When it comes to “going green” and “sustainability, it almost sounds cliche because everyone is “doing it.” But the reality behind the “going green” bandwagon is that it’s actually a good thing (in this case).
The reason so many people are joining the “green” revolution is because people are becoming more aware of just how much the choices and lifestyle habits they make impact the environment, and in a negative way. Making a conscious effort to reduce your carbon footprint is not only smart but it’s socially responsible as well.
So as more and more people are getting on board with going green, you can only imagine that companies and contractors alike are looking to find ways that they can implement greener practices as well.
Established businesses will implement green policies and practices like going paperless, switching to alternative energy, and hiring remote workers. For new businesses that require a building, they hire contractors to build them a green building.
Building green is something that’s not terribly new but it’s new enough that seasoned contractors have to brush-up on it. You especially want to brush up on it if you’re still in the process of obtaining your contractor license. Now, it’s important to note that there are different kinds of contractor licenses out there, and depending on where you live, the requirements may differ from state to state.
For example, to obtain a contractor license in Mississippi, you’ll have to pass the Business and Finance exam as well as the exam for your industry-specific trade. But if you’re considering being even more specific in your niche by adding green building to your list, there are definitely some considerations to think about before you can start taking on green building projects.
You have to understand that companies that want to build green, they’ve done their research and will want to know your plan of attack, materials being used, and how you plan to conserve energy throughout the build. And as a contractor, you’re going to face the unique challenges of building a new and renovated facility that is safe, accessible, environmentally-friendly, and healthy, all while minimizing your building impact on the environment.
So, upon obtaining your contractor license, make sure you thoroughly educate yourself and your team on green construction practices before taking on any type of green building projects.
Considerations in Building Green
The Building Site
As the contractor, you’re hired to build, not necessarily pick the site… it all depends on what your client wants, but typically, they tell you what they want and you deliver. But sometimes clients will ask your expert opinion on a proper construction site.
In choosing the right building site, you want to consider reusing or rehabbing existing buildings and “greening them up.” You’ll also want to consider its proximity to ample parking, roads, and if public transportation is accessible there.
When building from the ground up, you want to make sure you’re building in the perfect position and with sufficient windows that will allow as much sunlight as possible (to help control energy costs).
Indoor Air Quality
According to healthline.com, poor indoor quality is found in around 30% of new and remodeled buildings and is the very thing linked to Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) in people. SBS is a condition attributed to poor indoor air quality and causes symptoms like throat irritation, dizziness, and breathing difficulties.
The Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) of a building has a major impact on the overall health of those in the building, and as a contractor, it’s your responsibility to ensure that anyone who enters the building is safe. In the construction process, you have to make sure the building has proper ventilation and moisture control, make sure you’re not using products that don’t produce high VOC emissions, and ensure people have control over lighting and heating and cooling systems.
The waste that comes with construction and demolition has a huge impact on our environment, and your clients will want to know how you plan on handling that with your green building project.
As mentioned earlier, more and more people are becoming aware of just how much our decisions impact the environment and people (including your clients) also know that demolition introduces harmful pollutants into the environment. True enough, when tearing down buildings, dust and debris fly, sometimes miles away, and depending what the debris materials are made from, it can have a powerful and negative impact on the health of people all over the world.
So how can you reduce waste in your green building project? Well, everything from recycling and salvaging materials to getting exact measurements to eliminate waste is a great start. There’s no effort too big or too small here.
As a contractor, the way you can do your part in helping the environment is by building green. By taking the above factors into consideration for your next project or all of them, you’re consciously making caring for the environment one of your top priorities, and that’s a great way to not only help the environment but also help you reach your goals of greener practices.