Chile and Argentina

How making construction greener could get cheaper

Bnamericas Published: Friday, August 05, 2022
How making construction greener could get cheaper

Even medium-sized construction companies in Latin America should have the financial capacity to invest in circular economy solutions, which would also improve their efficiency and reduce costs, according to Spanish research and technological development center Tecnalia.

“It doesn’t have to require high capex,” Tecnalia’s head researcher Iñigo Vegas told BNamericas during a webinar when asked if Latin America’s macroeconomic conditions allow for construction firms to adopt technologies oriented towards sustainability. 

Many construction firms in the region are dealing with increasing supply costs, especially in Argentina, where firms have said that suppliers will not sell to them until prices stabilize, and Chile, where infrastructure investment is expected to drop this year because of inflation.

Chilean construction firms will also be legally required to manage their own waste, including debris.

Despite these conditions, Vegas said digital solutions should be easily implemented at a local level, which would allow for better materials, energy and resource management, which in turn would mean faster execution and lower costs.

The webinar on construction sustainability was held by Uruguay’s construction chamber CCU.

Among the solutions presented by Tecnalia are digital platforms for waste management, blockchain traceability tools and simulation software.

Regarding the last of those, Tecnalia project engineer Antonio Garrido said the programs would not only facilitate forecasts of how long construction will take, but also how much waste will be produced and how much energy will be consumed, preventing cost overruns during the design phase.

When BNamericas asked how much a medium-sized company would need to invest to implement the solutions, Garrido said that Tecnalia is offering some simulation platforms for free.

“There are more and more software tools that are open access, but there has to be technicians who understand these solutions and who can actually use this software,” he said.  

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