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Insights | 30th Nov 2023

How to Reap the Benefits of Sustainable Construction

3 Tips to Make Your Sustainable Project a Success 

With Zach Belsey 

Sustainability is at the forefront of everyone’s mind these days as we seek ways to conserve energy and protect our planet. The construction industry is notorious for carbon emissions and waste, not to mention the carbon output of the final buildings. In recent years, huge strides have been made to increase not only the sustainability of the structures themselves but also the way we construct them. These methods are especially visible in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region as more and more clients seek to protect the environment we live and work in.

When utilizing sustainable construction methods such as geothermal heating, mass timber, solar panels etc., management is critical to ensure the final product works as intended. Senior Project Manager Zach Belsey shares his tips to ensure your sustainable construction project strikes both form and function:

1: Become Experts in the Subject

Since the industry is just hitting a stride with sustainable construction, many of these methods can be unfamiliar to a design or construction team. Often it might be their first-ever installation or preconstruction process with a specific element. Our team becomes experts in any unfamiliar method so that during constructability, we can be knowledgeable partners. We have to know how an element is intended to function and how it’s constructed in order to seamlessly blend it with traditional construction as well as be a resource for subcontractors on the job.

2: Early Planning is Key

Early planning from all parties is key to ensuring installation doesn’t extend the schedule. Go over potential questions and bottlenecks early so these can be built into the initial schedule rather than become a surprise later. On a recent project, we worked with the design team early to map out the placements for the geothermal tubing, a relatively new element for Haselden. Knowing these tubes had to be buried at specific depths and locations meant that this could impact our site work and foundations if not scheduled and marked correctly. Because we learned about this specific sustainable element, our team was able to ask the right questions early to determine how best to schedule, ultimately delivering the building on time.

3: Test Systems and Review Often

Sustainable construction methods rely on precision to function as intended. Triple pane windows need to be sealed correctly to provide their insulation benefits. A building designed at a specific angle to maximize winter sun exposure needs precise foundation locations. When completing a sustainability forward project, each element should be carefully monitored and tested to ensure that it is functioning to specifications. In the same project with geothermal air circulation, we tested the systems several times as we were installing and after installation to ensure that they were distributing air at the correct temperature and flow before the next phase in the schedule. 

Sustainable construction projects function at their highest capacity when care and planning have been at the forefront of construction. These systems only reduce emissions and protect the environment if they work as designed. A great team becomes the experts so that the final building can be both beautiful and work in harmony with its surrounding environment. If you’re looking for how to incorporate sustainable construction into your project, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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