The construction industry is known to be one of the top contributors to environmental damage for many different reasons including the fact that construction materials take up a significant amount of environmental resources and that construction projects often result in gas emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other waste products that pollute the air.
However, construction is a necessary industry for economic growth– not only that, it is the industry responsible for giving people homes and other important infrastructure.
Fortunately, the industry is steadily making a move to a more eco-friendly approach when it comes to its methods. You probably have heard of the terms “green construction” or “sustainable construction”. These terms sound promising but do people really understand what they mean?
“Green” is not just a trend in the construction industry, it is an active movement to protect the environment from further damage.
Difference Between Green and Sustainable
People often use the terms”green” and “sustainable” interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing.
Nowadays, “green” is no longer just a color, it is a mindset of making active choices and actions that has a positive impact on the planet.
It is technically meant to define anything that is “less harmful to the environment”. Being green means actively following the movement of being less harmful to the environment through actions.
In the construction industry, being “green” can be done in two ways– through Green Building and through Green Construction.
According to the US Green Building Council, green building is “designing, constructing, and operating buildings to maximize occupant health and productivity, use fewer resources, reduce waste and negative environmental impacts, and decrease life cycle costs.”
So, in a sense– green building means creating and building infrastructures that have less impact on the environment by using fewer resources while also considering the health and productivity of the people who will occupy the space.
Green construction is all about the construction process. It is the process of eliminating all the extras out of the building process to reduce waste and negative environmental impacts.
Green Building looks at how the operations of the finished product (the building) can affect the environment while Green Construction is about the actual construction process.
Now that the meaning of “green” is much clearer, what makes it different from being “sustainable”?
Sustainable construction focuses on avoiding the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance. This type of construction focuses on the use of resources instead of the building process unlike in green construction.
Sustainable construction is about being smart about minimizing waste, recycling, and being smart about how the resources are used.
Green vs Sustainable Construction
As you may see now, green and sustainable are two different things. These terms should not be used interchangeably, especially in the construction industry.
Although green construction and sustainable construction have different focuses in their process, they are a part of each other while the green building is an entirely different thing.
Both green construction and sustainable construction have similar construction practices that involve making choices to be more friendly to the environment.
Environment-Friendly Construction Methods
Making environmental-friendly choices in the construction industry means a lot of changes to the construction process.
For instance, some of the green construction designs include:
- Actively seeking environmentally friendly building materials
- Utilizing more fuel-efficient equipment on the site to burn less fuel
- Source non-toxic chemicals for construction
- Using safer methods to dispose of toxic materials
- Reduce construction waste throughout the building process
- Implement modular construction methods
- Recycling or reusing materials like construction debris, concrete, wood, etc.
Although these methods are employed in green construction, sustainable construction principles can also be seen through all the efforts made to produce less waste, to burn less fuel, and to use renewable and sustainable building materials.
Although the green building, green construction, and sustainable construction have different practices, all of them aim to work towards a common goal to have a less negative impact on the environment. Every little effort to save the environment counts.