In separate research by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the construction industry accounts for 40% of worldwide energy usage, with estimations that by 2030 emissions from commercial buildings will grow by 1.8%.
It’s easy to glance at the statistic’s above and become irked by the overall environmental impact. However, I want to ask you: do you consume plastic water bottles, opt for a plastic straw during a meal, or prefer paper grocery bags? If so, it’s not all your fault, because you are consistently berated by our society that advocates and advertises these “1-time use” product’s from microwavable meals, to-go drinks, and entirely almost all consumer goods. Our culture has indoctrinate us to use and dispose. So how do we transform our at-home lifestyles to be more efficient, but more importantly how do we assist the biggest offender of all: the construction industry?
I will not speak for the entire industry since there are over thousands of construction sectors and each varying in their environmental impact. It’s important to understand an oil drilling company is far more detrimental than an owner-installer cabinet-maker, but unfortunately we get segmented together. So where can we start?
3 Tips on how YOU can assist the construction industries impact?
- Don’t buy the hype! Our industry has innovative product’s on the horizon such as Tesla’s Solar Tiles, GAF Decotech, PVC style roofing systems, and Celect snap-clad siding systems. Are these more efficient for the environment? They might be, but only if the research studies are accurate (ala Volkswagen).
- The reason I state “don’t buy the hype” is because no home or business owner needs these products until they NEED a roof, siding, or a product. Ask yourself, why are you making the improvement? If’s due to a failing product then yes replace it! However, much environmental research showcases the production of gas emissions and natural resources outweighs the benefit’s of these products. This applies towards vehicles as well. Driving an old vehicle until it meet’s it’s life cycle is far better than purchasing new gas friendly vehicles (because the overall effects of production) and radiation of the lithium batteries, which merit’s another article posting.
- This is definitely illegal and you could get arrested. However, if you’re a DIYer or jack of all trades go dumpster diving (figuratively – not literally!). Skip the Home Depot or Menard’s run and visit a dumpster near a new construction home or rehab project. YOU CAN FIND A LOT OF GREAT ITEMS and full sheets of lumber. Waste remains the hardest item to calculate for contractor’s and installers due to the varying difficulty of every project. Most project’s have a 10% waste factor, which mean’s 10% of the lumber, shingles, and etc. are in that dumpster. Do not jump into a dumpster and be cognitive of job-site safety – nails, potential for injury, and possible arrest due to trespassing.
Alternatives to dumpster diving
3. Use your local supply house and builder #golocal! It’s extremely common for the Chicagoans and Northwest Indiana areas to have contractor’s from Texas, Oklahoma, or fly by nights crash our local storms. How does this makes sense? Seriously? What’s the true benefit’s for your environment, the local economy, and assurance in their WORKMANSHIP. The most expensive project is the one you do TWICE. Does a company from Nebraska iinstalling an unfamiliar product make sense? I can assure you that the second go-around in production, waste, and cost of a second roofing system in 10 years could be avoided. You should be getting 17+ years in the midwest from an asphalt shingle roofing system. Unless you fly to Iowa every year to visit your dentist, trust the local contractor’s, and please get 3 local bids. Save the environment the redundancy and potential landfill waste.
So what’s Total Roofing & Construction Services, Inc. doing for the environment.
I assure you we are not saints nor pioneer’s for the environmental movement, . However, this does not mean we are ignorant and unmotivated to make a difference. In the last 5 years we’ve made significant progress in identifying our industries voids and where we can make improvements.
- Renovated Lighting System
- This winter we replaced the entire Total Roofing & Construction Services, Inc. headquarters with “High Energy efficiency lighting. We invested in over $20,000 in overhauling the entire property with these bulbs. The new bulbs will cut our energy consumption by 20% (as per their salesman).
- Digital/CRM – paperless transition
- We cannot say that TRC is one of the “hip” paperless companies, but our processes are much-less paper focused. We decreased the amount of product literature for homeowners and only order it on a per need basis. In addition, we are in the process of implementing a commercial sized recycling container on-site for paper and cardboard for the community of Dolton (May 18).
- Fleet improvements In 2017, we worked in the following states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, and Indiana. Everyone from project managers to installer’s traveled far and wide to ensure our customers stayed dried. Driving result’s in gas consumption, rubber (tires), and more. Whether we run product’s to job sites, completing estimates, chasing local building permits, or traveling for safety training we realized this is a HUGE EXPENSE on both the environmental and the pockets EXPENSE.
- Fleet Retirement: Our president has done a great job by using a vehicle to its fullest and it’s common for a truck to hit 200,000 miles in our fleet. 200,000 miles in the construction industry are tough miles from towing, hauling, and more. However, our goal is to replace each truck with an “Eco-Boost Ford F-150” or product similar for our installer’s. These vehicles get better gas mileage and are more efficient than older models.
- Transits: In addition, last year we began our transition to Transit model vehicles to ensure higher mpg. The transits allow us to save 5-8 mpg when you’re chasing down a permit or bringing over material.
- Trailers/Dumpsters: We’ve had the same dump truck for over 17 years and it’s still running. However, we’ve used roll-out’s for residential job’s for a long time and realized it’s time to transition to pull dumpsters. One less vehicle is making 2 trips (Dumpster company) and we can haul material’s on the way to the job. A trailer’s only downfall is the tires and weight capacity on the roads
4. Local Loads Our goal for 2018 is to order from our closest alliance supplier in the area. The differences of $10 to $30 per a load will not outweigh ordering from a the local supplier. We believe the supplier’s proximity will ensure higher customer service, less wait time on material, and unnecessary driving. As our business grows throughout the Midwest this is critical! Last year we had suppliers ship from Northwest Indiana to Lafeyette (2 hour drive) with over 4 ton of roofing supply. This must change and we believe our partner system will allow this.
5. Job take-off (Waste calculations) We continue to use satelite take-off’s, drone’s, measurement tool’s, and hand taping products to ensure a job’s mean of square footage. These various tool’s allow us to avoid making as many trips to a large condominium or multi-family property (less gas). These product’s allow us to ensure proper measurements and waste calculations. Waste calculations are central to the business for the purpose of unnecessary waste!
6. Product quality: This is the biggest item have elaborated on and believe is critical for success and sustainability. Installing better product’s ensure less callback’s and longer lasting product’s. It’s true, every job has it’s various way’s to cut corners to make a price work, but we’ve realized labor & product are not those items. Unfortunately, this mean’s we won’t be able to service all customer’s, but it does allow us to be confident in the systems we install. That’s why our staff is free to bring up any new products or learn about the innovative products. If the product’s will enhance our customers experience we will advise it.
7. Shingle Recycle: We recycle our asphalt shingles & detriorated wood. These items get reused and installed back on our road system!
Maybe you own a construction company or have ideas as well, let us know! We’d love to hear more ways we could eliminate our footprint on the environment, while ensuring your home is protected for the next century!
Some research studies to review:
Environmental studies on roofing systems: