Dowco has been part of the construction industry for over 50 years, and plans to be around for a long time to come. The only way that can happen is by embracing sustainable practices in industrial facility, infrastructure and building construction. Sustainable construction practices are good for the company, but more importantly, they are good for people, the planet and frankly, it’s just the right thing to do.
There are two key areas that Dowco focuses on to deliver its commitment to sustainability – materials and planning. Dowco has a strong focus on steel and mass timber construction, and the core of their business is dedicated to pre-construction planning.
There is a balance between construction materials and safety. While some materials may have a smaller environmental footprint, they are entirely ineffective to support a multi storey development or a bridge. Materials must be durable enough to sustain the impact of what they are designed for, so the challenge is to find the right balance between strength and sustainability.
For decades, steel has been a reliable, strong and durable material that can be relied on to create the buildings and infrastructure the public demands, and keeps them safe at the same time. Cities have nowhere to build but up, and steel is the only solution for any building over 12 storeys. Spanning a ravine or the gap between 2 shores requires strong, durable materials to ensure the safety of the traveling public.
Steel is highly recyclable, with over 98% of steel used in construction able to be reused. Currently, up to 93% of materials in steel construction is recycled content. Further, steel can be recycled over and over and over again, with no loss in quality. The industry itself is also doing it’s part to be more planet-friendly – over the past 2 decades, the steel industry has seen 29% reduction in energy use for initial manufacturing.
Wood has been used as a building material for centuries. The most common wood structures tend to be homes and small office buildings, due to the inexpensive costs and flexibility in construction. Traditional wood structures have two primary disadvantages – upon demolition, most of the structure ends up in the landfill, and wood buildings burn.
Mass timber is different. It is an engineered material, designed to be stronger than wood alone, and has much better fire resistance tendencies than typical wood construction. Because its strength comes from the adhesives used to manufacture mass timber, there is more flexibility in the raw materials required – you don’t need to cut down big trees to make mass timber components. And, of course, wood is a renewable resource that acts as a carbon sink, absorbing CO2 and emitting oxygen as it grows. That carbon dioxide is then stored in the building, sequestered in the timbers and beams created and treated for long-lasting and durable construction materials.
Steel or mass timber, the key to building sustainably is in the planning. Proper pre-construction planning reduces problems that can occur on the construction site, problems that lead to delays and wasted materials. Every piece of wood or steel not used has an impact on the environment, as there were resources used to create the material, but no value derived from its use.
Pre-construction planning is the key to sustainable building practices. Fabricating only what is required saves materials, time, money and the planet.
Dowco continues to promote and implement innovative means and methods in its service deliverables including systems that align with this commitment to sustainability.