The Environmental Impact of Construction Supplies in the Philippines

The Environmental Impact of Construction Supplies in the Philippines

The environmental impact of construction supplies in the Philippines has hidden costs. This is particularly apparent in the construction boom the country is experiencing which signifies economic development; with the skylines continuously changing and the infrastructure projects multiplying. This article dives into the details of the impact of construction to the environment.

A Resource-Heavy Industry

This makes construction inherently a resource-heavy enterprise. Traditional construction materials, for example, concrete, steel, and brick, all have a high embodied energy cost both in manufacture and transportation. This translates to increased greenhouse gas emissions, which are a major contributor to climate change. 

A 2020 study by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources found that almost 20% of the Philippines’ total greenhouse gas emissions came from the construction sector.

Furthermore, extracting raw materials for these supplies can have dire consequences. Limestone quarrying as a source for cement can actually lead to deforestation and habitat destruction. Forests bear an ability to absorb carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. Industrial-scale quarrying disrupts these natural filters to exacerbate climate change. 

Sand mining, another ingredient in concrete, disrupts river systems and aids in coastal erosion. Healthy rivers are important for retaining water quality and having diverse kinds of aquatic life. Mining sand disrupts the riverine ecology and increases flooding in the coastal areas.

Waste Not, Want Not

So much waste is generated from construction. Examples of these include discarded lumber, leftover concrete, and packaging materials. These pile up on landfills, taking valuable space and perhaps leaching harmful chemicals. Inefficient use of materials during construction actually compounds the problem. 

One study by the Philippine Green Building Council (PGBC) determined that a construction site may yield as much as 30% waste by weight. That amounts to millions of tons of construction and demolition (C&D) waste on landfill sites each year.

Looking Beyond the Horizon

The environmental impact goes beyond immediate concerns. Many construction materials have high embodied energy. This is the energy used throughout a material’s life cycle. From extraction to disposal. For example, the production of ordinary, everyday concrete is a process that makes particularly high use of energy. 

This implies that buildings constructed with such materials will have a greater carbon footprint over the entire life cycle. A report by the Philippine Chamber of Architects (PCA) estimates that buildings can account for up to 40% of the country’s energy consumption. The construction industry can significantly reduce the environmental impact of the built environment by using materials with lower embodied energy.

Building a Sustainable Future

Embracing Local and Recycled Materials 

Bamboo grows quickly and is renewable. This is a good alternative for framing and furniture. The country has a long tradition of use in building. Modern improvements of treatment processes have been done to increase durability. Improvements have been made for its resistance to fire. Recycled plastic and steel can also be incorporated. This leads to less dependency on virgin materials. For instance recycled plastic lumber can be used for fencing. It is also great for decking.

Energy-Efficient Production

Cement manufacturers are exploring alternative fuels and more efficient production processes to minimize their carbon footprint. One promising approach is the use of supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs), such as fly ash, a byproduct of coal combustion. SCMs can partially replace clinker, the most energy-intensive component of cement, reducing the overall environmental impact.

Waste Reduction Strategies

Better planning, prefabrication, and on-site recycling can considerably reduce construction waste. Prefabrication is the act of fixing building components in advance on some other different site, hence far off from the main construction site. This reduces waste during the construction process on-site and ensures efficient use of materials. 

Improved waste management plans can ensure proper segregation and recycling of construction debris. For example, concrete and asphalt can be crushed and reused as aggregate in new construction projects.

The Road Ahead

The Philippines may be a leader in sustainable construction by employing environmentally friendly materials, creating novel building processes, and implementing tougher waste management regulations. This will pave the path for a more sustainable construction business in the country. Sustainable construction depends on how everybody is concerted. 

The government can take a lead role by providing incentives that motivate eco-friendly construction practices and implementing stringent environmental regulations. Construction companies also have to be innovative and invest in new technologies and material development that are friendly to the environment. Architects can play their role by designing buildings that consume fewer resources and energy.

Lastly, consumers can choose to make informed choices by supporting companies committed to sustainability and choosing eco-friendly materials for their projects. By placing sustainability on top of the agenda at each phase of construction, the Philippines would be able to develop a successful, yet environmentally responsible future.

Key Takeaway

Construction supplies in the Philippines are needed to ensure that the country continues to develop. However, it needs to be regulated in a sense that it is more environmentally friendly. Aside from this, proper waste reduction strategies must be implemented to make sure that everything is maximized. There needs to be proper communication with the different sectors to make sure that the nation has a more sustainable future.