For buildings and structures, material selection, energy conservation methods and good water efficiency are important parts to consider when thinking of sustainability. However, thoughts about what could be considered a sustainable foundation are often overlooked (or don’t go much “deeper” than costs or what LEED points it can qualify for). Let's explore how CHANCE helical piles effect the environment, economy, and society to create a more holistic view of what it means to be sustainable.
Here are a few of the product-specific sustainable topics for helical piles.
Direct impact of Helical Piles on sustainability
- Material and Manufacturing. (Environment)
From a material perspective, Helical Piles are made from steel which is a material that has a high recycled content (up to 100%) and recycling rate (infinite). In fact, helical piles can be used to help buildings earn LEED points due to material selection.
In addition, the energy required for manufacturing helical piles lends itself very well to using green/renewable sources (PV, Biogas, etc.).
- Transportation. (Environment, Society, Economy)
When comparing capability and capacity, helical piles weigh less and take up substantially less volume than other foundation technologies. The reduced volume and weight can have a significant impact on transportation aspects since less vehicles are required to get foundation materials to the job site. This difference can have a significant impact on life cycle cost evaluations that include engine combustion gases, roadway congestion, and disposal of vehicle wear items - not to mention the savings of the fixed costs that are embedded in mobilized equipment (or even worse NON-mobilized equipment).
- Installation (Society, Economy)
For helical piles, installation is quickly accomplished by a small crew and can be loaded immediately after being installed. This provides a significant cost savings for installation as well as reduced schedule savings, both of which impact the overall cost of a project.
Another aspect of installation of helical piles is that no soil needs to be removed. This eliminates even more vehicle mobilization as well as the need to find a suitable location for the spoils which is especially of interest if there is an environmental concern. Plus, in some applications, helical piles can be removed and reused – 100% recyclable with no waste!
By comparing the total sustainable costs of helical piles, it is easy to see that the above elements can be a great sustainable foundation solution…but wait… there’s more! Read more next week to learn more about going from sustainable into a capital “S” Sustainable community perspective.