02/08/2013, by Mike Woloszynowicz
How "Green" are your AEC projects?
AEC green comes in many flavours!
Even on this snowiest and whitest day of the winter in the economic heart of Ontario, being "green" is an always popular and politically correct topic in the AEC industry, just as it is in most other sectors. Do we spec and use recycled and re-cyclable materials in our construction projects? How advanced are our LEED design and build skills? How environmentally conscious are we in disposing of our site waste materials? Are our heavy vehicles running as efficiently as possible? Are we conscious of site water runoff and impact on water tables? Are we doing everything possible to limit damage to the flora and fauna around the site?
Here's another one - an issue that may not have the same impact or public visibility as the above topics but which nonetheless is an indicator of our "green-ness". How environmentally conscientious are we in our project admin and backroom activities? The paperless office - and AEC project management operations along with it - will likely go paperless at around the same time as the paperless bathroom, but there is no reason why "less-paper" can't be a daily focus. There are always applications and situations where you need your critical construction project documents in hard copy, but are you optimizing online alternatives such as web-based document management and collaboration tools wherever possible?
Again, the environmental impact of this pales in comparison to construction design and spec issues, but every little bit helps and if every project management office could convert a portion of their document printing and sharing processes to an online alternative, the contribution would be substantial. Sometimes a bunch of little steps can be just as effective as a big one, and a well planned integrated online / paper strategy will deliver process improvement benefits and cost savings at the same time!
What do you think? Care to share any less visible "green" tools & tricks even if they stop short of actually hugging a forest of trees or designing a LEED building?