Why is the use of modular construction methods a good green strategy?
Modular construction is recognised to offer the best strategies for construction waste management, material efficiencies and superior air quality (click here for a detailed report by the Modular Building Institute in support of this). These are key components to green construction and are thus reflected in the rating areas of the various green building councils.
Futher, off-site construction reduces noise pollution and also reduces various safety risks (like working at heights, injuries from movement of materials overhead etc).
What do those using modular methods say?
Included in the McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket Report on Prefabrication and Modularization are findings on the impact of using modular construction methods on green building:
"41% of users reported decreases of 5% or more in construction waste by using refabrication/modularization."
"Nearly 95% of non-users believe that prefabrication/modularization can lead to a greener construction site with a fifth reporting it can have a high or very high impact on createing a greener site."
"62% of the industry recognizes that prefabrication/modularization can help decrease the use of construction materials, with over a quarter (27%) reporting decreases of 5% or more."
"Nearly a third (31%) of firms find that prefabrication/modulaization also enables greener building material selection."
How do modular methods specifically assist your green rating?
In addition to our sanware and brassware with certified water saving benefits and the use of PEFC or FSC certified timber-related products in our joinery and flooring, the use of modular constuction methods facilitates the use of materials with higher levels of post-consumer recycled content than those usually found on building sites in South Africa. For example, boards and light weight steel with higher recycled content can be used.
Although pods (both stuctural, volumetric modules and non-structural bathroom pods) have not yet been used in a South African Greenstar project, they have been used extensively in the US under their LEED accreditation. The following table indicates some of the assessed areas under the US Green Building Council's LEED rating where using pods makes it easy to earn the available points. Given that silver status is accomplished with a point rating of 40, a total of 7 points will go a long way to securing an improved rating on your project. For a full 40 page report on the use of modular construction and the LEED rating, click here.
Click to go to next article: What is an Aquapod?