Project developments are inevitable in a world that is still developing. Such construction projects have an impact on the environment. Experts note that each stage of construction, from mining and transportation to the construction itself, has different levels of impact on the environment. Because of this, everyone involved in these development projects must do everything they can to not only protect the soil, water and air, but also the plant and animal species present at the development site. Here are some ways to do this.

Complete an Ecological Survey

There is always the risk of harming plant species and animals at development sites. The government seeks to mitigate the effects of development projects by mandating that local planning authorities request ecological surveys before development projects begin.

A preliminary ecological assessment analyses a development site for the presence of different animal and plant species that could be harmed during development. Expert ecological assessments confirm the presence of different species, in which case measures have to be put in place to protect them, or their presence in which case no further surveys are required.

The ecological survey company that completes the expert ecological assessments will also advise on changes that will result in the least disturbance to the existing ecological features. This reduces concerns about the negative impact a development project might have on the environment.

All of this information will be contained in the report presented to a local planning council as part of getting a planning application approved before development can begin. An inability to demonstrate you have taken measures noted in the report to protect the environment will lead to the planning application getting rejected which will increase development times and costs.

Reduce Fuel Usage

The biggest source of pollution in construction projects is the burning of fossil fuels, namely petrol and diesel. The emission of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases pollutes the air and there is also research that shows they contribute to global warming.

Trucks and other construction vehicles are the main culprits here. It starts at the mines where construction companies source different raw materials, including those used in cement production. This type of pollution then continues as the products are transported to factors which burn additional fossil fuels in their various manufacturing processes.

Lastly, we have pollution at construction sites where large vehicles are constantly in use.

Some things construction and project development companies can do to reduce fossil fuel use include:

  • Limiting how much time vehicles spend idling
  • Reducing haul distance, whether between mines and factories or factories and development sites
  • Using alternative fuel sources such as biofuels
  • Using hybrid vehicles and equipment

While these changes can be difficult to implement, construction companies can be incentivized by the fact that using less fuel can lead to significant cost savings.

Ensuring Proper Waste Disposal

Almost everything used in construction projects harms the environment. This can range from the roofing and insulating material used to the cement if it ends up in the environment. Things get even worse in cases of demolition where the materials cannot be recycled and have to be disposed of — something which is not always done right.

Recycling, reusing and salvaging can help reduce the environmental impact of these projects because it cuts down on the number of materials that end up in the environment. Most of what can be recycled, reused or salvaged can be used in future projects, which has the secondary benefit of saving the business some money.

If materials cannot be recycled and reused, there should be policies and procedures in place for their proper disposal.

Lean into Sustainable and Energy-efficient Buildings

An increase in power consumption increases a person’s or building’s carbon footprint. This is because it causes more fossil fuels to be burned to produce more energy. Energy-efficient buildings use a lot less power than traditional buildings of the same size thereby putting little strain on the power grid.

Using materials that allow proper temperatures inside buildings no matter the temperature outside and using smart technologies to keep power consumption low are just two of the ways construction companies can make their buildings more power efficient.

Sustainable buildings are highly efficient in their energy use, and also efficient in their utilisation of other resources such as water. Sustainable buildings are also made out of materials that do not harm the environment. Ensuring a building is sustainable starts with its design and goes on to its construction, operation, maintenance, and demolition once its life cycle is over.

Reducing Noise

Construction noise is a significant source of pollution in areas that are developing and it can impact the people living in surrounding areas as well as the wildlife in that area. Most of the noise is produced by different machinery during landscaping, site preparation, demolition and actual construction.

Because most construction projects are located close to homes and businesses, noise complaints are typical as they happen. Construction companies can try to minimise the impact of the noise they make by adhering to the strict time limitations set by local councils.

Construction workers can reduce the amount of noise they produce by:

  • Lubricating and servicing machinery
  • Choosing machinery that produces little noise
  • Putting batteries between the source of the noise and the worker as well as between the project and the community

Additionally, they can contact those living or working close to a project to let them know what will be going on and how long it will take.

Expedite the Project

Construction projects can be expedited not to cut corners but to reduce their impact on the environment. Accelerating a project leads to a decrease in emissions because the construction machinery will run for a shorter period. It also reduces traffic disruptions around the construction site which typically lead to even more emissions. Construction companies should have strict guidelines on how long projects should take to achieve this goal.

Construction projects harm the environment, but development companies can do a lot to help reduce these effects. Reducing fuel use, using renewable tech and ensuring proper waste disposal can all help.