• Eco-Cities: The Rise of Sustainable Construction in Urban Centres

    An eco-city is a settlement that has been modelled on self-sustaining, resilient structures and the utilisation of natural ecosystems. The aim of creating eco-cities is to achieve enhanced sustainability whereby we’re reducing our carbon footprint, relying more on renewable resources and improving our environmental impact. While it may sound too good to be true, below we will be taking a further look at all the factors involved in achieving this goal.

    A Growing Population with Growing Needs

    There are a variety of statistics, namely concerning the rapid growth of the population, that highlight the need for eco-cities in the future. The Australian State of Environment report shows that the population grew from 24 million people in 2016 to 25.6 million as of June 2020. Australia is an incredibly urbanised country with more than 76% of the population living in major cities and the highest percentage of population growth occurring in these cities. It is estimated that the population will have increased to 31.8 million by 2040. 

    The continually increasing population growth in turn increases urban density which places pressure on the natural environment due to the need to continue to clear more land to accommodate the population’s needs. But the resulting reduced green space, pollution and loss of biodiversity only contribute to this pressure. It also means that agricultural demand is increased to feed the increasing population. So how do we balance the needs of current and future generations with consideration for the environment?

    Moving Towards Sustainable Construction Practices

    As we look towards creating ecological cities that are more sustainable, it’s crucial that we reflect on and update our construction practices. Known to be a prominent consumer of minerals and natural resources, construction is an area we should be focusing on when it comes to reducing the negative impact we have on the environment. That’s where sustainable construction comes into the picture.

    What exactly is sustainable construction, you ask? Well, the simple answer is that it’s construction involving the use of renewable and recyclable materials on building projects to reduce energy consumption and toxic waste. A sustainable construction company aims to decrease the impact on the environment by following sustainable procedures, practicing energy efficiency, and using green technologies. Purchasing a city crane for sale second-hand is one such way that a construction company can be sustainable rather than requiring the creation of new equipment.

    The Benefits of Sustainable Construction

    There are a multitude of benefits that come with adopting sustainable construction practices – for both the environment and the general population. One of the biggest benefits is that it promotes healthier living through sustainable architecture. Our surroundings have a big impact on our health – physical, emotional and mental. Technological advancements in everything from power sources and thermal conditions to ergonomic features have noticeably improved our health and living conditions.

    A move to sustainable construction sees a reduction in waste and a lowered carbon footprint as we shift our reliance over to renewable resources. Responsibly sourced building materials are a great way for the construction industry to support sustainability while also reducing maintenance costs over time. The types of materials selected to construct a building will impact its long-term sustainability. Many construction companies are now looking at options that include plant materials such as straw, mud brick, timber from forests certified to be sustainably managed, recycled materials, and other products that are listed as non-toxic.

    The Benefits of Eco-Cities

    Eco-cities are designed with the environment in mind; to be self-sustaining settlements that are healthier for the people living in them currently and for future generations. Modelling our cities using sustainable construction will ensure that we’re living within the means of the environment which presents several benefits.

    An eco-city will also grow a lot of its food within its borders, which in turn cuts down on transport costs as the residents don’t need to travel to obtain essentials, and fewer products need to be shipped in. Many of the residents in an eco-city will also endeavour to gain employment within walking or cycling distance from home, again to minimise the need to travel and create carbon emissions through vehicles. An eco-city also produces products that are designed for reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling so everything can be used again and again rather than purchasing constantly new things, which helps us reduce waste.

    Where to Start

    It all begins with our infrastructure. If you are working in construction and starting to see the benefits of sustainability in construction, but are not sure where to start, look to start off small. Take into consideration things like switching over to LED lighting, investing in quality equipment, or where possible recycled equipment.

    Take care of the construction waste at every step in the build, it becomes easy to leave it until the end and then just landfill it but separating and recycling each step of the way will make this process short and simple. Start researching and linking with sustainable supply chains that provide responsibly sourced materials. Even look at your employees and ways to get them on board, start with small initiatives and slowly move it into the company work procedures.

    With the Australian population ever on the rise and the need for housing for the ever-increasing population, sustainability needs to be the way of the future. Whether you are part of a construction company or an individual looking to build, think about the future before you do so and the impact you can have. 

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