The environment is swiftly rising up the political and business agenda. This applies especially in the construction industry, whose impact on the natural world is relatively huge. Ideally, we want to build things in a way that’s sustainable, using materials that can be easily replenished. This applies not just to large-scale construction projects, but to smaller DIY jobs, too.
Innovation driven by sustainability
Many large companies are investing in projects overseas in an effort to make their supply chains more sustainable. Innovations like the Forest Stewardship Council make it easier to see whether materials have been ethically sourced.
There’s also been a push to make the tools we use more environmentally friendly. A good case in point is the lithium-ion battery, which has gotten progressively more energy-efficient over the years. This makes the case for cordless power tools more difficult to resist.
Most of the time, companies begin their moves toward sustainability with the help of encouragement from regulators. You can think of the charge for plastic shopping bags drastically altering consumer behaviour. We all knew that it was bad for the environment to buy a disposable shopping bag each week – but it was only when we were faced with the trifling 5p charge that we began to change our behaviour.
As time goes on and sustainability becomes a bigger concern for voters, regulators in both domestic and foreign markets may start to become more stringent about what sorts of products and practices are allowed. Companies who want to get ahead of the game and stay there can put themselves at a huge competitive advantage while benefitting the planet at the same time.
Not so long ago, if you wanted to use a cordless tool on a construction site, then you needed one that came with a petrol-guzzling engine. Cordless tools today are, thankfully, far more sophisticated. There are no trailing wires to consider, and the level of ambient noise is a great deal lower. There’s also usability: when a tool is lightweight and powerful, it becomes accessible to everyone – not just trained specialist workers.
A great example is the cordless hedge trimmer. This is a tool that needs to be carried over long distances and raised well above head height (often with the aid of a stepladder). As such, the expansion and availability of lithium-ion batteries has been an extremely welcome development.
The explosion in this technology has been fairly dramatic at consumer level. One manufacturer, Techtronic Industries, reported an annual rise in sales of 71% in 2021 – and it’s only set to accelerate as battery prices come down, and as the global silicon crisis begins to abate.