Embracing the Circular Economy; Striving for sustainable opportunities within the construction industry
It is well known that the construction industry is one of the world’s largest consumers of natural resources, raw materials, and energy. According to the United Nations and the International Energy Agency, approximately 40% of all energy-related CO2 emissions, and a third of all waste, is produced by the construction industry and related sectors. This consumption undeniably makes the build environment and associated industries an indirect driver of climate change, which consequently, has resulted in substantial geophysical disasters and economic losses. In a response to recent events, the UN recently published seventeen international environmental goals, such as meeting sustainable levels of consumption and generally reducing waste, which should globally be achieved by 2030 in order to avoid a major climate crisis. Here in the UK, the government has shared its’ plan to reach total net-zero-carbon by 2050. This plan essentially echoes that of the UN’s, advising the public and corporations to reduce their overall consumption and the over-production of non-essentials in order to cut their carbon footprint, procure materials/resources and help preserve the planet.
As a reaction to these various global pledges, consumers are becoming more environmentally minded and making conscious decisions when it comes to buying products and services, often opting for the greener, rather than the cheaper, option. Evidence for this can be seen in various sectors including food and retail, where consumers are prepared to pay more for items which have been ethically and responsibly sourced and produced. Consumers are also more aware of the need for traceability, fair labour practices and circular sustainability models. As changing consumer attitudes filter through into everyday life, the question being proposed is; when will greener choices and opportunities present themselves within the construction industry? Generally speaking, transitioning from a linear to a circular economy would be hugely beneficial to all individuals in the long term.
A circular economy in short is the process of eliminating waste, keeping products and materials in use or circulation, and regenerating natural systems and processes. Circular economical systems enable individuals and businesses to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss by reducing the volume of resources, waste/pollution and greenhouse gas emissions emitted. In order to begin filtering this more sustainable approach through into construction work, and essentially ‘building green’, significant changes must be made. It has been suggested that utilising certain structural designs may present an opportunity to minimise carbon production. For example, piled foundations tend to have a more favourable footprint when compared to deep trench foundations. Similarly, lean design methods can help project managers to avoid ‘over-engineering’ and an associated reduction in the materials used. In addition to using greener methods and materials, it’s important to also consider the environmental impact of the machinery used on site. Due to specific legislation, which vary by geographical location, there may be site limitations which restrict the amount of carbon emissions or noise levels able to be emitted. But using machinery with Euro stage four engines or above will reduce the overall fuel input as well as the carbon emissions output, whilst providing the high-power performance required.
So, what are Piling Equipment Ltd doing to help curb climate change? To ensure our operations remain as sustainable as possible, we’re committed to executing the following practices in order to reduce our consumption of raw materials and reduce our overall environmental footprint.
Workshop: A key company function where we are continuously striving to operate as ‘greenly’ as possible is our workshop. The majority of our workshop-based services focus on closing the loop by making sure that machinery repairs, general rig servicing, and maintenance checks are accessible to all. A core operational area within our workshop is our repair and refurbishment service. These reconditioning processes enable our engineers to give a new lease of life to various rigs and other pieces of piling equipment. By repairing and reconditioning old machinery, enables our team to utilise the existing materials which aids the circular economy model by closing the loop. Often, where appropriate, repairing and refurbishing equipment will cost significantly less than replacing it like for like. Especially in the case of drilling accessories which may be seen as more disposable, repairing or modifying a drilling consumable, such as an auger, will have less of a financial and environmental impact than buying brand new. Moreover, taking care of your piling machinery and foundation drilling equipment will enable it to work better for longer, allowing you to get the most out of your machine and simply put, more bang for your buck.
Sales: Focusing on our range of new machinery and equipment, in order to combat overproduction and unnecessary waste, we like to employ lean manufacturing processes where possible. This procedure ensures optimal equipment stock levels, which not only reduces the material output but also decreases the lead time for the customer. Moreover, we like to ensure that the engines incorporated within our machines are a more sustainable and durable option. The majority of the engines used in our machines have been manufactured to meet the highest level of environmental compliance. By opting to utilise Euro stage four (and above) engines in our machines, we guarantee that the rig will not only have an unrivalled power output but will also be more fuel efficient and therefore more economical in the long run. Furthermore, by using greener engines will help eradicate the need for inordinate maintenance and material usage, as well as being a more environmentally friendly and sustainable option.
In addition to selling new machinery, we also have a diverse collection of second-hand and reconditioned machinery and equipment available for international purchase. Our selection of used rigs includes those which have been refurbished to look, and work, as new, as well as ex-demonstrators. Purchasing used machinery can be advantageous, especially when it comes down to economic and environmental factors.
Hire: In addition to servicing and reconditioning our client’s machinery, our engineers routinely maintain and look after our hire fleet to ensure the equipment is safe to use and always working at its optimum. Furthermore, due to the number of working hours our rental rigs undertake, ensuring they are always well maintained will enabled our hire rigs to be utilised by more clients for a longer time period. This ethos ensures the lifespan of our rigs is prolonged, enabling the cost per use to decrease and essentially offsetting the carbon required for the initial manufacturing. Like any machinery, conducting regular maintenance checks will increase the products’ lifespan, improve its performance, and increase its longevity.
Here at Piling Equipment Ltd we think it’s important to be transparent in all aspects of our business. Although nobody’s perfect, we’re proud to be implementing the necessary changes which will enable us to continue serving the piling community for many years to come. To browse our current range of new and used piling machinery and drilling equipment/accessories, download a copy of our latest catalogue, or contact our sales team today.