The Rise of Construction and the Impact this will have on the Environment

It seems as if the economic downturn putting a hold on thousands of new construction projects has officially come to an end. In New York City alone, developers invested $20.5 billion worth of new construction in 2012 ─ followed by $8.5 billion more during the first five months of 2013.

Inc. recently partnered with Sageworks to report that privately held residential construction companies are growing at a steady rate of 17 percent, positioning them as one of the fastest growing industries in the country. Comparatively, in 2012 this industry had a growth rate of 14 percent, effectively rising three percentage points in two years.

While a construction boom may be a good sign for the economy, it has the exact opposite impact on the environment. Nearly half of all non-renewable resources expended by mankind are used in construction, effectively making it one of the least sustainable industries. It’s true that buildings where we live, work, attend school, and more are necessary for life as we know it, but our planet can’t support the resources needed to sustain the existing structures ─ much less thousands, maybe even millions, of new ones.

5 Shocking Building Statistics from the EPA

Buildings consume an incredible amount of our planet’s natural resources. Read the following five disturbing statistics on buildings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to learn more:

  • Energy Usage: In 2006, buildings consumed 72 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption. This number is expected to increase to 75% by 2025.
  • Carbon Dioxide Emissions: U.S. buildings are responsible for 38.9 percent of the country’s total carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Water Consumption: 13 percent of the water consumed each day in the U.S. is by occupants of commercial buildings and homeowners.
  • Health Impact: Americans spend an average of 90 percent of their time inside. However, indoor pollutant levels may be two to five times greater indoors ─ and even up to 100 times higher than outdoor areas.
  • Global Warming: The annual average temperature of a city with 1 million or more residents can be 1.8F to 5.4F warmer than surrounding areas. Even worse, during the evening hours temperatures in these areas can be up to 22F warmer.

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