Posts in Green Construction

How to Design an Urban Park

July 28th, 2018 Posted by Environmental News, Green Construction No Comment yet

Parks bring people together, not only with each other, but also with nature. That’s why they’re an essential aspect of any successful city design. Cities are growing, and it’s becoming more and more important to ensure that citizens have access to natural, green spaces. Urban parks can provide exactly that!

So, how can cities create the best urban parks possible?

Design for People

At the end of the day, parks are for people, so design them with that in mind! Design a space that will complement people’s daily rhythms; make sure to consider seating, foot traffic, and bicycle routes. Parks should be beautiful too: trees, flowers, water features, and more can provide an idyllic getaway in the midst of busy city life.

Create a Place

Urban parks shouldn’t just be about design; they should be about creating a setting for people to enjoy, and a place that instills a sense of community. What will people do in the park? What kinds of activities can it support? What kinds of interactions will happen here? What are people looking for when they’re coming to the park? Who is coming to enjoy it? Make sure that your park includes elements of fun and functionality so it’s accessible to everyone.

Include Architecture

The ideal park seamlessly incorporates both architecture and natural elements into its design. People use parks as a place to escape for a while and have fun, so choose architectural features that can accommodate that. Picnic areas, shelters, gazebos, and seating can all help create a great space for people to hang out. Don’t forget basic needs such as bathrooms and garbage cans as well!

At Creed LA, our mission is to ensure that the construction industry in Los Angeles has a highly trained and professionalized workforce that support projects like urban parks that can benefit the community. It’s time to make cities more livable for their citizens! To learn more about our mission, contact us online or by calling 877-810-7473.

Causes of Ocean Pollution and Tips to Reduce and Prevent It

July 9th, 2018 Posted by Green Construction No Comment yet

Ocean pollution is an urgent and immediate problem. In fact, the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic enters our oceans every minute. This level of waste isn’t sustainable.

We live in an era of convenience. From the products we use to our construction practices, our habits are endangering our oceans, and it’s time to start repairing the damage.

Causes of Ocean Pollution

Eighty percent of pollution to our oceans comes from land. These are some of the most common causes.

  • Ocean Dumping: In the past, communities used the ocean for every kind of waste disposal: chemical, industrial, radioactive, trash, sewage, and more. As of today, regulations are in place that prohibit dumping of harmful materials and pollutants.
  • Nonpoint Source Pollution: After large scale plowing or heavy rainstorms, runoff often occurs. This runoff can contain pollutants from septic tanks, cars, trucks, boats, farms, ranches, and forest areas. Nonpoint source pollution is the collection of many smaller sources of pollution that deposit into the oceans.
  • Construction: From oil, paint, and solvents to construction debris and dirt, the construction industry is a major cause of ocean pollution. Land clearing causes soil erosion that results in runoff into the oceans. When new silt and soil enter waterways, they disturb the ecosystem by turning the water turbid, restricting sunlight, and destroying aquatic life.
  • Single-use plastics: Our oceans are drowning in plastic. Every year, around 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans. This plastic is harmful for the wildlife and the ecosystems in the ocean. In fact, researchers have found plastic in the majority of fish they have examined, including everything from tiny molluscs like mussels to large predators like sharks.

Strategies to Reduce and Prevent Ocean Pollution

One of the best ways to reduce and prevent ocean pollution is to generate less waste. A land planning and design approach that considers the effects of runoff can help to reduce pollutants entering the oceans from construction; this includes implementing rain gardens and permeable surfaces to redirect sediment back into the soil. Recycling plastics and reducing our dependence on single-use items like plastic bags, straws, cups, and packaging can help ensure that these products never reach the oceans, as well.

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 and the environment. Contact us online or by calling 877-810-7473.

How Cities and Nature Can Coexist

July 2nd, 2018 Posted by Green Construction No Comment yet

As modern cities grow and expand into vast metropoles of metal and concrete, we lose our connection to nature. While there is certainly progress in terms of technology and growth, many cities are losing sight of what their citizens truly need. In order to foster healthy urban living, cities need to reconnect and coexist with nature.

Biophilic Design

There’s no doubt that nature is good for our health and wellbeing. Biophilia encompasses the benefits of human-nature interaction. Biophilic design fuses design with natural elements with the goal of improving human wellness and connection to nature. Water, trees, plants, and natural light are all real forms of nature that biophilic design incorporates into architecture. Whether consciously or unconsciously, people are distancing themselves from nature; biophilic design is a simple and elegant solution to help us to coexist with nature in our own spaces.

Urban Biodiversity

While biophilic design benefits individual homes and buildings, urban biodiversity benefits the city as a whole. Urban biodiversity considers which kinds of plants and wildlife can flourish in man-made environments. Human activity disturbs natural environments, but that doesn’t mean that plants and wildlife can’t thrive in cities. Urban ecosystems exist in many spaces, from large areas like parks to a single backyard. Understanding species’ traits is a necessary part of the equation when it comes to planning a biodiverse city. Plants that are native to the area will naturally thrive better than exotic plants. These native plants will also support native pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Creating spaces for nature within the city benefits both the people and the planet.

Space for Wildlife

When we build a city, we displace the plants and animals that lived there before us. It’s important to keep and create space for wildlife in our cities in order to restore balance and encourage biodiversity. Consider the impact cities have on the local wildlife: birds frequently collide into windows, bee populations are declining, and animals die on roads because there are no natural bridges for them to travel between natural areas. Cities need to focus on habitat-sensitive development to include wildlife in city planning.

It’s time to bridge the gap between urban development and nature. Who’s ready to get started?

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 and the environment. Contact us online or by calling 877-810-7473.

Sustainable Building Materials

June 21st, 2018 Posted by Environment, Green Construction No Comment yet

What does it take for architecture to be sustainable? It’s not just vehicles that contribute to pollution; buildings consume 20-50% of physical resources and produce emissions long after construction. Sustainable architecture includes both the use of resources in construction and their environmental impact.

Benefits of Sustainable Materials

  • Longevity: Sustainability is meant to make things last. Therefore, sustainable building materials are not only environmentally friendly, but also long-lasting.
  • Energy saving: Sustainable manufacturing involves using fewer resources to create building materials, which saves energy. Additionally, many sustainable materials are also energy efficient.
  • Waste reduction: Many sustainable materials use reclaimed, recycled, or long-lasting materials.

Green Building Materials

  • Solar tiles: Regular roof shingles exist to protect your home from the elements, but don’t do anything with any of the energy they absorb. Solar tiles do both: they protect your home while converting solar energy into power for your home.
  • Sustainable concrete: Concrete is responsible for 7-10% of global CO2 emissions. Sustainable concrete can include recycled materials that would otherwise have gone to waste. Similarly, grasscrete involves laying concrete with space for plant life, which reduces the material need as well as improving stormwater absorption and drainage capabilities. Hempcrete is another sustainable concrete alternative; it is a concrete-like material made with hemp fibers.
  • Bamboo: Bamboo may be lightweight, but when it comes to durability, it’s actually a strong replacement for many heavier materials. It’s fast-growing, which makes it a great renewable resource that’s environmentally friendly.
  • Wood: You can’t go wrong with wood: it’s been a reliable building material for centuries! When people properly manage forest and wood production, they provide a sustainable renewable material that is less energy-intensive to process other building materials.
  • Mycelium: Mycelium combines biology, design, and computing to create a unique building material composed of mushroom bricks. This material is strong, durable, and water-resistant.

These are only a few of the many amazing sustainable materials available out there. So, who’s ready to build a sustainable future?

At CREED LA, our mission is to ensure that the construction industry in Los Angeles has a highly trained and professional work force that supports projects that have positive impacts for the community. Sustainable building materials are part of that mission! Drop us a line online or by calling (877) 810-7473.

What is Greenwashing?

May 28th, 2018 Posted by Green Construction No Comment yet

Greenwashing is the practice of using marketing to make exaggerated or unsubstantiated claims that a company, technology, product, or service is safe or beneficial for the environment. Companies often capitalize on lean, energy-efficient, or otherwise “green” business practices to differentiate themselves from competitors and attract environmentally-conscious consumers. However, if a company spends more time and money in marketing its purported eco-friendliness than on improving its business practices or reducing its environmental impact, it can be accused of “greenwashing” its public image.

While greenwashing has become a more common marketing strategy as the environmental movement has progressed, it is not a new phenomenon. The contemporary environmental movement was born as early as the 1960s, and has continued into the present day. For example, in December 2005 the New York Times reported that corporations including Ford, BP, and General Electric “appear to be spending ever-bigger chunks of their advertising budgets” on promoting an eco-friendly image. Today, the FTC maintains a set of voluntary guidelines for green advertising, but companies are not obligated to follow them.

As the consumer demand for environmentally sustainable products and practices has increased, more companies have chosen to align their brand with “green” values that can become the deciding factor when a consumer is faced with competing options. The construction industry is no different. While the buildings we live and work in consume one-sixth of all freshwater, one-quarter of world wood harvests and four-tenths of all other raw materials, and the construction and demolition of buildings produces 40% of the world’s waste, many existing criteria for the greenness of buildings currently go unaudited and miss much of the larger picture of environmental impact.

A significant part CREED LA’s mission is to ensure that the construction industry in Los Angeles supports projects that have positive impacts for the community, including for the surrounding and local environment. This includes working to ensure that our green practices go beyond greenwashing to demonstrate our commitment to a better environment. To find out more about how our non-profit organization works to build a better community and environment for LA, visit us online or contact us today at (877) 810-7473.

Building a Better Environment in the Construction Industry: What is the Role of Environmental Economists?

May 22nd, 2018 Posted by Green Construction No Comment yet

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the daily impact that human activity has on the environment, new schools of thought have been developed to better fit environmental considerations into the way we live our lives and conduct our business. Environmental economics has become a key method for businesses and governments to gain a wider picture of their effect on the environment and the people who live within it.

Environmental economics is the study of the financial impact of environmental policies. According to environmental economics, the environmental costs of economic activity are unaccounted for in most economic models. Externalities like environmental degradation, depletion of resources, and pollution are potential causes of market failure, where the market ends up affecting the environment in ways that are detrimental to society. The environmental economist’s role is to determine the costs and benefits of economic policies and their relation to the environment, as well as to improve the relationship between these two interdependent areas.

Environmental economists may study existing policies to gain a better understanding of their environmental impact, as well as recommend policies that take environmental benefits into account. For example, an environmental economist may:

  • Perform valuation of natural resources and identify methods to preserve or improve existing resources
  • Develop cost-benefit analyses of economic or environmental regulations
  • Identify and study externalities like pollution or erosion resulting from ongoing or proposed economic activity
  • Study the potential benefits of sustainable policies in land use and development, waste management, energy use, etc.

Environmental economists offer a valuable perspective for the construction industry, where everything from location to building materials to the infrastructure supporting a construction project can have a marked effect on the surrounding environment. With the help of environmental economists, governments and industries can make more informed decisions that maximize environmental benefits and minimize the degradation of the environment at the expense of society.

Part of CREED LA’s mission is to ensure that the construction industry in Los Angeles supports projects that have positive impacts for the community, as well as the local environment. Environmental economists play a part in helping us achieve this goal. To find out more about how our non-profit organization works to build a better community and environment for LA, visit us online or contact us today at (877) 810-7473.

What Are Urban Forests And Why Should We Protect Them?

May 16th, 2018 Posted by Enviroment, Green Construction No Comment yet

When it comes to sustainability and urban planning, not everyone understands the importance of caring for urban forests. However, they play a major role in improving people’s physical and mental health as well as bringing many other benefits to cities. 

What Is An Urban Forest?

Urban forests are a collection of trees that share the same space as cities, towns, and suburbs. Examples of urban green-spaces and ecosystems include parks, wetlands, river corridors, and street trees. Sometimes the trees that form an urban forest grow from remnants of past forests, but they can also be planted and cared by city planners. In fact, the demand for urban green-space professionals is growing fast because people are more conscious of the environment.

Benefits Of Urban Forests

Several studies have found that urban forests can provide many benefits that are not strictly related to environmental issues. While it’s true that trees can reduce flood risk and purify the air of urban centers, they can also lower stress and boost happiness. Green spaces are an excellent way to promote a healthier lifestyle because they encourage people to go outside and walk more often. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that there’s an economic benefit, too: Trees can cool cities and lower heating energy use, which leads to savings on energy bills.   

The Importance Of Being Environmentally Conscious

It’s hard to protect urban forests without the support of the population that lives in the same region. When people forget the importance of promoting environmental consciousness, governments turn a blind eye to unsustainable practices such as when construction companies decide to kill trees to create parking lots, and erect tall buildings without carrying out an environmental impact assessment. It doesn’t end well for the environment.

Do you want to help us create a greener future? Let’s build a better world together!

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 Land Recycling Can Help Save the Environment

May 3rd, 2018 Posted by Green Construction No Comment yet

It’s no secret that urban development can be a hazard to the environment. In some cases, the past activities that occurred in a space can end up threatening the local ecosystem, food and water provision, climate regulation, and recreation. Land recycling can sustainably redevelop and revitalize these areas to make them safer, greener, and livable again.

What is Land Recycling?

Land recycling involves re-using and revitalizing abandoned, vacant, or underused properties. Land is a limited resource, so it makes sense to recycle land instead of continuing to sprawl outwards, which further increases land consumption. In many instances, contaminated sites and properties are already in great locations that are accessible and close to amenities. These sites are great options for recycling, and there are many ways to begin revitalizing a property.

Decontaminating Brownfields

Some properties and sites such as old gas stations, dry cleaning facilities, factories, and power plants, etc. leave an environmental footprint that contaminates the site. These areas are known as “brownfields”. Land recycling can help revive these sites and stimulate economic, community, and environmental improvements. Decontaminating and recycling brownfields also comes with a number of benefits, including removing harmful substances from the area, increasing the property value, conserving land, creating jobs, and implementing new commercial, recreational, and green spaces.

Reclaiming and Implementing Green Spaces

Reusing neglected sites such as old roads, parking lots, or other previously developed areas or brownfields and transforming them into green spaces or public parks can have a positive impact on the environment. In fact, parks are an essential part of public health; evidence shows that proximity to nature can improve and support people’s health and wellbeing. By turning old sites into green spaces, cities can both improve the health of their environment and their citizens.

So, who’s ready to save the environment with land recycling and revitalization?

You can’t put together a successful land recycling project without skilled workers. 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 Car-Centric City: A Hazard for People and for Our Planet

April 4th, 2018 Posted by Green Construction, Transit-Oriented Development No Comment yet

People use cars to get to work. You use them to get to the grocery store, to do your shopping, to visit your friends and family. When they’re such an integral part of your everyday life, it can be hard to imagine life without cars. In fact, many cities are designed with vehicles in mind instead of people, which creates a cycle that’s hard to break free from.

However, car-centric cities aren’t doing us or our planet any favors. Between urban sprawl (which we covered in a previous blog), traffic hazards, and pollution, our reliance on vehicles is killing us.

Hazards of Driving

Did you know traffic crashes kill 1.25 million people every year, and disable millions more? Fast, high volume traffic is a hazard to bikers, pedestrians, and other drivers. While these hazards are the most obvious, there is a far more sinister hazard of your reliance on vehicles: driving for more than two hours a day contributes to a sedentary lifestyle and can be hazardous to your health.

Rush Hour Pollution

If you work a regular shift at your workplace, chances are you’re traveling during rush hour to get to and from work. All those cars on the road at the same time, moving at a crawl, emit fumes into the air. Where do those fumes go? Unfortunately for rush hour drivers, that pollution goes right back into the breathing air inside vehicles; in some cases, the particulate matter can be two times higher inside cars than along roadways. So not only is your commute harming the environment by releasing pollutants into the air, but it’s also harming your health and the health of other drivers.

Noise Pollution

Honking horns and sirens are common sounds on the roads, and they never stop. Many cities still have traffic well into the night, and this noise pollution can reach past drivers and into people’s homes and businesses as well. Unwanted environmental noise can actually increase the risk for heart disease, stress and even depression.

It’s time to start building cities for people instead of vehicles. Our health and the health of our planet depend on it.

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 Difference Between Green Design And Sustainable Design

March 30th, 2018 Posted by Green Construction No Comment yet

Sustainability is not an enemy of development, but it shows us that there’s a path to development without compromising future generations and harming the environment. While construction and architecture industries have adopted more sustainable techniques, it’s still common to confuse “green design” and “sustainable design”. Although green design is more related to environment concerns, sustainable design goes way beyond that.

The Three Pillars Of Sustainability 

First, before we explain the difference, you have to keep in mind the three pillars of sustainability: economic development, social development, and environmental protection. Here’s a brief explanation of each:

  • Economic development: It’s about providing incentives for businesses and organizations that incorporate sustainable practices. They can’t be sustainable if they’re not profitable.
  • Social development: It’s associated with the concept of social responsibility. If you run a business, you need to know how it impacts people’s lives, including your employees.
  • Environmental protection: Our planet is our home and we don’t have another one. So, we should take care of the environment to ensure the future of humanity.

Green Design

It’s easy to understand why some people think that “green design” and “sustainable design” are the same. Both address the pillar of environmental protection, like water pollution, indoor air quality, and waste management. However, green design focuses more on the present, instead of the future as it’s more concerned about near-term impacts.

Are you still confused? Let’s take bamboo flooring as an example. It’s a green material, eco-friendly, and durable. It’s likely less harmful to the environment than concrete flooring, but is not considered sustainable. A large portion of the bamboo flooring available in the world is produced in China, which means that it needs to be transported by ships and trucks to its final destination. Consequently, it contributes to more pollutants in the air. 

Sustainable Design

Do you remember the three pillars we talked about? Sustainable design can be distinguished from green design because of its long-term approach to environmental protection and its consideration of social development and economic development. Here, each stage of the design process is optimized to reduce negative impacts and to improve quality of life without depleting natural resources. When it comes to sustainable design, the main intent is not to build a structure, but to build a future. Ideally, it should help people envision a better world.

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.

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