Editorial: 12.20.2019

5 Key Takeaways from Greenbuild

McCarthy employees Nasim Daryaee, Dhakshan Potuhera, and Teresa Fechtel at the 2019 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo.

McCarthy employees Nasim Daryaee, Dhakshan Potuhera, and Teresa Fechtel at the 2019 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. Damian Lee (not pictured) also attended.

A team of McCarthy employees recently joined green building professionals from around the world at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Atlanta. Those attending Greenbuild have the unique opportunity to learn from industry leaders, expand their green network and experience the latest sustainability technology. The McCarthy Greenbuild team noted a variety of news, trends and technologies that are influencing the way we think about sustainable building. Here are McCarthy’s top five takeaways from Greenbuild 2019:

Project Delivery is Evolving

Modern construction techniques, like prefabrication and modular construction, are becoming more prevalent throughout the industry. These building methods can provide significant time and cost savings, make it easier to consistently implement sustainable practices and materials, and give builders even more quality control. Given the limited space on many project sites, especially within busy cities or active campuses, moving some elements of construction off-site reduces the probability of logistical errors while also improving safety. Today’s modern builder must be ready to expand the availability of these techniques to meet the schedule, budget, sustainability and quality requirements of their clients.

LEED Continues Pushing the Envelope

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) never stops raising the bar on sustainable building. New tools like EC3, which pares procurement methods and vendors to ensure carbon footprints are optimized, support Carbon Optimization, which is now a LEED credit. New pilot credits for Circular Products and Low-Carbon Construction Materials can be achieved through product selection – making it even more imperative for contractors to be involved during design to analyze if these credits are feasible and cost-effective for the project. 

Using Sustainable Building Materials

Today, builders are exploring the untapped value of using materials from existing resources, including choosing deconstruction over demolition. There are several potential benefits to deconstruction, including salvaged materials and opportunities to develop the labor force. Contractors involved early in the design phase are in the best position to advocate for sustainability-sourced materials or alternatives like deconstruction. In many scenarios, pre-selected materials can promote sustainability, minimize an overwhelming number of options and help clients make optimal material decisions for their building and budget.

Water Management is Improving

In his keynote speech, former President Barack Obama used his experiences growing up in Hawaii to explain why we all need to be more conscious about how we manage natural resources, including water. Proper waste and water management is becoming easier with innovative products and processes, and there is a large amount of water that can be used for non-potable purposes. New tools allow stormwater, greywater and mechanical system non-potable water to be recycled and re-used instead of constantly feeding new water to non-potable fixtures and equipment.

Sustainability is a Grassroots Movement

Traditional top-down approaches don’t always generate momentum. Instead, we must ask ourselves what we can do to promote sustainable building. Making small adjustments to our thinking influences others and can expand to entire companies or industries. You can also increase buy-in through a continuous focus on making sustainability cost-effective. As a green builder with more than $7.6 billion in completed green projects, we know firsthand it’s possible to create a culture of builders focused on solutions that are cost-effective and sustainable. 

Contractors play an important role in green construction and McCarthy is committed to environmental responsibility. Attending events like Greenbuild helps ensure we stay ahead of green building trends and deliver the best and most efficient sustainable solutions for our clients.

Be sure to let us know if you attended Greenbuild and share what you learned!  

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