green construction site

5 Tips for Maintaining a Green Construction Site

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How to Make a Construction Site Green?

As the demand for green residential and commercial construction increases, it’s important to pause and discuss an aspect of the process that doesn’t get enough discussion: Construction site management.

5 Tips for Making a Construction Site Green

So much time is spent discussing green building materials, high-efficiency appliances, and energy savings on monthly utility bills that we seem to forget that green construction starts from the ground up. These are the issues and elements we hear about and interact with, but the truth is that sustainable housing begins with the builders. And to build a house that’s truly green in every sense of the word, builders must maintain green construction sites with high integrity.

1. Consider LEED Certification

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, more commonly known as LEED, is generally considered the gold standard for green construction – and there are different certifications for different stages of the process.

“For instance, construction volume certification covers an entire portfolio of building projects. Whereas LEED campus and multiple building certifications focus on several buildings on a single site,” Construction Labor Contractors explains. “For the ladder, there are some options to help project owners determine the best way to reach their goals.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter what you’re building, where you’re building, or what stage of the construction process you’re currently in, there’s something you can do to make your project more environmentally friendly. Even if you don’t go through with official LEED certification, studying up on the criteria and practices of LEED construction will only help you.

2. Promote Accountability

To maintain integrity on a green construction site, a lot of moving parts have to work together. Each individual working on the site must do their part to follow guidelines and avoid taking shortcuts that compromise sustainability. Thus, accountability becomes a critical factor.

One way you can promote accountability is by ordering inspections at every stage of the home construction process. This will help you stay on track of what’s happening and identify issues as early as possible.

3. Use Sustainable Materials

Material selection is obviously important. Not only do you want to use green materials, but you also want to speak directly with your suppliers to figure out where they’re sourcing their products from and where their priorities lie (regarding environmental friendless and sustainability).

4. Ensure Proper Disposal of Materials

Construction sites can produce a lot of waste. Make sure you aren’t just tossing everything into one big trash bin and then hauling it away. There are lots of construction “waste” materials that can be recycled and reused. Working with a waste removal service that prioritizes sustainability is a smart idea.

5. Manage Equipment Properly

How you manage equipment on a construction site is very important. While most construction sites simply keep equipment running at all times, to reduce downtime between tasks, green construction sites reduce equipment usage time to save energy.

“If your task doesn’t actually call for the equipment to be powered on, then shut it down. You don’t need to leave it running at all times,” James White writes for Mother Earth News. This might seem like common sense advice, but it’s rarely followed.

The Details Matter

Our society tends to value the big picture, while rarely taking the time to dig in and pay attention to the details. But when it comes to something as important as green construction, the details are what make up the big picture. Without integrity on a micro level, there is no reliability on a macro level. As such, maintaining a green construction site that prioritizes efficiency and sustainability isn’t optional – it’s necessary.

Jeff is a contractor specializing in residential construction and construction management in Chicago, Illinois for over 20 years. He deals exclusively in new construction and remodeling for residential projects and can act as designer, builder, and general contractor as well as preliminary estimates, cost vs. benefit analysis.

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