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5 tips for making your renovation site more ecological

Last modified: 2022-08-12 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

We often hear about green homes. But did you know there are also green building sites? A construction or renovation project is a serious source of pollution.

For this reason, contractors should look to reduce the impact of their construction sites as a way to preserve the environment. Some people mistakenly think that building ecology is a waste of money and time, yet it’s a strategic choice.

To win new contracts, contractors undergo a selection process. Depending on the customer's request, you’ll bid by making proposals to meet the needs of your customers and this includes quotes, schedules, as well as descriptions of the work to be done.

Given that residents are becoming increasingly sensitive to sustainable development, you may well be able to stand out among your competitors by highlighting your ability to manage a green building site.

Here are our tips for making your renovation projects more eco-friendly as a contractor

Contractor reviewing plan_5 tips for making your renovation site more ecological

1- Plan your ecological renovation project

Planning is essential to the successful management of a renovation site in an environmentally-friendly manner. It should be noted that the availability of water, as well as energy resources, is a central point in the process. The organization of your project should be based on several aspects, including the phasing of the site as well as the impact of climate and weather on overall operations.

For example, it’s best to avoid pouring concrete during hot days as a way to reduce water consumption. Also, it’s advisable to adapt the working hours of your workers as a way to optimize working with natural light and reduce the use of artificial lighting.

Zoning will also be important when it comes to the ecological management of the site. Several elements will have to be taken into account, notably the grouping of zones to which different materials are assigned (storage of materials to be sorted, to be recycled, etc.) Also, be sure to optimize crane loads to reduce lifting operations and avoid too much or constant lighting in areas that don’t require it. 

bricklayer installing bricks_5 tips for making your renovation site more ecological

2- Monitor water and electricity

After taking the steps to plan out your site preparation, it’s necessary to ensure that the recommendations are applied to your project from beginning to end. Consider creating an overview of your ecological requirements to define your electricity and water consumption goals.

In this context, we would recommend appointing someone responsible for evaluating and implementing these measures while also observing how effective they are over time. The objective is to detect any defects in the interest of continuous improvement. Thus, it’s necessary to regularly check the temporary water pipes as well as site metres to quantify the results.

Another aspect that you should avoid overlooking is your workers' awareness regarding your commitment to the site's environment. Take advantage of team briefs to communicate your interest in ecologically managing the site and don’t hesitate to find ways to remind them.

renovation tools_5 tips for making your renovation site more ecological

3- Equipment

In terms of equipment, it’s recommended that workers are provided with a wide range of choices. In this way, each worker will be able to choose a piece of equipment perfectly adapted to their work. When the time comes to buy new construction equipment, opt for energy-saving machines that enable fast and efficient execution of different tasks. In the same way, look for high-efficiency production and emission appliances for heating.

When it comes to buying lighting equipment, opt for low consumption lights. Some come equipped with a timer that allows for the system to shut down after a certain period or is controlled by sensors. This is both a practical and economical solution to reduce energy consumption on a building site.

To reduce water waste, we’d suggest equipping pipes with quick couplings to cut the water automatically after it's been disconnected. Another option would be to invest in holding tanks, as this will recover vehicle wash water or even provide a place for rainwater recovery.

floor_5 tips for making your renovation site more ecological

4- Ecological renovation: recovery, sorting and recycling of materials

An ecological renovation project requires the recovery, sorting and recycling of materials to divert them from landfills. In Quebec alone, there are approximately 50 sorting centers for construction and demolition materials. These eco-centers are capable of recycling up to 70% of site waste.

Not only this, but there are many options for the revaluation of materials. Wood can be used in the manufacturing of melamine panels. Asphalt shingles can be recycled to produce the same material. Gypsum is used in agricultural fertilizer production. Through recycling initiatives, the impact of big renovation projects on the environment is diminished.

backyard renovation_5 tips for making your renovation site more ecological

5- Privilege deconstruction over demolition

Deconstruction is a renovation tactic which means the careful dismantling of structures while preserving the materials in the best condition as possible. The materials are then recovered and redirected to places that will repurpose them. Afterwards, they’ll return to the market in their new form. Despite the ecological benefits of deconstruction, many contractors prefer demolition.

Deconstruction methods indeed require greater manpower. As a result, some initially don't consider it profitable. Yet, Recyc-Quebec stresses that the “resale of materials” allows for a profit which “compensates the efforts of sorting.”

Curious about this subject? Check out our article Deconstruction: an eco-friendly solution to demolition.

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