…there’s more! Foundations of Capital “S” Sustainability

Expanding the conversation on what Sustainability means beyond a product level, Brent Adams discusses the foundations of Sustainability in our communities.

Helical Piles Sustainability

A bit more obtuse than my last article, but definitely something to think about are the broader impacts that helical piles can influence when expanding the focus from product-specific sustainable features to a broader capital-S Sustainable community perspective…

Tangential impact of Helical Piles on Sustainability

  • Infrastructure Flexibility.

We’ve all driven through towns with boarded up buildings or driven down streets and said to ourselves “I would have loved to have been here in the heyday.” Traditionally, humanity has located communities near a resource or commodity that is needed at that snapshot in time. As that industry grows, the infrastructure to support that growing community is expanded. Yet, as the drivers for the initial industry change, the community is forced to look for alternative uses of their infrastructure in order to stay viable. These options are typically limited to the installed physical infrastructure that is in place and/or the funds that are available to modify the existing infrastructure to accommodate the new direction. Due to the ease of installation and reusability of helical piles, changes or modifications to elements of a community’s infrastructure can take place cost effectively. This could allow communities and urban planners much more malleability in providing solutions that “fit” the current needs of a society while also being kind to the environment.

  • Community Good (aka Generate Revenue).

I’m not planning on running for political office so I think it might be safe to say that “it’s all about the tax dollars!” Using helical piles can provide some significant time savings to a project which helps get the structure up and running sooner and providing benefit to the community around it. If the project is a commercial building, then not only do local residents benefit from the service the commercial space provides but also in the sales/payroll taxes that are generated.

  • Environmental Good/Economic Vitalization.

Installation of helical piles has minimal soil disturbance. This can be very useful in mitigating environmental impacts against community development, as well as provide some flexibility in laying out planned housing developments for younger and older populations.

The lack of soil disturbance is also beneficial for situations where contaminated soil issues may be present since there are no spoils that need to be remediated. This can help brownfields have a reduced impact on the economic footprint of a community.

All of these “tangential” aspects can have significant impacts on rethinking community development for the future for a more Sustainable impact.


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