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August 2020

Environmentally Friendly Construction

Environmentally Friendly Construction 1280 800 Eric Padilla

By Maria Teresa Maristela

Humanity has incited an adverse stamp on our planet that scientist designated it into a
new geological era coined as the Anthropocene. Ignited by urban and industrial breakthroughs,
anthropogenic or human-influenced undertakings suited for human needs resulted to the
mutation of the earth’s landscape which has proven to be cataclysmic. Our planet is drastically
being altered by our influences on nature. We exhaust our land’s resources, build highways on
it, dig and run pipes underneath it and trash it with our excessive consumptions. Much
variegated from previous geological epochs that left us with natural archaeological imprints, it
is foreseeable in the future that we may be leaving footprints of “manufactured landscapes”
from buildings to highways to damaging human trash and discards. Recognizing this possible
aftermath, human inventiveness that guaranteed our progress is belatedly growing an
ecological consciousness of the need for a more sustainable planet. We have gradually become
mindful of our influences on nature which consequently reshaped the way we consume our
resources. Over the years, our objectives have changed and focus veered towards sustainability
for a more ecofriendly environment.

The building industry is one of major sectors that is increasingly reshaping its role and
practices to improve impacts on nature. Given that construction requires significant amount of
material use, it virtually exhausts a massive portion of resources, allowing for the prospect to
achieve sustainability in every aspect of the building process, from technologically intelligent
and energy-efficient designs to material considerations to advanced construction methods.
There is also favorable potential for resource recovery of construction wastes by responsive
approaches towards effective waste management, such as reusability and recyclability of
scraps, discards and off-cuts instead of these excesses customarily designated to landfills.
Material wastes and excesses in an industry as sizeable as building construction can be
valuable, creating occasions for reuse and recycling. Elongating a used material’s life span
diverges the amount of materials to be harvested from nature as well as deflects wastes from
adding to the mounting pile of landfills.

In its venture to reform existing environmental circumstances, notable green building
programs such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) provides certification,
thrusting further aspirations for the construction industry into a sustainable zone. Substrata
Inc., a LEED certified company, aligns its objectives towards earth-friendly building practices
and informed decisions in order to adhere to low-chemical emissions, initiate water and energy
conservation as well as maximize utilization of renewable resources in different areas and
aspects of construction:

• Painting: Substrata advocates to the use of water-based paint to support low-chemical
emission. Paint have toxic contaminants that are hazardous to health and air quality.
Water-based paint deters risk of adverse health effects and does not cause air pollution.

• Plumbing: Substrata uses water efficient plumbing products such as dual flush toilets
for solid and liquid wastes as well as faucets with specified maximum amount of flow
rate to save on water.

• Electrical: Application of LED lighting and dimmer switches on all rooms minimizes
power consumption and promotes longevity, consequently decreasing electricity costs
for Substrata clients.

• Rain Barrels and Storm Drain System: Substrata clients conserve water and save on
water bills with rain barrel and storm drain system. Rain barrels serves as reservoirs for
rainwater drained from the roof through a downpipe. Water collected from roof gutters
are used to irrigate lawns, water gardens and wash driveways.

• Renewable Materials: Substrata engages in product selectivity by recommending to its
clients renewable and recycle materials such bamboo which endorses reduction of
pollution and greenhouse gas emission.

• Waste Management: Substrata employs waste management companies to collect and
segregate construction debris from demolition works, 50% of which goes to recycling
plants.

Substrata is one of growing companies in the building industry showing maturity
towards earth-friendly business engagements. Each sector in commerce adapting the principles
of sustainability, when added collectively, become proactive collaborators in a global
movement for a greener environment. When looking for a more sensible vision of what the
future would be like influenced by an allied global action, humanity’s relationship with nature
will be more thoughtful and far-reaching in its effort to build a sustainable planet. After all,
there is only one earth we all call our home.

Sources:
De Pencier, Nicholas, Burtynsky, Edwards and Baichwal, Jennifer. The Anthropocene Project.
https://www.theanthropocene.org. 2018
“Construction Industry Progress Towards Sustainability with Renewable Material”. Recycling

Magazine. https://www.recycling-magazine.com/2020/04/14/construction-industry-
progress-towards-sustainability-with-renewable-materials/. 14 April 2020