Green building is no longer just a catchy phrase used to signal the need for more environmentally friendly practices. Instead, it’s a standard companies across countless industries — and around the globe — aspire to in order to preserve the world’s resources while looking out for their bottom line. As companies continue to find ways to incorporate these standards into their everyday work, modular construction continues gaining ground as a go-to approach.
Here, Hunter’s blast-resistant and modular building experts wanted to take a moment to go back to basics on what modular construction is, why the trend continues taking hold — and the many ways it can benefit the environment.
What is Modular Construction?
Before we dig into the green building benefits, let’s first touch on what modular construction is. This approach involves building a structure off-site (in Hunter’s case, at one of our global manufacturing facilities), as opposed to building it from the ground up at the location that will serve as its final home. Once the individual elements (or modules) are completed, they’re transported to the build site where final steps such as minor field work, installation and commissioning are completed.
Modular construction offers a number of benefits in addition to the green building “wins”. Not only does it allow for quicker overall construction times, but the modules’ versatile nature makes it easy to relocate, expand or repurpose structures as operations see fit. Lower shipping costs and the ability to service even hard-to-reach locations are another benefit, while improved site security and less chance of OSHA recordable injuries also come into play.
Today’s modular buildings are incredibly versatile, featuring everything from multi-module configurations to custom flooring — and even blast resistance for use in industrial settings. They can look good, too. At Hunter, we like to tell people that if they can dream it, we can build it. Our past modular building projects include a wide range of outside-the-box ideas, many of which had never before been attempted.
What Role Does Modular Construction Play in Green Building Efforts?
There are a number of ways a quality modular structure can contribute to eco-friendly green building efforts — and not just during initial planning and construction. Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind.
- Modular Buildings Result in Lower Material Waste: Modular buildings are constructed indoors, keeping their parts and pieces protected against the elements — and resulting in less damaged material that must be discarded. In addition, excess building elements can often be incorporated into a future build, thanks to standard dimensions associated with modular construction. Even after manufacturing, because modules arrive at the build site nearly complete, very little waste is produced during final installation, erection and commissioning processes.
- Quicker Build Times Make for Less Energy Use: Because modular buildings are manufactured in a controlled factory environment, their builders can incorporate construction techniques and technologies that might not otherwise work in the field — but carry big benefits in terms of streamlining a project. Experts say modular construction is about 50% quicker than traditional building methods, while also reducing total energy use by 50%.
- Modular Construction Brings Less Impact to the Build Site: Streamlined construction results in less time construction crews must be on-site, and fewer vehicles traveling to and from the place the structure will call home. This results in less traffic and lower emissions, further lessening the impact on the build site and area around it.
- Modular Structures Encourage Energy Efficiency Long After the Build: Modular building construction is just the beginning of what should be a long and eco-friendly lifespan. Thanks to considerations such as energy-efficient windows and high-quality insulation which help keep indoor temperatures regulated, these structures can serve a range of operations while also conserving energy.
Why Should a Company Factor Green Buildings into its Operations?
While knowing the “how” behind modular structures’ eco-friendly benefits can help, it’s also important to key in on why they matter.
Of course, the main reason behind focusing on green building practices is the fact that it’s better for the overall environment. Traditional construction methods result in excessive waste, extensive energy usage and substantial greenhouse gas emissions, all of which can prove detrimental to the planet we call home. (In fact, the United Nations Environment Programme notes that construction materials account for about 9% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.) By putting added thought into the construction methods we put to use — and the types of structures we fill our operations with — we can cut down on pollution, ease global warming and create a healthier environment for the generations that come next.
In addition to the environmental implications, incorporating green buildings into a company’s operations can result in business benefits. Improved energy efficiency results in lower heating, cooling and electricity bills, for instance — and the financial impacts don’t end there. Many countries provide tax breaks, reimbursements and related incentives to companies that make an active effort to operate in an environmentally friendly way. Green building efforts can also open companies up to additional grants and financing options, helping them continue to grow their business.
Incorporating custom modular buildings into your operations can be a great way to keep work moving efficiently and effectively — all while taking advantage of environmental and financial benefits, too. Of course, it’s important to ensure you’re trusting the right builder with the work.
At Hunter, we recommend pairing with a custom modular building company willing to take the time to understand your unique operations and needs, to gauge what you envision for the project — and to work with you to create a finished product that serves you well on every front. If you’re interested in learning more about the many green building advantages modular construction has to offer, or if you’re curious to learn how we can help with your next project, please contact the Hunter team. Our modular and blast-resistant building experts would love to hear from you, and can facilitate work around the globe.