Cirrus Construction is Green Construction
Green, green, green. The media (both traditional media and social media) the Internet and most everything you can read, see or follow – television, articles and ads, documentaries, your neighbor, your momma, you name it – they’re all touting going green. Thank goodness, most of the world is listening and growing greener by changing both personal and professional habits.
Green thinking – being concerned about the environment – made its introduction to our culture years ago. It has only been in more recent years that our society has become serious about it and understands the consequences of NOT taking it seriously.
“Going green” refers to helping our planet by considering the impact of a product’s cycle or the consequences of an action. It can be one simple step, a gradual process or a complete adoption of an environmentally astute discipline.
Green construction is the practice of erecting buildings and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient. Green buildings limit their environmental impact by conserving as much energy and water as possible and are constructed of recycled or renewable materials in order to achieve maximum resource efficiency.
Green construction has grown dramatically over the past few years. Although green building techniques are used in both residential and industrial construction, commercial construction is the largest player in the industry's growth.
Cirrus Construction, Inc. is continually implementing green techniques in all areas of our business. We’re greening up! And we are proud to work with suppliers who are equally as environmentally conscious.
In recent years the construction industry has experienced a greater demand for environmentally friendly construction solutions. A green building has characteristics that reduce its environmental impact during its life cycle – from construction all the way through to the end of the building’s useful life. These green building characteristics are measured against three criteria:
- The environmental impact the building will have now and in the future when considering such factors as energy use, efficient use of space, recyclability, and the materials used for construction, all in an effort to conserve natural resources.
- The economic impact, such as lowering operating costs, enhancing asset value, improving productivity, as well as optimizing lifecycle performance.
- Health and community, through the improvement of air quality, occupant comfort, and overall health conditions.
Cirrus Construction is committed to protecting the environment by certifying and promoting the use of energy-efficient products. Customers using these products help reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and likely save money as a result.
The US Green Building Council cites these advantages for building green:
- Decrease in a building’s cost to operate, including energy savings
- Increase in a building’s value, improving ROI
- Improved occupant comfort
- Increase in a building’s occupancy capacity
- Increase in potential rent
- Reduction in urban heat island effect and smog
- Mitigation of global warming
Few industries play a greater role in assuring environmental responsibility than the building construction industry. Energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are issues that have far-reaching ramifications – from the companies that manufacture and supply building products, to the individuals who own, occupy and utilize building space, to the average citizen concerned about the environmental impact both today and over the lifecycle of the building.
Green practices that protect the environment and pad your profit margin:
1) Prevent Waste in the Design Phase
In the design phase you have opportunities to prevent waste that leads to overspending on materials and waste removal costs.
- Design with standard building material sizes in mind.
- Set specific waste reduction goals at the beginning of the project by targeting specific materials and activities.
- Get subcontractor buy-in by including specs in your contracts.
- Win employee buy-in by offering incentives for participation (for example, purchase rewards with portion of money saved).
- Estimate when and where you’ll be generating waste. Use this schedule to efficiently plan your methods of handling waste.
2) Prevent Construction Waste on Site
Construction sites generate massive amounts of waste. Prevent construction waste from accumulating so quickly in your dumpsters.
- Ask suppliers to buy back unused items.
- Ask suppliers to replace all damaged materials.
- Ask suppliers to deliver materials in returnable pallets and containers.
- Reassess your material storage practices to prevent loss due to weather.
3) Prevent Construction Waste by Smart Purchase Decisions
When you’re sourcing the materials for your project you have an opportunity to reduce waste.
- When possible avoid material brands with excessive packaging.
- Evaluate your current estimation process.
- When possible purchase reused, recycled and renewable materials.
4) Reuse/Recycle Waste on Site
Here are a few ideas to start you thinking about on-site waste reuse and recycling.
- Make a designated area for onsite-reused materials including lumber for fire blocking and spacers, scraps of drywall for filler in hidden areas, etc.
- Save concrete chunks, broken bricks, blocks and other masonry rubble for backfill.
- Use cleared brush and trees chipped for mulch.
- Use joint compound buckets for other materials and your tools.
- Use sawdust for mulching landscape and pathways, etc.
- Never throw away excess insulation. Install extra material in interior walls or on top of attic insulation for added protection.
5) Implement Green Security to Stop Waste Due to Theft
Theft and vandalism cost construction companies in the US over 1 billion dollars annually. Consider installing surveillance cameras on your job sites.
6) Know Your Local C&D Material Recycling/Salvage Requirements
Recycling and salvage companies may be your new best friends. Some of them will even turn your waste into cash. Call them, get to know them and learn what their requirements are for materials they recover from construction sites. Your local government may have recycling options for you as well. Consider using Craigslist to get rid of any potentially useful waste.
- Research your local recycling and salvage options.
- Which ones pay cash and for which materials?
- Who can use unsalable materials?
7) Filter/Divert Your Jobsite Water Runoff
Jobsite runoff (whether pollutants from vehicles and cement mixing or from topsoil washed away in storms) can be very expensive – in the form of fines and even injunctions or restraining orders that keep you from working. Know your local laws and consider following some of the tips below.
- Prevent potential fines, injunctions and restraining orders by preventing runoff.
- Provide stabilization – temporary or permanent – by planting rye grass.
- Protect all drain inlets and outlets with rock arranged in check dam formation AND silt fencing.
- Check your drain control measure weekly.
- Continually monitor vehicles for leaks.
- Keep spill kits on hand and use on spills immediately.
8) Know Your Green Materials Alternatives
The green material industry is booming now, and will continue to grow and evolve as consumers – and government – shift toward green building. Below you’ll find a few links to outside sources that will help you evaluate green materials and even find suppliers.
Green Construction Materials
Green Building Materials
Environmentally Preferable Building Materials and Specifications
9) Design for Deconstruction
Designing for deconstruction reduces costs at the end of a building’s life cycle. This process also makes it easier to add on to the existing structure.
- Design so that the building is easy to take apart either for reuse or future additions.
- When possible use bolts instead of glue.
10) Stay abreast of new regulations and active organizations in the sustainable initiative
Aimed at increasing the energy efficiency in both new residential and commercial buildings, the new North Carolina Energy Conservation Code, which sets the building requirements for insulation, window and door ratings, lighting, power and water efficiency, went into effect in March of 2012.
The changes to the state code represent a 30 percent improvement in energy efficiency compared to the previous baseline outlined in the 2006 International Energy Efficiency Code. Electrical and HVAC are two areas that are significantly affected.
The Green Building Institute (GBI) fosters green building through education, outreach and example.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability. Sustainability implies that an action can be continued indefinitely with little, or manageable, impact on the environment.
C. Scott Flanagan, P.E., President and an owner of Cirrus Construction, Inc., is a LEED Accredited Professional. Certification was granted by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) upon completion of the required exam, and in appreciation of Cirrus’ principles to foster sustainable design and construction.
We’re greening up!
Please contact Charlie Hall, CFO, marketing and sales and an owner of Cirrus Construction, at 336.627.7700, or firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information about green construction.