“Sustainability is very important for the future of our environment, but sometimes the cost can be a deterrent for clients. On a whole, the construction industry needs to find a better way to demonstrate that we can implement a more ecological design for the same price.” – Josée Atkinson – President & CEO – Blueprint Management
Today the concept of sustainability is considered the cornerstone of the construction industry. Questions such as, what is the impact on the immediate environment, the community, and the world; all play an important role as we continuously seek to build and develop our countries. Sustainability therefore, takes into account the efficient use of resources as well as the means by which materials are sourced and the overall process used to complete the job. To further discuss the idea of ‘Green Construction’ we dive into the mind of Josée Atkinson, President & CEO of Blueprint Management.
What challenges does Green Construction present across the Caribbean?
The biggest challenge is the cost. With several economies continuing to unfold, many individuals have become increasingly conscious of how they spend. We believe that construction and maintenance should be fully integrated in order to give the client the best product once completed, in addition to the long-term maintenance. We encourage our clients to see the benefit of investing in a better, healthier, “green” building which will cost them less in maintenance in the long run.
Having spent over 21 years in the construction industry, Josée believes that as a region we are, slowly but surely, moving towards a more sustainable way of life given the incredible increase in awareness pertaining to sustainability and sustainable design practices. With almost everything now readily accessible online, many companies are adapting by now carrying out daily process and routines electronically. “Everything has changed over the last ten years! When it comes to drawings, robotics have greatly improved and given us better software. I began using pencils, everything was hand drawn! A couple years later, a software was introduced and suddenly you can see a rendering that match the quality of a picture! As more and more software has become available for design, we can now create perfect quality renders of buildings, and this process, as you can imagine, is much less time-consuming than drawing and save a load of paper. We can now give our clients the very best, especially with 3-D printing models of our projects as well!”
Why is sustainability such a crucial factor for the future of the industry?
In regards to interiors, we are seeing an increase of companies moving out of “sick” buildings in search for better quality of air etc. Sustainability is a key factor when it comes to managing the interior of a building, producing a safe environment and creating spaces that are not conducive to making a “sick” environment. For example, many companies store hard copies of their documents in boxes in their offices. Over years, the paper and other materials grow bacteria and mold thus creating an unhealthy environment and atmosphere for the workers. With more sustainable processes, we will be able to reduce many other similar risk factors.
Given this Josée believes that there are a few small conscious steps which companies can make to endorse the eco-friendly approach.
- By adapting to better software despite the cost, the company can produce greater quantities and a higher standard of work, which in turn increases their revenue.
- Waste management during construction is extremely important. Many of the materials can be reused, recycled or even donated.
- Less use of plastic components. There are many environmentally friendly options available for example, paper can be used for protection wrapping as opposed to plastic!
- Implementing automations that are available for building is a great eco-friendly tip. Using energy saving bulbs or lights with motion sensors can save electricity!
What practices has Blueprint Management adopted in efforts to “go green”?
We are very environmentally conscious at Blueprint Management! Like many other companies, we are trying to cut down by printing less and printing double-sided when necessary, we scan documents and upload to the computer, have clients sign electronically where possible. What gives us an edge in the industry is that we aim to implement an ecologically-friendly and cost-effective approach to all of our projects. Our goal is to please our clients, integrate renewable energy into the design and provide them with a safe and healthy environment with minimum long-term maintenance expenses. This approach backed by a very strong group of unique individuals who work together as a team is truly how Blueprint manages to stand out.
Additional pictures of some of the projects done by Blueprint Barbados.
The article is taken from the March 2018 Issue of Construction Caribbean Magazine