All of us dream of leading meaningful lives. To give our time here a purpose. For those of us in the construction industry, there is a unique testament to our life’s work in the form of the buildings we design, construct, supply materials for or own.
But we also have a unique responsibility just because what we build does last a long time, and its performance and utility will be measured across generations, not just moments or years. Thanks to automation, we can construct buildings faster than ever before, which is a good thing because it saves time and money. Unfortunately, what we can do quickly also stays for a long time, and the speed of development and change pushes our considerations away from long-term judgments.
That building we put up in six months will be there a hundred years from now, and during that time it will be responsible for massive amounts of resource consumption beyond just materials and energy consumed during construction. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, commercial buildings in the United States account for
- 40 percent of the raw materials used
- 30 percent of the waste output
- 38 percent of carbon dioxide emissions
- 39 percent of energy use
- 72 percent of electrical consumption
- 14 percent of potable water consumption
We currently have the technological ability to reduce every one of those numbers with no negative impact on the comfort, productivity or efficiency of a building’s occupants.
If your life’s work were going to be there for generations, wouldn’t you wants its testament to include that it was done smartly, efficiently and with forethought?