Since contractors are responsible for executing the plans and specifications created by architects and engineers, sustainability considerations play a vital role in achieving project success. Contractors who actively collaborate with the project team to prioritize sustainability can provide clients with not only a finished project that meets immediate needs but also one that is environmentally responsible and economically advantageous over the long term. When contractors utilize sustainable construction practices such as minimizing waste on the job site, they typically save their clients’ money while minimizing environmental impacts and providing enhanced goodwill to the surrounding communities.

As an added bonus, contractors who embrace sustainability not only ensure project success but also position themselves as leaders in an industry that is moving towards greater environmental consciousness.



General contractors are an integral part of the built environment, constantly adjusting to shifting priorities as the landscape changes. GCs play a crucial role in understanding and reducing embodied carbon as emissions from this phase of a building or material’s life cycle are wholly accounted for in the overall project or material’s footprint. GCs are empowered to prioritize carbon mitigation in their processes through operational efficiencies, technology integration, and waste reduction. For materials, contractors can champion performance-based specifications and prioritize materials with lower embodied carbon throughout their selection process.



GCs oversee the physical implementation of the planning and design solutions that the architect and specifiers chose in the earlier stages of a project, particularly around energy efficiency systems. The GCs main job is to validate the final system performance for peak efficiency and proper installation as well as ensure a proper transition to the building owners. Only through educating the building operators after handing over the keys, will the owners/operators be able to maximize energy performance as planned in the design phase and as testing during construction.



General contractors are a key operator in the reduction of waste. The obvious role GCs play in waste reduction is through the physical reduction of waste on a building site, but this can take many forms. From reuse strategies, product procurement, actual waste diversion, to even education, general contractors are playing more and more of the linchpin role in the building construction and material waste conversation.  



The GC’s role is to ensure that their practices are aligned with the goals of the project where water is concerned. If the GC is allowed to substitute materials during construction, it’s important that they follow the same guidelines as specifiers. They should give preference to WaterSense labeled products when available, and generally focus on minimizing the use of potable water wherever possible in the construction phase and future operational phase.