a significant positive effect on the environment. There are a number of opportunities to include energy efficiency, like more efficient ventilation, in building/housing construction projects.

  • Does the construction plan specify the use of “low-embodied energy” construction products whenever possible? Consider energy use at all stages of the project?
  • Does the construction plan specify the use of energy efficient lighting systems?
  • Purchase energy-efficient electric products and equipment, such as appliances and heating and cooling systems?
  • Does the construction plan call for sufficient insulation to reduce beat loss and conserve energy?
  • Will the proposed facility participate in the EPA Energy Star Buildings program?

Efficient Ventilation with Moffitt

Considering these issues can make a big difference between a dirty, inefficient construction project and an environmentally friendly, more efficient one. Moffitt has been working towards a cleaner and more energy efficient ventilation for over 55 years. Consider Natural Ventilation and Natural Solutions for your next building project.

Moffitt is now the exclusive U.S. partner for Colt Smoke Control & Daylighting Products.Learn More
+