What is the human impact of constructing buildings?

CO2 emissions: According to an article published in Bold Business, the construction sector contributes between 25 and 40% of the world's carbon emissions. Pollution: Construction causes both air and water pollution. Harmful chemicals used during construction can be harmful to both workers and the environment. Poorly designed and constructed buildings use more energy, increasing demand for energy production and contributing to global warming.

In addition to contributing to climate change on a global scale, individual construction projects can have a significant impact on local environments and nature. There are numerous sources of water pollution at construction sites, including diesel and other fossil fuels, paints, solvents and toxic chemicals. Even minor chemical spills seep into the soil and can enter waterways where they intoxicate water and harm aquatic life. In the developing world, there are often less stringent requirements for the disposal of toxic construction waste products, resulting in significant local environmental damage following a construction project.

Even greater than the impacts of the construction process itself is the environmental impact of the actual buildings being built. Today, more and more companies are being asked to bear the costs of recycling construction waste and building practices that are environmentally responsible. According to new research from construction blog Bimhow, the construction sector contributes 23% of air pollution, 50% of climate change, 40% of drinking water pollution and 50% of landfill waste. This shift towards green building projects has led EPA to drive significant research in this area, collaborating with the National Institute of Construction Sciences in creating a Green Building Construction Guide, which details how construction companies can approach construction ecological while incorporating the various federal rules and regulations.

To limit fossil fuel pollution, construction projects must seek to minimize the impact of construction on the environment by reducing travel distances, reducing vehicle idle, using green and alternative fuels, and using hybrid equipment. When starting a construction project, make sure you are considerate and comply with local construction time restrictions. The first step that construction companies can take is to design in a way that reduces soil erosion during construction. Following the publication of the guide, 230,000 construction projects have improved their environmental position, with more than a million construction companies waiting to be certified worldwide, according to the agency.

In addition, according to the EPA, construction activity can “significantly change the surface of a piece of land due in large part to the “clearing of vegetation and excavation,” which is common in many construction projects. To limit the impact of construction on the environment, the excavation process must take care that the soil is stabilized in accordance with local regulations, especially if the construction project is huge. The most damaging aspect of construction in terms of contributing to climate change is the operation of heavy machinery in mining projects that extract raw materials from the Earth for use in construction projects. Additional research from Construction Products says that products used during a particular construction job can also have an impact on the surrounding environment, due to “raw material extraction”.


Lexi Smith
Lexi Smith

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