Talk it out: Communication helps foster sustainability

Talk it out: Communication helps foster sustainability

It should be easy to avoid, but we’ve all done it.

We work diligently on a project for hours, only to find out that our co-worker down the hall has been doing the very same work. That means one of us has just wasted our time, and we curse our lack of communication and collaboration.

An occasional foul-up like this might be impossible to avoid, but the less of them, the better. Newly released research from Concordia University’s Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering shows how municipal governments can save money by taking an analytical approach to reduce wasted effort.

Lifecycle costs could be cut by 33 percent and user costs cut in half, according to the researchers, who looked at ways to increase efficiency in the road and water networks of a town in British Columbia. The researchers compiled a database that inventoried road and water networks, and they came up with models to measure the impact of intervention and an algorithm that simulates thousands of scenarios to come up with an optimal work schedule.

The study asks, “Why fix a road today if it’s slated to be ripped up for new sewers next summer?” One of the answers they come up with is departments within municipalities tend to work separately and come up with their own plans rather than make plans that dovetail with each other.

Efficiency is a core principle of sustainability. It’s impossible to come up with a sustainable way to pave roads, to use the researchers’ example, if the pavement has to be torn up so soon after it’s laid down. Better to tear down the walls between departments than to tear up the pavement.

Communication is the key to efficiency. That’s why we place such an emphasis on communication at EnSite. Our plans are coordinated, streamlined and designed to eliminate overlapping and conflicting goals. That’s how we achieve quicker, budget conscious and ultimately more sustainable results.

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