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The term “sustainability” has been at the forefront of discussions in the construction industry for years. But around the state and here in Detroit, the practical implications and benefits of sustainable development continue to evolve. That’s due both to technological advancements as well as the fact that individuals and companies have become more sophisticated when talking about and adopting sustainable practices. 

As an example, instead of sustainability efforts driven almost entirely by LEED certification, companies like Rockford Construction are now holistically examining each individual project to determine the most efficient development plan from start to finish.

Every new build or rebuild strategy should now include an overarching sustainability theme with the goal of not only using the most efficient equipment throughout construction, but ensuring equipment and technology are used correctly long after the bulldozers and cranes are gone. 

While it’s important to build responsibly and be good stewards of the environment during the construction phase of a project, it is even more pivotal to the bottom line to ensure that good operational systems are put in place and run efficiently. About one third of the total cost of building ownership is in the development itself. The remaining two thirds of the cost comes through management and maintenance of the property – meaning efficient operation can have twice the impact of efficient building and design. 

That’s one reason why construction professionals are increasingly designing fully integrated smart buildings, both for new construction and when converting old structures.

By streamlining infrastructure to automatically control a building’s operations like security, lighting, heating and cooling, owners and operators have more control and more access to data, meaning they have insights at their fingertips to make informed, sustainable decisions. Through smart building technology, resources can be monitored more closely and systems can be assessed for efficiency on a regular basis with the touch of a button.

As technology and best practices in building and design continue to evolve, construction professionals need to remain educated about the impact of sustainable development. We are confident that Rockford Construction – and others like us – will continue to adapt and progress, remaining at the forefront of the industry as champions for sustainable practices from groundbreaking to grand opening and beyond.  

Shane Napper, president of construction for Rockford Construction

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