Are Modular Restrooms Better For The Environment?
Today we’re going to look at some of the environmental advantages that modular restrooms have over site built. What do we mean by environmental advantages? For starters, the term of course relates to global as well as local environmental concerns. However, it can also extend beyond the “green” since there are many activities associated with on-site construction that can disrupt or inconvenience the local community in ways that can be just as significant as pollution itself.
Do Modular Restrooms Produce Less Material Waste Than Site-Built?
Yes, in fact, the most notable environmental advantage of modular buildings is that they have a massive edge when it comes to general resource efficiency- since factories are capable of lean production principles and other strategies to better control inventory. This is made possible by carefully thought out, highly optimized production processes. These same optimized conditions also result in a reduction in the incidence of errors or accidental damage.
In addition to efficiency, factories are also better positioned to reuse excess materials for other projects, thereby reducing waste. Some places estimate that off-site construction reduces waste by half. Others such as UK’s WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) found up to a 90% reduction.
Do Modular Restrooms Require Less Energy Use For Construction?
Yes. Factories are better able to control and therefore reduce energy use and emissions than conventional construction sites can due to the highly optimized production process. Construction Global magazine claims that this process can reduce energy use by up to 67%. Additionally, the onsite energy use for such things as power tools and site-wide lighting will be much reduced.
Which Has The Greater Impact on Transportation: Site-Built Restrooms or Modular Restrooms?
Modular generally has an edge here since the work is done in an enclosed factory and not in an open environment such as a park or neighborhood. That can mean fewer transport emissions and other transportation-related impacts compared to an on-site job that requires significant travel for workers, machines, and deliveries- as well as noise and air pollution at the project site. It’s been estimated that modular construction can reduce the total number of deliveries to sites by 90%, and decreased the average travel distance of workers to the site by 75%.
Additionally, this means that the surrounding area will not be encumbered by traffic issues and detours that could last weeks or months. Avoiding this will certainly make any neighbors happier and could have an added albeit unquantifiable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as there will not be significant detours causing motorists in the area to extend their commutes.
In some cases the difference in emissions can be small, if the construction company has a very short commute to the site and obstruction of traffic is minimal. However, when taking all cases both good and bad as a whole, modular construction generally comes out well ahead on average.
Do these Restrooms Easily Relocate or Adapt to Changing On-Site Conditions?
Many of them can. Unlike traditional on-site constructed buildings, modular buildings are built on a floor slab which gives them a relocatable nature. Sometimes a restroom is no longer needed in an area due to a variety of factors (ownership change, redevelopment, or relocation of amenities and attractions). In these scenarios a relocatable modular restroom could be moved and/or repurposed, therefore avoiding waste.
We can speak to this from personal experience. In the earliest days of our company, we built a prototype modular restroom building really just as practice. We would later no longer have need of the building and were considering destroying it. We found a buyer on Craigslist who was interested because he needed a motorcycle garage. Because it was a floor slab building, we were easily able to deliver the building to him where he needed it and he made the rest of the changes from there. Not only did we save a lot of trips to the dump, but the buyer saved having to buy new materials for his garage.
Can Modular Restrooms Potentially Avoid Ground Disturbance?
If you seek a utility-free modular building, it can be placed on flat ground without having to trench or disturb the surroundings. This could in some cases be highly significant if the land in the area is either too environmentally unstable to be disturbed or if it is a religiously or culturally sacred place.
Green Concerns Aside, Are There Any Other Environmental Differences?
We’ve mostly looked at the environment in the “green” sense, but not everything to do with the quality of an environment has to do with waste pollution. Noise pollution matters too.
On-site construction tends to be loud and obnoxious to neighbors, or to nearby visitors. This could disrupt their day to day lives, impact their businesses, or cause visitors to avoid the area until construction has finished. Since the noisy part of modular construction is done in a factory before it arrives, this will be a relief to those inhabiting the nearby spaces.
In summary, factory-built modular restrooms will generally have an overwhelming environmental advantage over site built. Not only is this a plus for the environment, but it can be a plus for your bottom line as well. An environmentally friendly place matters to a lot of people, and they will feel more motivated to visit places they feel are being environmentally conscious. Having a modular building with the environmental advantages it comes with can be a small part of a larger effort to satisfy your visitors.