The sustainability movement is making huge strides across various industries. However, some sectors, like construction, still depend on resources that cause negative environmental impacts. Finding eco-friendly alternatives is essential to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.
Before switching to sustainable supplies, you need to know the building materials that harm the environment. These resources do the most damage, from contamination to deforestation. Creative problem-solving in the construction industry is the only way to reverse negative effects.
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that many construction businesses used in the 1900s. However, just because something is “natural” doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful. The government banned asbestos in the 1970s because of its links to cancer and other deadly respiratory illnesses.
Asbestos fibers linger in old buildings and contaminate the environment upon removal. Without the right removal process, microscopic particles infiltrate the soil and local water supplies, infecting human and wildlife populations. Knowing about proper asbestos removal will help construction businesses reduce pollution.
One surprising building material that harms the environment is lumber. After all, wood is abundant in nature, so how could it have a negative impact? The problem lies in harvesting; chopping down trees faster than they grow destroys forests, displaces wildlife, and reduces world oxygen levels.
Unrecycled lumber also takes up valuable space in landfills. The good news is there’s plenty of wood in the supply chain. Instead of purchasing new materials, construction companies can source recycled wood products to build sturdy structures.
Aluminum and steel are common yet unsustainable building materials. These lightweight and durable resources can withstand tons of weight and pressure, making them excellent for construction. However, metal manufacturing consumes a lot of water of power.
Creating these materials from scratch produces toxic fumes that pollute our atmosphere. Steel and aluminum don’t break down naturally, either. The best way to reduce reliance on these materials is by using similar alternatives, like magnesium alloy or recycled supplies.
These aren’t the only materials that put our environment at risk. Glass, lead, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) harm human and environmental health. It’s up to leaders of the construction industry to make changes and commit to improving their practices.