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Sustainability is one of the hottest topics around at the moment and is central to the awareness of global warming, environmental protection, and recycling campaigns. Next to the automotive industry and aerospace, construction accounts for a large amount of carbon emissions which currently stand at 47% in the UK.
While erecting a building itself produces a small amount of carbon, it is in the manufacturing of the materials used in a construction project that constitutes a large carbon footprint and one of the best methods of reducing this is to embrace sustainability options.
Some of the best options you could adopt as an overall carbon reduction plan include:
- Sourcing locally produced gabions
- A renewable energy plan
- Embracing new technologies
Gabions can be used in place of solid concrete retaining walls at a fraction of both the environmental and financial cost and are just as effective while renewable energy implementation is almost a requirement of modern construction and new technologies such as 3D printing are at the forefront of quick, accurate and cost-effective small-scale construction projects.
Alternative Walls and Retainers
A gabion, meaning cage, is a wire mesh container that can be filled with materials and shaped for use in various projects such as roads, foundations, and landscaping. The materials used in the manufacturing of gabions are almost always sustainable and recycled from metals, PVC, and other copolymer plastics.
In addition, gabions can be filled with almost anything which makes them an excellent alternative to constructing solid concrete walls. For example, a garden wall landscaping project by Gabion Supply could take repurposed rocks and use them to fill a cage rather than erecting a solid concrete wall where it is needed, not only reducing cost and environmental issues but providing a unique aesthetic as well.
At this point, it seems that some kind of renewable energy plan should always be incorporated into any construction project in order to minimize the environmental impact of any new building on the surrounding areas and indeed its contribution to global warming as a whole. Fortunately, most world governments have developed rigid guidelines and codes for renewable energy, and nations such as Norway and the Netherlands implement clean energy throughout.
Classic renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic cells attached to solar panels can provide up to 75% of a standard-sized home’s electricity while geothermal pockets can provide naturally heated water for use in a home’s central heating system rather than using gas or electricity to warm a property.
Novel Construction Methods
As with most industries, the construction industry needs to embrace new technologies if it is to reach its maximum sustainability potential. Most traditional construction and manufacturing methods are extremely harmful and not sustainable, so new techniques need to be implemented as soon as possible if they are to be beneficial.
One such technology is 3D printing. The technology has been around for years but has only recently become adaptable and cost-effective enough to be used in large-scale manufacturing processes. 3D printers almost always use recycled plastics and any basic shape can be formed very cheaply and very quickly, with a small-scale home project taking less than a day to construct.