The construction industry is one of the largest contributors of solid waste in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, from 2009-2010 the Australian construction industry generated a staggering 16.5 million tonnes of waste. This accounts for approximately 31% of the total waste produced during that period. Typically, only a portion of this solid waste is recycled or repurposed, while the bulk is directed to landfill. However, as attitudes start to shift and the importance of conserving the environment grows, steps will need to be taken by construction businesses to align themselves with this movement and help ensure their longevity in the industry. In the Australian construction industry, there are rising trends that are paving the way for a more eco-friendly way of doing business. Here are a few examples of the growth of sustainable practices in the construction industry:
1 - Reusing and Recycling Building Materials
Within the construction industry, there has been a movement towards the significant reduction of the waste that ends up in landfill. Construction companies are increasingly recycling and repurposing the waste they produce to minimise their impact on the environment. For example, during the construction of Barangaroo South by Lend Lease there was a concerted effort to reduce their environmental impact in all aspects, and are committed to achieving zero net waste to landfill by 2020.
2 - Utilising Renewable Energy Sources
Construction companies are increasingly looking towards renewable sources for their energy needs, such as solar power and wind energy. Construction businesses are also turning to these cleaner forms of energy to power the structures they are constructing. These efforts help to significantly reduce the carbon footprint that is produced throughout the entire process, from construction all the way through to the lifespan of the finished product.
3 - Bodies Recognising Sustainability Efforts
Within the construction industry, organisations have developed that encourage the proliferation of greener practices and identify construction businesses that are implementing them.One example of this is the Green Building Council of Australia (GCBA). The GCBA have created the Green Star rating, which aims to the transform how construction companies operate by producing a 'framework of best practice benchmarks for sustainability'.
Sustainability in the construction industry is not just a fad; it is the wave of the future. Incorporating more environmentally conscious business practices is an excellent way to enhance your corporate social responsibility, create a point of difference amongst the competition, and stay up to date and current.