This is an interview with the head of the Colombian Council for Sustainable Construction, Cristina Gamboa. According to her, the construction sector generates 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, consumes 20% of potable water and 25% of planted wood (and I'm sure more of logged natural forests), 30-40% of energy, and 40-50% of all raw materials. So by being responsible with our construction practices, we can have a big impact.
It's very interesting for me to see what people in the Colombian construction sector are thinking about in terms of sustainability, because on my own smaller scale with the house I'm rehabbing for my family to live in, I'm trying to be as green as possible. We're recycling a lot of the demolition materials, building with raw earth instead of cooked bricks, I'm avoiding toxic synthetic substances in the construction, and the finished house will collect rainwater, recycle greywater, and perhaps have a small wind turbine or solar electric panel on it. I'm using some cement, which is a big energy-user, and some high-quality wood that comes from fragile ecosystems and sometimes warzones. In future projects, perhaps I can be more responsible with these last two points. But in general I feel good in terms of how we're going about the construction.
In the interview above they mention specifically the water issue, and what they recommend is what I'm doing. So I feel validated by that. Perhaps once Colombia has its own LEED-style certification, I can get my buildings certified.