Understanding the US Housing Crisis

November 30th, 2018 Posted by Environmental News, Los Angeles Construction Projects No Comment yet

According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of newly built, single-family homes dropped to an annual rate of 544,000 units in October. That’s the lowest pace since March 2016, and it happens at a time when a housing-shortage issue is slowing down the US housing market. In March, Business Insider reported that existing home sales were 4.5% below the market potential. Here’s what you need to know to understand the problem:

What is Causing It?

The law of supply and demand is one of the most well-known economics principles. In a nutshell, low supply and high demand increase price whereas high supply and low demand lower price.

Right now, the US housing market is experiencing a lack of supply and robust demand, which is upping the prices for existing homes. Higher prices mean that fewer people can afford these houses, which slow down sales.

That’s not the only cause of the problem, though.

Mortgage rates are rising, and existing homeowners that have mortgages with low rates don’t want to sell their homes and lose their prime rates. Consequently, it’s causing a housing-shortage issue in the United States.

Consequences 

Also, keep in mind that the home seller is also a home buyer. Think about it: People don’t sell their house to become homeless, they sell it to buy another one. If they can’t sell, they can’t buy and, therefore, someone else won’t be able to sell their house, too.

While the shrinking number of homes available keeps pushing up prices, the inventory is slowly rising again in the biggest markets.

Let’s keep an eye on what is going to happen in 2019. Here’s hoping for a recovery!

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard-working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA online or at (877) 810-7473.

How Circular Construction Is Reshaping the Industry

November 21st, 2018 Posted by Green Construction No Comment yet

According to the World Economic Forum, the construction industry is the largest global consumer of resources and raw materials. On the other hand, a significant portion of these materials are not used effectively. For example, in the United States, about 40% of solid waste comes from construction and demolition, which directly contradicts global efforts to create a sustainable world.

The good news is that circular construction is slowly reshaping the construction industry with sustainable practices that benefit the environment, improve people’s quality of life, and add a new stream of revenue for construction companies. Do you want to know how it works?

What is Circular Construction?

Before we talk about circular construction, we have to understand the concept of circular economies. The World Economic Forum defines a circular economy as “an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design”. In a nutshell, circular economies are very connected to the idea of sustainability and the 4 R’s: reduction, reuse, recycling, and recovery.

Circular construction is committed to reducing waste and maximizing the value of materials used in each step of a project. There are countries already discussing strategies to avoid disposal of resources that still have some utility and value.

The European Union is debating a goal to recycle 70% of all municipal waste by 2030, and to make it illegal to send recyclable materials to landfills by 2025. Construction companies will have to adapt to these new laws if they pass.

Benefits of Circular Construction

While circular construction is a radical change for the industry, it comes with a few benefits. Besides protecting the environment by reducing waste, it can help construction companies make extra cash. For example, rock and brick can be used for gravel or erosion control, and hardwood can be recycled as long as it stays dry. If construction companies find a way to make circular construction viable, they’re not only helping the environment but also increasing their revenue.

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard-working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA online or at (877) 810-7473.

The Risks of Natural Resource Depletion

November 14th, 2018 Posted by Environmental News, Green Construction No Comment yet

The world population’s growth, which leads to overconsumption, pollution, and deforestation, is depleting the planet’s natural resources. Unless we make a change, we’ll run into serious problems like water and oil shortage, affecting both developed and developing countries. When it comes to achieving a more sustainable world, natural resource depletion is a big issue.

What Causes Natural Resource Depletion?

Some people think that the Earth provides us with unlimited natural resources. Unfortunately, they couldn’t be more wrong.

Most natural resources are finite, and even the ones that are renewable can’t meet the ever-growing human demand. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the demand for water is expected to rise by 50% over the next 30 years even though many African countries are already suffering from water shortages.

Urbanization and overdevelopment also play a role in depleting natural resources. As cities grow and expand, fields are sacrificed to leave space for buildings, reducing green areas and destroying the habitat for many species. 

If the planet can meet the needs of 7 billion people, what can we do to prevent a catastrophic future?

Earth Overshoot Day

The Earth Overshoot Day was an initiative created in 2006 to raise awareness about the risks of natural resource depletion. The date falls on a different day each year, and it marks the point when humanity consumes more natural resources than our planet can renew.

In 2018, the day fell on August 1st, which means that by November we had already used the equivalent natural resources of 1.7 Earths. In 2017, the Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 2nd, which was great progress in comparison to 2016, when the date fell on August 6th.

The really cool thing about the project is that it tries to move the date to create a sustainable future. The website lists a few steps to achieve the goal and provides a footprint calculator to help people change their habits.

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard-working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA online or at (877) 810-7473.

What Are Net Zero Energy Buildings?

November 7th, 2018 Posted by Environmental News, Green Construction No Comment yet

A net-zero building is designed to produce enough renewable energy to meet its energy consumption requirements. These buildings are revolutionizing the construction sector because they push the industry towards sustainable development. Why is this so important? Energy use in buildings accounts for roughly 40% of our carbon footprint, thus reducing it would be incredibly beneficial for the environment.

“Achieving zero energy is an ambitious yet increasingly achievable goal”, explains the U.S. Department of Energy. Although it’s not easy to create buildings that rely entirely on renewable energy generation, today’s new technology and construction techniques make it more achievable than it was a decade ago.

With almost 48% of the energy in the U.S. going to residential and commercial buildings, zero energy buildings can lower environmental impacts, reduce costs, and improve quality of life. Many states and local governments are already discussing target goals for net-zero buildings.

While integrated design and energy efficiency retrofits are all valid ways to reduce energy consumption, people still need to change their habits if they want to contribute to a sustainable world. Energy conservation programs can be used to incentivize reduced energy consumption.

Most net-zero buildings do more than just produce renewable energy: They store energy surplus, too. That’s how these buildings remain sustainable even during peak times, when residents tend to consume more energy than the building’s generation capacity. Isn’t that cool?

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard-working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA online or at (877) 810-7473.

The Importance of Habitat Conservation

September 30th, 2018 Posted by Environmental News, Green Construction No Comment yet

In the history of the planet, several species went extinct naturally. According to one study, it would cost $76 billion a year to preserve threatened land animals. So, why should we bother with habitat conservation and the preservation of endangered species?

Why Habitat Conservation Matters

Whether you find animals cute or not, there are many good reasons to protect them. “All living things are part of a complex, often delicately balanced network called the biosphere”, explains the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The extinction of a species could potentially set off a chain reaction that ends up affecting humans. Also, biodiversity is very beneficial for agriculture because some animals and insects can prey on crop pests. Even some tree species are fundamental for our well-being because they act as environmental quality indicators, helping scientists measure air pollution and the amount of contaminants present in the soil. 

The Endangered Species Act

The creation of the Endangered Species Act, in 1973, was one of the U.S. most significant steps to contribute to habitat preservation. Today, almost 50 years later, it is still one of our nation’s most important environmental laws to prevent the extinction of any species. There are over 1,600 species of animals and plants that are either endangered or threatened in the United States alone. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, many recovery plans have been created to protect these species and their habitat. For example, the recovery plan for the California Condor recommends the development of captive-breeding facilities and further research on suspected environmental contaminants.

Habitat Conservation Plan

According to the section 10 of the Endangered Species Act, everyone applying for an incidental take permit must present a habitat conservation plan (HCP). An incidental take permit is required for activities that could potentially harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect any threatened or endangered species. For example, this type of permit is mandatory if your construction project will result in habitat modification that affects nesting or reproduction. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lists HCPs that are either completed or under development, so you can use those as a reference. 

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard-working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA online or at (877) 810-7473.

Examining Right to Light Laws Worldwide

September 23rd, 2018 Posted by Environment, Environmental News No Comment yet

Whether it’s peaking over the horizon on a clear autumn morning or shining through a window on a summer afternoon, there is something truly special about sunlight. In addition to providing the energy for the earth and all living things on it, sunlight is something to be enjoyed by all, regardless of whether they are spending time inside or outside.

When it comes to architectural design and construction, natural light is often incorporated into a building’s design for aesthetic as well as functional purposes. The question, then, becomes: does one have a right to light? Believe it or not, this is an age-old question when it comes to property.

What Is “Right to Light”?

“Right to light” refers to a building owner’s right to receive sunlight through windows, skylights, and other openings. Laws and regulations vary worldwide, but they typically apply to longstanding buildings that have maintained a certain level of illumination for many years. These laws often prevent new construction that would interfere with the amount of light entering a building with an established right to light.

Right to Light Laws Around the World

The right to light is an easement under English law. However, where you are in the world will define how the right to light question is answered. In England, you may even still see “Ancient Lights” signs marking points where the light may not be infringed upon. In Tokyo, sunshine has been deemed by courts to be “essential to a comfortable life.” In Denmark, their light laws have even impacted how windows are designed.

Right to Light in the United States

Within the United States, the question of right to light is addressed in more ways than we can count. Originally, the English law was adopted. However, in 1959, a Florida court struck down the right to light law.

Since then, each jurisdiction has adopted their own way of dealing with this issue. Some deal with it in terms of an easement. Others deal with it in terms of a legal nuisance. Since the photovoltaics of solar are so dependent upon proper lighting, some states use solar easements and solar rights to help define the issue.

Finding a Solution

In most instances, a proper balance can be found through a coordinated effort among the land developer, community, and individual parties involved. Even the trees need sunlight and must be factored into this equation.

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard-working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA online or at (877) 810-7473.

Erosion Control at Construction Sites

September 15th, 2018 Posted by Environment, Los Angeles Construction Projects No Comment yet

For land developers and other construction industry professionals, being a good steward of the construction process means considering and preventing erosion issues. Planning and implementing erosion mitigation efforts can yield big results.

Sometimes, erosion control during a construction project is statutorily required. In other instances, construction professionals focus on erosion control regardless of outside regulations. In either case, following certain well-defined steps can help to mitigate erosion at a construction site.

The Planning Process

If you are undertaking a construction project, ensuring that erosion is controlled on the site will be key to your success. Doing so requires careful planning to take several things into account, including the type of construction, the location (e.g. urban vs. rural), and the slope and grade of the land. The development’s proximity to waterways and riverbanks, and the amount of existing vegetation on the land also need to be considered.

The Implementation Process

At a construction site, erosion control should already have been factored into the management of the planned project. As in nature, erosion during construction is largely driven by two natural elements: wind and water. Specific characteristics of the project, namely where it is located, will also impact the amount of erosion that occurs. It’s important to remember that erosion control measures have both on-site and off-site impacts to consider.

Principles of Erosion Control

Erosion control does not have to be an expensive endeavor in order for it to be effective. Effective erosion management can best be achieved by understanding the basic principles of erosion control.

The principles start with increasing resistive forces and reducing erosive forces exerted by wind and water. Construction professionals should also utilize sediment control for cost-effective sediment remediation and limit soil exposure to water and wind.

It’s also important to reduce runoff velocity via grading and slope management. Topography should be modified with short, shallow slopes (where applicable), and erosion-preventative vegetation should be added to longer, steeper slopes. Finally, developers should regularly inspect, evaluate, and repair the site as needed.

Erosion Control Benefits Us All

Just like any other part of the project management plan, erosion control on a construction site should be planned thoroughly. Careful attention to some basic construction activities can help manage erosion for the benefit of the project and the surrounding community.

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard-working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA online or at (877) 810-7473.

The Environmental And Economic Impact Of Energy Storage

September 2nd, 2018 Posted by Environment, Green Construction No Comment yet

Many things have changed since Thomas Edison popularized the light bulb in the late 1800s. Whether for survival or comfort, our society relies heavily on electricity, and energy storage has become one of the most important technologies we have today. As we move toward a sustainable world, energy storage significantly contributes to set the foundation for cleaner and more renewable energy sources.

Helping the Environment

A few years ago, California set a goal to have 33 percent renewable energy by 2020. One of the strategies used to achieve that goal is through an increase in the use of energy storage technologies for solar power. The objective is to make the current grid system less harmful for the environment and more cost-effective. Because the grid system is oversized to serve demand peaks, part of the capacity is wasted during other moments of the day, but energy storage technologies can help fix this problem.

Economic Impact

Environmental awareness is not the only reason that energy storage is a hot topic now, though. Investing in this type of technology may open the possibility for restructuring power markets to make more efficient use of electricity while lowering costs related to peak energy demand. The decreasing cost of battery storage is considered one of the factors responsible for the growth of electric vehicles—and it should have a positive impact on other industries, too. Fortunately, it won’t take too long to see the benefits of all these energy storage trends. 

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard-working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA online or at (877) 810-7473.

Tips for Keeping Construction Workers Safe

August 28th, 2018 Posted by Los Angeles Construction Projects No Comment yet

Accidents involving falls, scaffolding, and ladders account for a significant number of fatalities in construction sites. Although these accidents are very concerning, most of them are preventable if employers and workers follow basic safety measures.

Fall prevention

According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of death in construction: 370 fatal falls were registered in 2016. Employers must implement effective strategies to prevent falls and protect workers. They’re also required to provide fall protection equipment and systems such as guardrails. This equipment needs to be inspected regularly by an experienced professional to ensure it’s in good condition. If you’re a worker, you can refuse to work on a construction site if it doesn’t have safety measures set in place.

Scaffolding Hazards

Scaffolds are another main cause of death on construction sites. These temporary work platforms are commonly used by engineers, erectors, and dismantlers among many other professionals. OSHA requires employers to train workers that use scaffolds to ensure they can identify hazards and take corrective measures. For more information, see the OSHA general requirements.

Ladder Safety

While extension ladders are commonly used in construction sites, they might pose a risk for workers if you don’t follow best practices. The first step to ensure the safe use of extension ladders is planning ahead to get the job done safely. This includes assigning someone to inspect your equipment, set up the ladder at the proper angle, and secure it to prevent movement. OSHA recommends that workers maintain a 3-point contact when climbing or descending a ladder to control balance easier. Don’t place a ladder on unstable bases like boxes and barrels—it might tip over and cause a serious injury.

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA online or at (877) 810-7473.

Construction Trends in 2018

August 21st, 2018 Posted by Environmental News, Green Construction No Comment yet

As world industries continue to grow and evolve, so too must the construction industry. In order to keep up with demand and global needs, new innovations and technologies are necessary. We’re seeing some important trends so far in 2018:

Hiring Initiatives

As the aging workforce continues to move into retirement, the construction industry is becoming desperate for workers. Construction work can make a rewarding career for the right individuals, so industry groups are trying to increase awareness and funding for trade school, high school, and middle school trade education programs to help create a construction industry labor pipeline for the future. These initiatives also involve combating the stigma that construction work isn’t a successful career path.

Technology

Technological advancements are making their mark on the construction industry. Wearable technology is rising in popularity for its ability to communicate instructions as well as track workers in the event of an accident. Drones are another recent addition to construction sites due to their time-saving and cost-effective abilities like site surveying. 3D printing is also becoming more popular; the technology still has some obstacles (cost and time) to overcome, but it has the potential to be extremely effective in the future. As these technological advancements continue, machines will be able to tackle jobs that are more dangerous for people, which should improve workplace safety and reduce injuries due to accidents and strain.

Smart Construction

Quality building materials last longer and are more efficient and environmentally-friendly than cheaper alternatives. In combination with streamlining the construction process to ensure efficient use of time and labor, green technologies like solar, wind, etc. become more accessible. Efforts to reach the Paris Climate Agreement have made zero and near-zero energy buildings a priority as well. We’re seeing more extreme weather patterns, including hurricanes, heat waves, flooding, tornadoes, wildfires, and more, so the construction industry is beginning to focus more on resiliency to accommodate for these hazards.

At Creed LA, our mission is to ensure that the construction industry in Los Angeles has a highly trained and professionalized workforce that supports projects that have positive impacts for the community. To learn more about us and our mission, contact us online or by calling 877-810-7473.

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