How Sustainability is Reshaping the Construction Industry

This article excerpt appears with permission from BuiltWorlds Member EY.

The engineering and construction industry is facing increasing demands for decarbonization and environmentally friendly practices. New regulatory requirements will compel companies to disclose information about greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related risks. Industry executives must actively recognize and address these developments.

To better understand and benchmark the quality of disclosures related to environmental, social and governance across the engineering and construction industry, we conducted a study of the top 30 engineers and contractors identified by a leading industry publication and analyzed them across more than 10 sustainability parameters.

Among the key trends shaping the transformation of environmental sustainability within the engineering and construction sector:

Increasing regulatory requirements

Regulators are creating new requirements for the disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and climate risk data, impacting both public and private companies. This will require companies to implement new processes for collecting data and ensuring the data is high quality in order to receive external assurance.

Focus on circular construction

Circular construction is gaining traction from all industry stakeholders. It involves designing, building and operating structures in a way that minimizes the use of source materials, maximizes the reuse and recycling of components and extends the life span and functionality of buildings and structures.

Accelerating digital transformation in construction

Despite economic head winds, capital flows in construction technology (ConTech) stood steady at just under $5.7 billion in 2022. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, robotics, 3D and 4D printing, drones, virtual reality and augmented reality are enabling the construction sector become more sustainable across the lifecycle of buildings and structures.

Green construction materials and finishes on the rise

Sustainable and renewable materials are a hot topic in the construction industry. Renewable, recyclable or recycled materials are getting more and more advanced, which can substantially contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment.

Climate-resilient construction becoming a must

Given the rise in the number and severity of extreme weather events, companies are building climate resiliency into new and retrofitted construction. It’s estimated that $4.2 trillion can be saved by investing in more resilient infrastructure, according to the World Bank.

Read the full article from EY and request the study.

Erin Roberts is Global Engineering & Construction Leader, EY, and Jennifer Leitsch is Managing Director, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, Ernst & Young.