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Ten quick wins

Energy consultant Sustain Lincolnshire has come up with ‘ten quick wins’ to cut costs, save energy and streamline production.

There are many resource efficiency initiatives that can be undertaken in construction. These can lead to additional benefits other than just cost.


Energy consultant Sam Jones of Sustain Lincolnshire developed the ten quick wins plan to help construction companies cut back on energy useage. The suggestions highlight areas where improvements could be possible with relatively little effort and quick pay back times. In general, these actions would represent the first steps in reducing environmental impact and further improvement will be possible through the development and implementation of a more comprehensive environmental management plan.

Ten quick wins:

Segregate waste
1. Segregation of waste is important to maximise recycling and reduce costs associated with waste disposal. Make it easy for site staff to segregate their waste by grouping the different skips together so that waste isn’t thrown in the nearest skip. Label skips and reinforce the message through induction training and tool box talks.

Reduce fuel consumption
2. Factor in fuel consumption when hiring and purchasing plant. Even a small reduction in fuel consumption can lead to a massive saving over the life of a piece of plant or project. Plant manufacturers have recognised this and are investing heavily in reducing fuel consumption.

3. Switch off plant when not in use. As well as saving fuel, money and time associated with refuelling, it also reduces noise and therefore safety and nuisance issues. Industry and government have teamed up to make reducing energy consumption a priority. More here

Reduce water use
4. Build balancing ponds and drainage lagoons first and block the outflow collecting site surface water for re-use during construction.

Store materials carefully
5. Consider how materials will be stored within the compound. Fragile materials such as plasterboard should be located in areas where the risk of accidental damage from impact is lowest.

Standardise design to avoid waste
6. Try to influence design so standard sized components can fit within need for cutting ie, ensuring wall sizes accommodate standard block and plasterboard sizes. More here

Use recycled products
7. Recycled aggregates can be excellent for lower quality applications ie sub-base, pipe bedding ad capping. Consider the use of secondary aggregates – waste materials generated by other industries and processes ie, colliery spoil. More here

8. Building products are increasingly being made from recycled materials. More here

Use pre-fabricated components
9. Using prefabricated materials avoids the need to manufacture components on site reducing waste associated with offcuts. reducing the need for wet trades on site and reducing the use of hazardous materials on site. Prefab isn’t just for modular buildings, small products such as headwalls can also be prefabricated.

Use non-hazardous products
10. Avoid using hazardous products. Their disposal carries a premium in terms of waste management and reducing their use reduces risk of operative exposure and pollution.

Sustain Lincolnshire is a project offering free support to help small and medium sized businesses introduce environment management systems. Energy consultants work with qualifying companies to identify areas where they can save money through reduced energy consumption with the knock on effect of a reduced environmental impact.

www.pect.org.uk/sustain