Green construction – environmentally friendly projects and methods

A recent report by Arup on behalf of the BCO urges the construction industry to embrace virtual reality and 3D printing technologies to help combat wasted material resources.

It is thought that evolving technologies like virtual reality can aid in areas such as design, procurement and construction, by enabling quicker design comparisons, improved understanding of logistics, and providing a platform for better training to help reduce accidents on site.

These are important potential innovations for the UK’s construction industry, particularly at a time when environmental issues are at the forefront of news and political thinking.

Green solutions

Of course, for some construction projects environmentally friendly objectives are already at the core of their initiatives. Waste and resource management companies based in the UK are a good example.

Steel erection at the Lincolnshire Energy from Waste Facility construction in North Hykeham

FCC Environment, the UK’s leading body in business waste services, are operational in over 200 locations across the country, providing recycling and processing, and generation of green energy from waste.

For a venture in association with Lincolnshire County Council back in 2011, a new Energy from Waste facility was built for FCC Environment on a 3.1-hectare site on the outskirts of Lincoln.

Taking 21-months to complete, this facility has multiple ‘green’ benefits, including:

  • Treating 150,000 tonnes of waste per year
  • Being operational 24-hours a day
  • And generating enough electricity to power 15,000 homes.

Since its completion, the facility has ensured that over 750,000 tonnes of waste has been transformed into more valuable resources on site.

This time-lapse video shows the construction process from start to completion, while sophisticated wireless networks allowed for a ‘live’ record of the project to be available to clients during capture.

 

Other environmental and waste management services like Amey have also benefited from this site monitoring service, keeping the public informed as work at Allerton Waste Recover Park progressed.

The new facility situated in North Yorkshire will reduce the amount of waste from the county by 90%. Instead of going to landfill, the waste will make enough energy to power the equivalent of 40,000 homes.

Templeborough Biomass Power Plant in Rotherham is due to open in late summer 2017, in the hopes of ensuring a greener future by way of 41mw of energy – which will save over 150,000 tons of CO2 a year.

Retail businesses are also incorporating energy efficient cooling solutions into their everyday operations.

This time-lapse video documents the construction of a special bio-fuel plant rooms which was to find a permanent home at a Waitrose branch in Chipping Sodbury.

 

As a result of this cooling system from Weatherite, the air movement equipment specialists, this branch of the British supermarket chain now benefits from indefinite improved biodiversity.

The full video narrative begins with internal capture of the initial plant room build at West Bromwich-based Weatherite, followed by external video tracking the complicated manoeuvres during transportation to, and installation of the unit at Waitrose.

Sustainability ratings

The Chipping Sodbury store has even been recognised among BREEAM excellence ratings for its low-carbon plan and other green credentials.

BREEAM is an established method of assessing, rating, and certifying the sustainability of buildings. Assessments are measured by criteria covering a range of issues such as energy and water use, health and wellbeing, pollution, waste, and ecology processes.

Modern residential builds like 10 Wellington Place in Leeds, as well as major educational facilities such as South Essex College in Grays, both meet BREEAM rating because of their low impact on the environment.

Modular builds are becoming an increasingly popular means of residential development in the UK, with some equipped with solar panels to help generate their own energy, such is the case on this estate from Adston and BHA Homes in the county town of Duns.

Off-grid methods

Solar power is also effective for off-grid methods of power in other industries, particularly time-lapse and site monitoring.
Time-lapse camera system in situ at St Andrews, overlooking the 18th green

When no mains power is available on site, off-grid solutions like solar can be used to accommodate continuous capture.

Such was the case for this St Andrews time-lapse, capturing the progress of the first-ever two-tier grandstand constructed especially for the 2015 Open Championship.

With off-grid becoming increasingly viable in various sectors worldwide, there is scope for incorporating new ways to power our world – both for economical and opportunistic reasons.

 

This is only a small sample of environmentally friendly projects captured using time-lapse but it is clear to see that there is both means and cause by which to make construction an increasingly green industry.

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