As modern societies become increasingly conscious of climate change, businesses, both big and small, are trying to reduce the greater impact it has on the environment. In order to tackle global warming, it only makes sense for those with an environmental conscience to adopt planet-friendly practices in the office, as well as at home.
Project management consultants can play a big role in enabling developers to embrace new-age techniques that promote sustainable development. Traditionally, the role of the project manager involved planning, preparing, scheduling, and monitoring the construction. Since there are numerous agencies involved, it is also the job of a project manager to coordinate the work with numerous agencies and stakeholders and make sure that the project gets delivered on time and within the approved budget.
With the world moving towards environmentally friendly construction, project managers will have to push for minimising waste and maximising reuse.
Environmentalism And Sustainability
PMI Global Congress – North America, Professor Arvinder P.S. Loomba shared a famous sustainability framework. Citing a 2006 paper from the World Conservation Union Council, Loomba shares the model, commonly known as the three pillars of sustainable development. As per this model, environmentalism is simply one part of sustainability. To ensure that all aspects of sustainability are factored in, it is important to engage a project manager in the initial stages.
Another big change that project managers can drive is in terms of energy savings. Since the mid-20th century, the main mode for supplying cooling and ventilation to people in indoor environments has been through central air conditioning systems. Structures or buildings of all types are one of the biggest sources of CO2 emissions. According to the World Green Building Council, the lighting, heating, and cooling of buildings are responsible for around 28 percent of global CO2.
In order to reduce the load capacity and cut down on CO2 emissions, the project manager and designers can make provisions for natural ventilation and increase daylighting. This, along with the intent to make sensible choices such as properly turning off electrical office equipment or bulbs and fans at home when they are not in use, can go a long way in cutting down on electricity consumption. From lighting to laptops, coffee machines to phone chargers, the savings can add up.
Last year, researchers in the US came out with a new type of white paint that has the potential to cool buildings and reduce the reliance on air conditioning. In a study, the new product was able to reflect 95.5 percent of sunlight and reduce temperatures by 1.7 C compared to ambient air conditions. The engineers involved have stated that the impact is achieved by adding different-sized particles of calcium carbonate. Project managers are well aware of innovative and cost-effective ideas and can incorporate them.
Recycling Our Way To A Better Future
Waste disposal methods have also been pertinent in incorporating sustainability into our everyday lives. Recycling serves to transform the waste into products of its own genre through industrial processing. Paper, glass, aluminium, and plastic are commonly recycled. It is environmentally friendly to reuse the waste instead of adding it to nature. However, processing technologies tend to be expensive.
Tackling Air Pollution
On the other hand, air pollution is another factor that has been drastically causing climate change all over the globe. Daily activities by the people largely contribute to this. The best way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual sources of pollution or reduce their emissions. Environmentalists have long suggested that sources that contain asbestos, can be sealed or enclosed; others, like gas stoves, can be adjusted to decrease emissions. In many cases, source control is also a more cost-efficient approach to protecting indoor air quality than increasing ventilation because increasing ventilation can increase energy costs.
If involved at the right time, project managers can look into the finer intricacies and develop projects that are constructed with environmental, social, and economic aspects in mind.