The growing trend of green living continues to bloom both in the United States and internationally. Consumers are realizing that living green doesn’t simply involve recycling paper, using energy-efficient light bulbs, and driving electric cars. If we plan to reside on this earth, we must take care of it. To so do, we must see the bigger picture when it comes to protecting the environment. Environmental protection branches out from the products we use in our homes and the cars we drive, to the way we build our world. The U.S. Green Building Society is one of the many organizations bringing awareness to the way we apply environmentally responsible choices to the processes of constructing our country’s homes, businesses, schools, etc. Beginning from the ground up, so to speak, we can tackle green living from the start by creating sturdy structures in which we live, work, and learn, all while protecting our environment and the ecosystems in which we live.
According to the U.S. Green Building Society, the LEED organization (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an integral part in creating structurally sound buildings where a entire generation can reside with a minimal impact on our environment. They go on to say, “LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.”(1)
The leading trend in green building this year is modular construction. Having made considerable technological advancements in the last decade, modular construction has become a viable way to build new homes and commercial buildings while still remaining cognizant of construction’s environmental effects.
Traditional construction projects can take a year or more to create a single structure. From start to finish, simply laying the foundation can take more than half that time, meaning that not a single nail will be hammered for six months. Once the construction process finally begins, contractors run the risk of over-ordering building materials and creating a substantial amount of waste during the building process. In most cases, if a builder has extra materials after a traditional construction project is complete, those materials go in the dumpster, along with the huge amount of packing and shipping materials those products arrived in.
According to the National Science and Technology Council, the construction industry accounts for 40% of primary energy consumption and 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.(2) Additionally, the council asserts that each year new construction uses 30% of our raw materials and 25% of our water, resulting in 30%—equal to 135 million tons—of waste placed in landfills.
Modular construction has made a significant dent in these devastating numbers by simultaneously laying foundation onsite while building fully wired and plumbed modular units in an offsite factory setting. Because modular construction professionals specialize in this particular type of construction, they have mastered the process and thus order materials much more efficiently, are able to build units faster and with more accuracy, and produce much less material waste. The factory not only provides protection from the elements, factory controls, and engineering technology to construct modular units, but also allows for builders to store and reuse spare materials for the next project. In addition, by reducing onsite construction time by nearly half, far fewer greenhouse gasses are emitted in the process. Overall, modular construction is a better, more environmentally responsible way to build.
This guest post is brought to you by the team at ModSpace, a provider of modular building solutions for temporary or permanent space needs. With over 80 branch locations across the U.S. and Canada, ModSpace offers prefab offices, used office trailers, and even green modular buildings.