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Be a Better Neighbor: How Construction Sites Can Win by Cutting Down on Pollution

You’re here to make things better, but do you have to make so much noise?  

The project owner is probably the only one who’s pleased when construction equipment starts rolling up on a site. If it’s a commercial area, nearby businesses start wondering how long the disruption will last. If the construction site is in a residential area, homeowners begin to grumble under their breath as they prepare for an uninvited suburban commotion.

Sure, you’re ultimately going to contribute to property values – but first you’re going to present ample opportunities for resentment caused by construction site pollution.

The EPA is watching

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) already has strict regulations for construction sites. You don’t want to run afoul with this governmental agency. Their latest strategic plan carries the theme of a “Back-to-Basic” agenda, leading with improved processes and adherence to the rule of law.

The Environmental Pollution Centers is an organization that seeks to raise awareness of environmental issues and how they affect the everyday lives of people. It advises that those in close proximity to construction sites can be exposed to air, water, soil, and noise pollution.

Here are ways construction sites can abide by regulations and keep the peace with nearby neighbors by cutting down on pollution.

Limit fuel usage

Burning fossil fuels causes one of the biggest negative impacts on a construction site’s surrounding environment. The horsepower needed to excavate and build has always been provided by equipment powered by gasoline and diesel engines.

This bathes your neighbors in unhealthy emissions like carbon dioxide and methane. Fuel usage often is one of the largest operational expenses for construction companies. Cost and pollution concerns are why a growing number of organizations in the industry are phasing out traditional fossil fuel-burning equipment and bringing in battery-powered replacements.

Battery-powered construction equipment creates zero emissions, making them safer for construction workers, as well. The elimination of fossil fuels makes battery-powered equipment far more cost-effective over time. These benefits work for you, but what makes the equipment your champion with neighbors, is the dramatic reduction in construction noise.

And, it turns out that noise – more than just about anything – is the top complaint Americans have about their neighborhoods. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that noise pollution does more than give us headaches and interrupt our sleep. It can lead to cardiovascular disease and other health issues.

If you have to use fossil-fuel-burning equipment, use offsite-fueling stations, or contain operations to a single area remotely situated from adjoining homes or businesses. It’s not just the emissions from burning these fuels that add to construction pollution. Use fueling vapor recovery methods to prevent air and soil pollution.

Decrease your environmental impact

This is in line with construction deadlines, which are already important. Institute best practices that allow you to sequence construction activities so that soil is exposed for only minimal amounts of time. The dust generated by construction sites is classified by the EPA as PM10, meaning that it’s a particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter. Research shows that particulates of this size can cause health problems ranging from asthma to cancer. Reducing exposure to this type of pollution definitely makes you a better neighbor.

Your temporary neighbors are definitely paying attention to what’s happening on the construction site. One of their top concerns – besides the inconvenience and disruption – is that you are going to be responsible for disposing waste.

The EPA reports that construction and demolition debris generated in the United States is twice the amount of generated municipal solid waste. Demolition makes up 90% of this waste. Recycle where you can and properly dispose of waste so it reduces harm to the environment.

Guard water sources

Diesel and gasoline, as well as chemicals in construction material, quickly pollute water. Soil erosion caused by excavation and construction can do the same thing. Closely follow EPA regulations to prevent water pollution.

Not all forms of construction-based pollution are obvious, but they can be reduced or prevented. In the case of noise pollution, this can be easily and efficiently accomplished by upgrading to battery-powered construction equipment. See our battery-powered construction equipment in action here.