Portable Buildings: A Greener Alternative for Construction

Green and reusable energy are a major focus in today’s society, but have you ever considered whether or not the buildings you occupy are good for the environment? That’s the question being raised by companies, governments, and organizations that have a need for sustainable and portable buildings.

Why portable buildings? Fabric structures, especially high-end ones, are becoming more and more common in both remote parts of the world and here at home. While they’re not generally noticeable until a disaster strikes and we see temporary medical facilities on the news, plenty of airports, hospitals, and even city event planners use portable fabric buildings in day-to-day functions.

Reduced Cost, Rapid Construction

A major benefit of using a portable structure is time. Ordering, shipping, and deploying a portable building takes a fraction of the time of hiring a contractor to scope out that add-on to your office or hospital. Some fabric structures are even built to current code, so ideally, you could leave it in place for decades if you chose to do so.

Durability and reliability are important considerations to take into account, especially because portable buildings generally aren’t cheap. Many manufacturers design their fabric material with cost in mind, therefore impacting overall quality. Others, especially on the higher-end, use insulated material that can stand up against the harshest elements on the planet, so do your research before you invest.

Environmental Perks

The environmental footprint is drastically reduced compared to a traditional structure. No ground displacement is required and buildings that are equipped with electricity and HVAC systems are typically engineered to make the most out of the power they have. Extreme climate portable structures are meant for use in harsh conditions where electricity may be scarce and the temperatures deadly, so they’re typically better insulated by design than traditional buildings in more temperate environments. However, the cheaper the portable, the less chance there is that it’s been designed with environmental conditions in mind.

With the aid of computer-aided design and long-term testing, many portable buildings have been able to produce results that show up to 67% more energy efficiency compared to traditional building structures and can even exceed building code for air quality. Portable buildings that use steel frames, heavy insulation, and even their own HVAC systems can achieve high marks for energy efficiency and environmental standards.

Last May, Investigate West conducted a study on the environmental and health costs of temporary classrooms in use at public schools all around the country. Budget-strapped school districts that experienced severe over-crowding turned to the cheapest solution to accommodate extra students and the results were largely negative. It’s an unfortunate look at an industry challenged to provide more for less, so many manufacturers are left with no choice but to cut corners and reduce construction quality.

No Demolition Required

Once the building has reached the end of its effectiveness or needs to be relocated, a quick and simple deconstruction can be performed and the space returned to normal. No need for heavy equipment, demolition, or excessive red tape. Many deployable structures can be either recycled or reused depending on their design, so use in a seasonal or temporary capacity or in a different location altogether is possible.

There are thousands of portable structures in use across the United States and hundreds of thousands more around the world. With governments and NGOs alike trying to save money while still providing sustainable structures, don’t be surprised to see more eco-friendly portable buildings out in the wild for years to come.

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