Sustainability: What on Earth, can I do?

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At Construction Caribbean we have come up with a series where we will highlight sustainability practices or activities which you can adopt.

What can I do Series on Sustainability.

The idea of sustainability is trying to find the balance between economic, environmental, and social. Whether that be for an entire country, how you buy your groceries, how you manage your business. It can be applied to any system no matter how big or small. You may have a business that is equitable, it is benefiting society, you are making money, everything is great. However, if it uses large amounts of natural resources, the truth is it is only viable for so long and it is having a negative environmental impact. Sustainability aims to reduce this environmental impact while keeping your business equitable.

What can I do series on Sustainability

Let’s face it, the idea of sustainability seems daunting, expensive and that you are just one person who will not make a difference.   The truth is, it is bigger than that, it all adds up and what you do matters.

What can I do Series on Sustainability

Construction clients can play a key role in enforcing more sustainable construction practices because they are in control of the services they require and the business they hire. Design teams and construction companies are increasingly being asked for more sustainable buildings by forward-looking clients.

Below are some tips from The Rebuild – Green, Disaster Resilient Homes

Building Green

A green building is a building that from design to construction and operation it uses resources wisely in order to create a high quality, healthier and more energy-efficient home with minimum impact on our environment.

Though the initial investment may be a bit higher than traditional build, all green initiatives ‘pay-back’ these costs and more over the building’s lifetime. Some basic elements of green architecture include:

THE LOCATION OF YOUR HOME IS KEY

  • Build close to transportation, work, school, etc
  • Reuse existing infrastructure

SIZE MATTERS

  • A smaller house needs less material and requires less energy

USE OF LOW-IMPACT, SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS

  • Recycled building materials: Select recycled materials such as carpet, countertops, paint, and tile. Select insulation with recycled-content such as cellulose insulation.
  • Sustainably harvested materials: Purchase from certified companies whose materials are sustainably sourced. Know your environmental footprint.
  • Recycled construction waste: Attempt to recycle a minimum of 50% of the wood, cardboard, and concrete left over from your construction project

WATER COLLECTION AND CONSERVATION

  • Water-efficient fixtures: Install low-flow sink, shower, toilet and washer fixtures
  • Water collection systems: Consider rainwater collection to use for toilets or additional filtration systems for showers

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

  • Orientation/Passive solar gain: Proper orientation of a building, windows and interior spaces can strategically maximize daylight to avoid the over-use of artificial lighting and save on electricity costs
  • Energy Efficient Windows: Double glazing in a hot climate can slash your energy bills and greenhouse emissions. The coating of low-gain Low E glass reduces the amount of heat radiated from the inner surface of the glass, keeping the inside of your home cooler.
  • Solar Shading: Use strategic placed exterior shading to avoid overheating within the household
  • Passive ventilation: Consider cross and stacked ventilation in the design process to naturally cool your home
  • Efficient water heating: Incorporate solar panels for water heating
  • Lighting technologies: Consider the use of LED lamps as they use less energy compared to incandescent
  • Energy Star appliances: Energy efficient appliances and equipment is the easiest energy efficient home idea to adapt.

RENEWABLE ENERGY

  • Solar electricity: Energy efficient solar electric systems can offset electrical costs
  • Wind electricity: Small, quiet, wind energy systems are available for powering homes

These initiatives will result in both economic and environmental benefits such as:

  • Lowered utility bills
  • Improved energy performance
  • Less greenhouse gas emissions

This is where the “What Can I Do” series comes in. We will show you little ways you can be sustainable and lifestyle choices you can adopt that make being sustainable easy and achievable.

Sustainability isn’t only about creating new buildings to the highest standards, it is also getting people to retrofit existing buildings to make them more environmentally friendly both inside and out.  As sustainability advances, the need to create healthier interiors is growing.  Wellness is taking on new forms in the various office spaces around the world by enabling employees to be healthy in their work environment.

Next, we will look at retrofitting your home or office sustainability.

(If you, your company or someone you know is adopting sustainable practices in your day to day life we would love to hear from you, write in and tell us about it info@constructioncaribbean.com)

 

Additional reads:

The Power of the Community in a Sustainable Lifestyle

Aluminum: Integral in Sustainable Construction

The Major Role of Sustainable Tourism in the Caribbean

Green vs Sustainable Building

Turning Rock and Wire into Elegance

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Bianca Cave

Bianca has a BSc in Biomedical Science and has just completed an MSc in Sustainable Development at the University of Sussex in the UK. The focus of her masters dissertation was on renewable energy in Barbados and would consider this one of her main areas of interest. As well as, ways we as an island can come together and empower each other to create a more resilient and sustainable community. She hopes to go back to the UK and work for a few years in both development organisations and sustainable technology companies before returning home to Barbados.

Bianca Cave has 7 posts and counting. See all posts by Bianca Cave