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Modular systems: building a sustainable future

Posted: January 27th, 2017

In today’s environmentally conscious world, construction companies, contractors and designers are under increasing pressure to deliver sustainable building solutions that both manage and reduce the carbon footprint they create. In this latest blog from Securiclad, we look at the crucial role modular systems have in helping to create a more sustainable future.

Green ambitions
Construction industry targets – as well as the UK government’s green ambitions to reduce emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050 – means that many building designers are looking to reduce the environmental impact on their buildings. In many cases, modular systems can provide the answer, as they offer a sustainable alternative to traditional building methods.

Sustainable… from concept to demolition
As modular systems are manufactured offsite, the strict quality control systems in place provide a more efficient construction process. And with greater accuracy from controlled manufacturing methods, there is less wastage of the raw materials used, allowing sustainable practices to be embedded into the building project even before material manufacturing commences.

And, according to data from Arup Research, compared with a like-for-like traditional build project, the construction of a modular system uses up to 67% less energy.

Additionally, the very nature of modular design means that the systems can be easily dismantled when they are no longer needed and the modules relocated or refurbished for new use, reducing the demand for raw materials and decreasing the amount of landfill.

These features are particularly beneficial for the nuclear sector, which relies on having a quick and environmentally-friendly means of demounting structures at the end of a life-cycle or at the decommissioning stage.

Flexible build options
The vast amount of design options offered by modular systems enables truly bespoke building solutions that can be sized as required. The almost limitless design opportunities mean that modular build systems can now be designed to retro-fit into or over-clad areas of an existing building. They can also be used to construct a new build standalone enclosure suitable for internal or external use.

This makes them a good choice for data centres as they need the flexibility of being able to increase the capacity of systems when required as well as house new servers and other equipment. The off-site build also means that construction can be completed with dry materials, eliminating the potential issue of high levels of moisture being trapped in the new building, protecting the high-value equipment from being damaged.

Reduced operational disruption and site impact
One of the key environmental benefits of modular systems is that they are less intrusive when on-site construction is being carried out. There is reduced noise and traffic and the processes used are more energy efficient that traditional building methods.

And as on-site works are undertaken at the same time as the building modules are being manufactured, the length of the project is shorter – projects can often be completed twice as fast as conventional construction and the overall impact on a site environment is significantly lower.

Rapid and efficient installation makes modular systems a popular choice for hospitals and healthcare organisations, educational establishments and the retail sector; all of which need to be areas that are safely accessible to the public at all hours of the day.

Building a sustainable future
Modular systems are a greener, faster and smarter building solution that offer:

  • Lower energy use
  • Less disruption
  • Faster completion
  • Cleaner sites
  • Reduced waste
  • No wet or hot trades
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