With the rise in concern on the issue of climate change, there is increasing pressure on industries, such as construction to minimise its environmental impacts for a more sustainable future.
As the world progresses and more structures are erected, the construction industry is one of the largest consumers of natural resources, and also a large producer of carbon dioxide.
One civil engineer, Andrew Chin Lee in his Master’s thesis for the University of the West Indies (UWI), focused on how sustainable construction practices can affect the overall profitability of the industry.
He stated, “the practice of sustainability is the prevention of natural resources and depletion to preserve ecological equilibrium.”
While construction practices have evolved from medieval times, which is necessary to keep up with globalisation, there are some setbacks.
“Construction practices and methodologies have progressed from the first builders to modern constructors today. Technological advancements, as well as its practices, have facilitated this within the industry. However, there are a plethora of issues that accompany these breakthroughs – increased pollution and overconsumption.”
According to him, implementing leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) principles when constructing, is beneficial on multiple levels.
“LEED-certified buildings reduce costs, increase productivity, reduce carbon emissions, and make urban areas healthier for occupants. This system is essential to confront the climate problem, improve living conditions and climate resilience, and create more equal communities, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (Azarov 2018),” said Chin Lee.
One such way his thesis explores is through the practice of green roofing systems. The study stated that, “Green roofing techniques encourage energy cost reductions and improve the local ecology. These measurements encourage a sustainable approach to infrastructure and the built environment (Naranjo 2020).”
The study added that through the use of this method, a building’s environmental impact can be reduced since, “overlaying a roof or any external part of a building with vegetation can reduce heat flux and reflectivity of solar rays, which contribute to cooling via evaporation, thereby increasing a better rate of thermal performance (Hewage 2013).”
These sustainable systems are not necessarily limited to roofing since vegetation systems can also be done in …
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