Australia under fire, Newfoundland under snow and the Philippines under a cloud of volcanic smoke are just a few recent examples of the inevitable consequences of climate change that even the most skeptical nonbeliever can no longer ignore. We all know what we can do on a personal level to reduce our carbon footprint, but what about an industry that is responsible for the housing of our rapidly growing population? How can developers and construction companies reduce their carbon footprint, as well as build more sustainable living environments that not only save new home buyers money, but also our planet?
1) Use Non-Toxic Building Materials
The use of environmentally friendly and non-toxic paints, solvents and building materials not only makes the building eco-friendly but also creates indoor spaces in homes, offices, and recreational areas. Some of the toxic paints and solvents used in conventional construction can cause respiratory complications, skin conditions, migraines and other health issues. Using eco-friendly materials in our residential, commercial and industrial buildings not only prove to be a long-term health benefit, but a long-term solution for the environment.
2) Refine Demolition and Repurpose Reusable Materials
Repurposing certain materials rather than dumping into landfills not only helps the environment but also those that need it. In an industry known for up to 35% of waste (in many cases new unused materials), many of these items can be recycled or donated for other construction jobs. From brick exteriors to flooring and ceiling materials, the old saying “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure” is especially true. Just ask Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families build strength, stability and independence through affordable home ownership. Such repurposing of various construction materials as well as other home improvement donations have provided shelter and support for thousands world-wide.
3) Use Locally Sourced Materials
We all know that using local materials helps support and grow local businesses, but it also reduces the transportation distances which consumes a great deal of energy and releases significant amounts of emissions. Green construction supports local companies while creating a far more efficient construction process.
4) Water Conservation and Recycling
Whether it be residential, industrial or commercial, water conservation and recycling is an essential practice in sustainable construction. From rainwater collection systems to HVAC water condensation entrapment, various strategies are often simple and can be implemented into any kind of construction project.
5) Harness the Power of Sun and Wind
The future of low to high-rise development is changing. With soaring energy costs, investing in solar and wind power solutions will soon become a standard rather than an option. Not only will this budget friendly alternative reduce homeowner’s reliance on electricity providers, but solar and wind power transforms the roofs of buildings and homes into self-sufficient power generators which significantly improves electrical power flow while significantly reducing ongoing gas emissions discharged from every home.
6) Build Green and Multiuse Spaces
With real estate land becoming more and more scarce in major metropolises such as Toronto, Fusioncorp works with land developers, architects and urban planners for more multipurpose green space areas within their communities. Rather than solely designating retail and commercial sections of a community we encourage the addition of multipurpose, mixed use green spaces on rooftops, courtyards, and surrounding grounds of a building. These greenspaces not only provide a multi-functional space for residents to enjoy outside of their potentially tiny unit, but also helps to improve air quality throughout our great city.
7) Empower Homeowners to Live Green
Environmentally responsible construction should not end when residency begins but should begin with the planning of a development. The use of environmentally responsible materials and practices don’t only save homeowners on utilities but also their carbon footprint. Here are a few ways we encourage developers to help future homeowners live green:
- Install LED lighting, low emissions electrical and appliances
- Use utility EnergyStar windows and doors
- Insulate abundantly but efficiently
- Install effective duct and HVAC systems (that don’t leak)
- Use low consumption water fixtures and toilets
Like the massive shift within the automotive industry evolving from gas to electric, the construction industry must also adapt to environmentally responsible innovations and solutions. Currently, there are many sustainable options and alternatives available for construction companies and developers to incorporate and implement in their next development.
As leaders in development and construction we at Fusioncorp continue to recognize the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and our responsibility of helping to build a green future for generations to come. There is only one Earth, and if we don’t all work in unity and do all we can to make a difference, we just may lose our most important and beloved home of all, our planet.