Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Environmentally Friendly

For many years the construction industry had no real regard for the pollution being created or the harm that was being done to the environment or public health. The main goal was to just get the job done on time and on budget. As time has passed, the level of awareness has been raised and most people have come to accept the importance of implementing more control over their construction practices.
Putting these controls into place does require more time and energy but as a construction contractor or even a do it yourselfer working on your own home improvement project, we all have a responsibility to protect the environment from pollution. This not only includes green building and construction practices but also the conscious effort to help keep hazardous waste from entering lakes, streams, and storm drain systems or polluting the atmosphere. Waste products can include runoff created by the mixing and spillage of materials such as concrete, cement, mortar mix, stucco, thin set adhesive, tile grout, paint, fertilizers, oil and gas, sawdust and cleaning products. This can easily be resolved by establishing a washout container that can be used to capture any waste. It can then be disposed of properly and is easier to set up than you might think. A plastic kiddie pool can be used as a washout container and is a great solution for the small quantities of waste usually generated by small do it yourself projects. Another easy solution is simply a small hole dug in the ground that is then lined with a heavy duty plastic such as visqueen or a tarp.
A simple solution for controlling airborne pollutants is just a little water - i.e. dust control. Wetting cementious product bags before opening and emptying the contents slowly while adding water will help to control any escaping dust. Another good idea is to fill the mixing container with a small amount of water before adding the material. This will help to absorb the material and minimize the dust that becomes airborne. This same method can be applied to dry soil before working it - i.e. grading, landscaping, drilling and trenching. Don’t forget to wear a protective mask when mixing these products or working in a dusty environment because health pollution is just as big of a problem as environmental pollution.
The point is that with a little consideration and extra time, we all can do our part to implement environmentally friendly construction practices and help keep the environment clean.