The construction industry is a major source of environmental pollution, responsible for around 4%of particulate emissions, more water pollution incidents than any other industry, and thousands of noise complaints every year. Although construction activities also pollute the soil, the main areas of concern are air, water, and noise pollution. This environmental pollution has posed several health hazards, Global warming, and climate change issues. There are several initiatives been taken to reduce environmental pollution? Hence, Green construction is necessary to be considered for decreasing Environmental Pollution. Green construction or sustainable building refers to both a structure and the using of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from sitting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. In other words, green building design involves finding the balance between homebuilding and the sustainable environment. This requires close cooperation of the design team, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project stages. The Green Building practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. Green building practices aim to reduce the environmental impact of the building. Construction work almost always degrades a building site, not building at all, is preferable to green building, in terms of reducing environmental impact. Also, every building should be as small as possible. It should not contribute to sprawl, even if the most energy-efficient, environmentally sound methods are used in design and construction. This terminology is gaining importance to a greater extent in the west, wherein efforts are taken to reduce environment pollution and certain laws been enacted to increase its practice among the construction sector.
Action Research Design
Exploratory and Descriptive research
The objective of the research
- To study the impact of construction activities on the environment in increasing environmental pollution.
- To study what is meant by Green construction.
- To study the importance of green construction in reducing environmental pollution.
- H1 – Green construction is required to reduce environmental pollution.
- H2 – Green construction can be adopted as a CSR activity by the Construction Industries..
- H3 –Skill development is necessary for the adoption of Green Construction.
INTRODUCTION & LITERATURE REVIEW
Construction industry of India is an important indicator of the development as it creates investment opportunities across various related sectors. The construction industry has contributed a share of around 8% in GDP. The industry is fragmented, with a handful of major companies involved in the construction activities across all segments; medium-sized companies specializing in niche activities; small and medium contractors who work on the subcontractor basis and carry out the work in the field. The sector is labor-intensive and, including indirect jobs, provides employment to more than 35 million people. By 2025, it is estimated that 70 percent of Indians will be of working age. Hence, Health issues may be the concern to look after now sooner. Construction and Demolition activities, by their very nature, are noisy and dirty. Although the work may not last long, it can cause significant disruption to local communities. The buildings, in general, are responsible for almost 40% of the world’s Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. This directly impacts Global warming, which is a major concern now. Spence and Mulligan (1995)gave a comprehensive overview of all environmental impacts resulting from the construction industry. They are:
- Use of fossil fuels (The use of fossil fuels raises serious environmental concerns. The burning of fossil fuels produces around 21.3 billion tons (21.3 gigatonnes) of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, but it is estimated that natural processes can only absorb about half of that amount, so there is a net increase of 10.65 billion tons of atmospheric Carbon dioxide per year).
- 2. Atmospheric pollution & pollution in cement manufacturing. Manufacturing of building materials contributes 8-20 % of total carbon dioxide emissions of the construction sector. The construction sector also contributes to the creation of the ozone-depleting gases),
- 3. Loss of soil and agricultural land (activities of quarrying and mining, urbanization, roadBuilding, civil engineering projects). These activities increase pollution.
- 4. Loss of forests and natural habitats This creates Global Warming. Similarly, the following problems are most commonly reported in relation to construction sites:
Construction activities that contribute to air pollution include land clearing, operation of diesel engines, demolition, burning, and working with toxic materials. All construction sites generate high levels of dust (typically from concrete, cement, wood, stone, silica) and this can carry for large distances over a long period of time. Construction dust is classified as PM10 – particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter, invisible to the naked eye, which is harmful to human beings as well as the environment. Research has shown that PM10 penetrates deeply into the lungs and causes a wide range of health problems including respiratory illness, asthma, bronchitis, and even cancer. Another major source of PM10 on construction sites comes from the diesel engine exhausts of vehicles and heavy equipment. This is known as diesel particulate matter (DPM) and consists of soot, sulfates, and silicates, all of which readily combine with other toxins in the atmosphere, increasing the health risks of particle inhalation. Diesel is also responsible for emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide. Noxious vapors from oils, glues, thinners, paints, treated woods, plastics, cleaners and other hazardous chemicals that are widely used on construction sites, also contribute to air pollution.
Sources of water pollution on building sites include diesel and oil; paint, solvents, cleaners and other harmful chemicals; and construction debris and dirt. When land is cleared it causes soil erosion that leads to silt-bearing run-off and sediment pollution. Silt and soil that runs into natural waterways turn them turbid, which restricts sunlight filtration and destroys aquatic life. Surface water runoff also carries other pollutants from the site, such as diesel and oil, toxic chemicals, and building materials like cement. When these substances get into waterways they poison water life and any animal that drinks it. Pollutants on construction sites penetrate into the groundwater, which also becomes a source of pollution through the drinking water. Once contaminated, groundwater is much more difficult to treat than surface water.
Noise Pollution is also a concern. Construction sites produce a lot of noise, mainly from vehicles, heavy equipment, and machinery, but also from people shouting and radios turned too loud. Excessive noise is not only annoying and distracting but can lead to hearing loss, high blood pressure, sleep disturbances and extreme stress. Research has shown that high noise levels disturb the natural cycles of animals and reduces their usable habitat.
Demolition of the building materials can provide exposure to mold, asbestos, lead, bird waste and other respiratory irritants. The application of tile adhesive, roofing materials, paints and other products used during renovations provide point sources of volatile organic compounds(VOCs) and other irritating chemicals. Contractors frequently use fossil fueled construction and heating equipment in indoor areas undergoing renovations. Combustion products (e.g. carbon monoxide) can migrate into occupied areas
When considering environmental issues in construction and life cycle, some focus on the evaluation of manufactured products in terms of waste disposal (although a product’s end-use can account for as much as 90 percent of a product’s impact on the environment). Instead, a host of factors and influences of a product’s impact on society should be evaluated and contrasted to the product’s performance. A systems approach allows for the determination of the environmental impact of a product in terms of energy consumption at each stage of a product’s life cycle, beginning at the point of raw materials extraction from the earth and proceeding through processing, manufacturing, fabrication, end-use, and disposal. Transportation of materials and products to each process step should also be included.
A sustainable environment is the only answer to safeguard our future from depleting away natural resources. We need to save our environment as already it is under tremendous pressure due to extensive urbanization. Worldwide the concept of green buildings/construction is fast catching up. New eco-friendly materials and construction methods that will safeguard our naturalresources are being developed. Green construction or sustainable building refers to both astructure and using of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from sitting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. In other words, green building design involves findingthe balance between homebuilding and the sustainable environment. In a green building, the structural creation processes respect the environment and make efficient use of resources. This practice is growing and complements the conventional concerns of designing buildings that are economical in energy, sustainable and comfortable. Green building is a clean, sustainable building, designed with natural materials, uses little energy and renewable ones at that, is easy tomaintain and available at a reasonable cost.
Why Green construction? It’s Importance in reducing Environmental pollution
Some of the benefits of a green design to a building owner, user, and the society as a whole areas follows:
- Reduced energy consumption without sacrificing the comfort levels
- Reduced destruction of natural areas, habitats, and biodiversity, and reduced soil lossfrom erosion etc.
- Reduced air and water pollution (with direct health benefits)
- Reduced water consumption
- Limited waste generation due to recycling and reuse
- Reduced pollution loads
- Increased user productivity
- Enhanced image and marketability
Suggestions and Recommendations
Green materials / sustainable materials are used in Green constructions which do not emitharmful gases or toxins. These materials are energy efficient and the resources help indecreasing the emission of Co2. Hence, maximum usage of green material to be done toreduce the pollution.One of the following structural materials can be used to build a green building:
- a. Cellular concrete: Load-bearing material offering thermal insulation, of mineral origin. Itis durable, recyclable and produces no toxic discharges.
- b. Clay bricks (honeycomb brick): Load-bearing clay material offering thermal insulation.Offers high acoustic performance and highly durable. Incurs overconsumption of grey energyin the manufacturing process.
- c. Wooden frame: Load-bearing material (requires systematic addition of an insulatingmaterial) and CO2 absorbent. A renewable source available in large quantities.
- There are many simple ways to reduce the use of water. Use of waterless urinals, lowflow toilets, and a self-supplying irrigation system, technologies can be utilized in almostany office building. The urinals use no water and the toilets have a 2-option lever for alight flush or heavy flush. The irrigation system can get its water from a man-made pondon the property that constantly collects rain water and run-off. By collecting all of thiswater in a pond and filtering it, pollution can also be removed.
- As influential as solar energy has been, the sustainable developments that are emergingtoday are numerous. The use of natural light is becoming very popular in newlarge buildings. Buildings can have many skylights and windows to get natural light deepinto the interior. The artificial lights in the building could then dim or turn off when thereis a sufficient amount of natural light.
- Green roofs are becoming more popular and effective.Green roof is one with a layerof soil and vegetation growing on top of it. It benefits the building as well as the habitatin many ways. It helps the environment, in that it provides a habitat for wildlife that waslikely there before the building was built. The water runoff from the top of a green roofalso drains cleaner than it was before it hit the roof. Green roofs also benefit the building,in that they are a great insulation, blocking out the hot sun in the summer, or keeping theheat from leaving the building in the winter.
- Integrating green building materials into building projects can help reduce theenvironmental impacts associated with the extraction, transport, processing, fabrication,installation, reuse, recycling, and disposal of these building industry source materials. The following are some useful materials for constructing a green building:-
- a) Coco Tiles: Coco tile is created with reclaimed coconut husks with single non-hazardous zero-VOC adhesives and ecological friendly methods. This handy sustainable design element can beapplied for wall covering, furniture and interior designing. These green materials are customizedto be applied with decorative tiles having intricate basket-weave. All the tiles have low-VOCresin as finished materials. A dry tile saw set up with panel adhesive and nails is used to slicethese tiles.
- b) Leather Tiles: The application of leather tiles can be found in Residential, Hospitality, Contract,Aircraft, and Marine etc. Leather tiles are formed with pieces of furniture; shoe, car seats as wellas 100% recycled leather. After wards these real leather scraps are assembled and are stone grindedwhich facilitates in producing sheets for abundantly shaded tiles and panels. In order toclean these tiles, use a damp mop. It is advisable to polish these tiles 3 times annually.Alternatively a topical sealer can also be used to every 5 to 10 years. These tiles come withdiversified colors, textures, and size and shape varieties.
- c) Strand woven Bamboo Flooring: The strand method for woven bamboo flooring will weavethe fibers in an adhesive base which produce durable material. Strand woven bamboo flooring iscreated with fibrous, interwoven strips of renewable bamboo. The panels of bamboo flooringcomprises of end-material that is two and half times stronger as compared to oak.
- d) Bio-glass: Bio glass contains a series of bioactive glasses, with SiO2, Na2O, CaO and P2O5 indefinite proportions. Bio-glass is 100% recycled glass that is warm up and condensed to generatesolid-surfacing slabs. It does not contain the binders, colorants, fillers, or other admixtures. Bio glass is completed with satin finish having a hammered texture to some extent
- e) Bronze Art Tiles: Some recyclable products like reprocessed copper and other materials are usedto produce Bronze art tiles. In order to set up Bronze Art Tiles, thin set, industrial adhesive, orepoxy adhesive are applied.
- f) Showercork: Showercork is ideal for drenched environment and it is created with recycled winecork slices. These showercorks are brought together on paper backing for sticking together tosubfloor easily and instantly. Showercork is then conserved with water-based polyurethane finishwhich facilitates in maintaining the moisture out and offering toughness and underfoot cushionof uncoated cork.
- g) We also look forward for Green construction to be adopted as a CSR activity by the Construction Industries andrelated construction sector actors. Skill development related to Green construction can be started by the Industries. Awareness programs in the society related to Green construction can be arranged.
- Green construction needs to be adopted by the construction sector as well as the societyto reduce environmental pollution. The construction activities need to be framed whereinthe materials and the processes have to be green that may reduce the pollution of theenvironment.
- The construction sector needs to adopt the green building policies and mustwork out the projects to reduce wastage and use the remnants by recycling.
- Green construction should be incorporated under the CSR activity by the constructionIndustries. As the CSR activity this adoption of green construction will reduce its effecton environment, which will be beneficial for the society, human beings, the nature andthe globe as well. The CSR activity should also bring into skill training for theunorganized workers as these people are not much aware about the Green constructionmaterials, their usage and the processes. This will help in making them skilled which willfurther help in their profession and employment.
- Under the environment protection act, certain policies related to Green construction to beframed or modified to take steps in reducing the environmental pollution due toconstruction activities. Certain policies need to be made compulsory for the Constructionsector to emphasize on Green building processes and Materials. Though there are normsfor certain standard emission of pollutants, yet in terms of Green construction there needsto be steps taken to frame policy and incentives or subsidies.
- Construction Industries/ Contractors/Architects/Engineer/ Suppliers and manufacturers toadopt the green construction technologies and processes. The syllabus needs to be madecompulsory in the academics related to the above specialization.
Further research needsto be done on the technology up gradation in this respect. Also there needs to be researchdone on the cost factor that may incur while using this process. Skill development initiatives to be undertaken by Government for Green Construction.Though Government is taking steps and has done several projects related to the Greenbuilding concept. Yet, skill development initiative for Green construction needs to bedone on big front on the site in collaboration with the Industries and the Academics. Thus to tackle today’s Global warming, Climate change and increasing health hazards Green construction should be given a priority to face these challenges.
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