The construction industry is one of the most damaging industries to the environment, relying on more than half of all non-renewable resources available to mankind. It is, however, one of the foundations upon which civilisation has been built, with homes providing shelter and roads for the transportation of goods, services and people. It is not enough to consider the environmental challenges post construction, we must reassess the processes within the industry too.
According to the U.K. Green Building Council, the construction sector uses more than 400 million tons of material a year, attributing to environmental damage in a myriad of ways.
50% of the climatic change is accounted for by this industry, destroying natural habitats and undermining the natural equilibrium of ecosystems. Furthermore, manufacturing processes rely on materials such as steel and plastic that are immensely cumbersome on the environment. Additionally, the construction sector accounts for 23% of air pollution as manufacturing equipment are largely diesel based and not subject to the same strict regulatory standards as other machinery, emitting toxic pollutants harmful to public health and the environment. Moreover, chemicals, oils, paints and construction debris often pollute natural waterways, contaminating 40% of drinking water, killing aquatic life and damaging fisheries. Last but by no means least, demolition projects, disposing of metals, woods, plastics and concrete from construction waste accounts for 50% of landfill waste volumes.
There are some regulations already in place such as sediment control, soil stabilisation and the prohibition of certain pollutants being discharged into the environment by the Environmental Protection Agency. There are also some green initiatives too, such as promoting energy efficient materials and an industrial recycling program providing repurposing alternatives for demolition debris. Whilst these are a step in the right direction, it is not proving to counteract the damage this industry is posing rapidly enough.
These new on the market, construction lego blocks provide a solution that tackles the problem at the root. Simple, yet effective, these interlocking building blocks can be stacked to create a stable, sturdy and hassle-free build.
Gablok is an example of an insulated and safe building block that uses 2 main eco-friendly materials, Oriented Strand Board (OSB) and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) which are 100% recyclable and its assembly does not require the use of any toxic chemicals. Not only is this an innovative and sustainable alternative, it is also cheaper and much less time consuming.
Another example is Polycare, which utilises polyblocks made of Polymer concrete, consisting of naturally occurring sands and binder from recycled PET. This block uses 60% less CO2 emissions than conventional concrete and no water at all in its production. This brand not only has sustainability at its core, but empowers people to build their own homes in an affordable yet liveable way.
These lego homes are revolutionary within the construction industry, offering a sustainable, affordable and efficient alternative to our current practices. Polycare built a safe learning space for children in Namibia within one month, demonstrating the power this technology has to break down environmental and societal inequalities.