If you’re in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, it’s becoming increasingly important for you to become educated on green initiatives and green building products. Consumers and investors in the industry are making more decisions based on sustainability. Large shifts are happening that are affecting competition in the marketplace.

A major sustainability trend coming on scene that will affect the entire industry is a new proposed rule by the US Securities and Exchange Commission that would require detailed reporting from public companies about their climate-related risks, embodied carbon, greenhouse gas emissions, and plans to achieve net-zero emissions.

The expectation is that, if the rule goes into effect, it will put a strain on the supply chain, affecting building products, contractors, architects, and others in the AEC industry. Even if the rules don’t go into effect this year, a signal is being sent that eventually these things must be done to meet climate agreements the US has signed onto. Many believe that the ramifications will affect everyone – all industries and all professions.

Products with low embodied carbon reportedly make a positive difference in emissions, for example wood instead of plastic. Achieving sustainability objectives based on embodied carbon relies on connecting the goals to practical reality. 

Another trend that will affect the industry will be brought on by the 2021 Infrastructure Investment Act (IIJA). The IIJA specified that the iron, steel, construction materials, and manufactured products used on construction projects receiving federal funds must be EPA BABA (build America, buy America) certified.

Sustainability efforts have the potential to make life easier in construction, reducing waste and saving money through the use of reusable materials. It can be an intersection of ecology, construction and statistics, and it involves products that many feel are worth making and worth buying.

Aiming for sustainability solutions can reduce the overage of materials needed on projects through better quality control. With improved craftsmanship of sustainable materials, more quality is brought to the supply chain. Materials can be sourced from companies that are doing the right things with quality products.

There are so many things on a jobsite that are needed for the job to go well. It’s a bonus when contractors do not have the extra burden of worrying about the quality of materials. Craftsmanship in the manufacturing of materials helps ensure the job goes well, and the waste stream is reduced.

Innovators are people willing to go outside their comfort zone to try new things. Even if those things don’t work, they help innovators grow and improve. You should be willing to break things, because that’s how we learn what works. When companies operate in an environmentally friendly way, their business can thrive. Even small adjustments and improvements add up.

The ultimate result is a connection with a sustainable environment. When companies do their job better and become more environmentally friendly, it is a win win scenario.

Bridging the Gap Podcast, episode 176 with guest Britta Teller "Sustainability Is Now in the Spotlight"​

Tune in to episode 176 of Bridging the Gap podcast with guest Britta Teller, who explains her experience with the intersection of ecology, construction and statistics. 

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