Going Green in the Construction Industry
Posted on June 13, 2014 | Posted by Joseph Fazzio Blogger
With energy dependence a growing concern in the United States, many companies have opted to transition to a “green” business model. Better for the environment and the economy, going green is a conscious business decision that isn’t without its merits in the construction industry. With numerous tax incentives available, green options save contractors money almost immediately while continuing to generate savings over years of operation. Furthermore, increased demand for green housing means more contracts for green construction companies. With a myriad of benefits and easily implemented options, going green should be considered by all serious construction companies.
Go Green, Save Green
The number one reason behind the green movement is a cleaner, more sustainable environment. While that in and of itself is a noble cause, there are also business-related reasons for companies to consider going green. Though green technology sometimes requires a heavier initial investment, the money it can save a company over time far outweighs the cost of making the shift.
The most cited reasons for businesses to go green are the federal tax incentives. Though tax breaks can save money for any business, the green tax codes are especially beneficial to construction companies. Green incentive programs primarily target industries with high-energy use, and as such construction equipment and building design are key areas for environmental tax breaks. With numerous programs available, finding money-saving options is fairly simple in the construction industry. The video below explains the changing tax codes in detail.
But going green does more for construction companies than just save them on taxes. As environmental consciousness grows in the United States, more consumers are looking for green alternatives in their daily lives. As a result, the demand for green building construction continues to rise. Increased demand means more lucrative contracts and an easy, seller-focused market. Since there are already tax incentives for building green architecture, construction companies can double the benefits of green projects without a significant increase in their work. The result is higher profits and happier clients, a perfect situation for all parties involved.
Tips for Going Green
On board computers for heavy machine are an increasingly popular trend. Smart technology can measure equipment’s energy use, providing information about fuel consumption and energy waste. In addition to monitoring the engine, some computers even reduce its output if the machine has been sitting idle for an extended period of time. While great for the environment, reduced engine use is also a boon to the wallet. Lower usage means lower fuel costs, saving the company money each time the program kicks in. Look for this feature when shopping for heavy equipment. Decreased fuel costs could add up to massive savings over the course of a fiscal year.
With regards to green technology and due to new regulation taking effect this year, construction machinery must meet lower emission standards. Nitrogen oxide and soot are the main offenders, and manufacturers are exploring different designs to reduce their output. While newer models cost more initially, they prevent continued revenue loss from regulatory fines. The cost of fines over several years of use could easily total higher expenses than the initial investment for cleaner models, making clean models worth the investment. Redesigns focusing on new filtration systems are usually the least expensive machines, so finding equipment relying on new emission filters is probably the most cost-efficient option.
Utilizing machines that run on alternative fuel sources – as opposed to traditional diesel models – is another way to meet standards while saving money over long-term use. While European companies explore methods using plant oils, American companies are primarily investing in natural gas. Found in abundance in the United States, natural gasses are rapidly becoming the fuel source of choice for a clean, affordable future. As extraction companies grow, natural gas could easily become much cheaper than traditional fuel due to its independence from foreign markets. Additionally, filtered gas is better for machinery engines than diesel. The clean-burning nature of gas lengthens the time needed between crankshaft oil changes, extending the life of crankshafts, pistons, and valves. Though still not yet the industry standard, filtered gas engines are gaining popularity. Owed to the numerous benefits over gasoline, engines capable of running on natural gas are the greener, smarter choice for modern construction. Furthermore, natural gas is quickly becoming a new energy standard, with numerous housing and vehicle benefits.
Any or all of these changes can help construction teams qualify as green companies. Whatever the chosen path, going green can save contractors money while saving the earth’s environment.