A key to Great Lakes Construction’s continued success is Sustainability, that is, the long-term maintenance of Environmental, Social, and Economic well-being.
We feel that each of us is responsible for improving everything we do. We ask ourselves how we can reduce waste, minimize use of and then reuse or recycle materials, use more environmentally friendly processes and consumables, share our success with our communities, and improve the lives of those around us.
While we feel we do a lot of these things the right way, we have now formalized a Sustainability Committee, including Senior Management and members of all departments to further improve our positive impacts in these areas.
We have established goals, measurement criteria, and timelines in each of these areas. The Company must report its results to our Board of Directors at least annually. Performance in these areas is a factor in our evaluation programs. All employees must participate to make an impact.
Click here to view our sustainability projects.
To maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other environmental requirements of present and future generations. The Great Lakes Construction Co. is committed to making sure that we have and will continue to have the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.
We pledge to develop strategies that enable us to move toward sustainability while enhancing the value offered to our customers, including:
- Air pollution prevention plan includes policies such as 5 minute idle policy
- Tier 4 equipment fleet plan that includes the use of low sulfur diesel fuel
- Earth site balancing that utilizes innovative environmentally-friendly methods of dust control that conserve water use
- Water pollution prevention plan that includes the use of sediment basins, silt fences, spill containments, and in house SWPPP and SPPCM for every project. Mineral oil is utilized when working near water sources versus hydraulic oil.
Sustainability starts in the office. And that starts with our new ventilation system that has dramatically improved the indoor air quality at our corporate headquarters and more importantly, the health of our associates.
In addition, we revamped our lighting system, saving on both energy costs and dramatically reducing our carbon footprint.
We have also implemented these sustainability programs within the office:
- Car pooling programs at our office headquarters and construction sites
- “Buy local program” where our employees are staffed
- Great Lakes has been awarded a Tier 4 Diesel Emission Reduction Grant (DERG) from the EPA. This program allows for our Caterpillar engines to be optimized for productivity, fuel efficiency, reliability and service life.
- We are converting/buying natural gas office and construction vehicles when practical and available.
Since the implementation of the Great Lakes Sustainability initiative, we’ve been able to recycle the following materials in our construction projects throughout the region:
- Concrete - 140,000 tons recycled
- Soils - 10,000 tons recycled
- Oils - over 4,000 gallons of oil recycled annually
- Batteries - over 50 batteries and cores recycled annually
- Paper - shredded and recycled
- Printers - cartridges
- Steel - 6,578,133 pounds of steel last year
- Construction adjunct materials - epoxies, cure sealants
Continuous sustainability education keeps Great Lakes on the forefront of best practices within the civil construction industry including:
- Winter training
- Our crews receive training in sustainable winter maintenance services to promote safety, congestion reduction, system reliability and environmental sustainability.
- Our CPESC (Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control) professionals ensure that we develop and maintain quality standards and are certified to practice proper erosion and sediment control.
- Our CESSWI (Certified Erosion, Sediment and Storm Water Inspector) certified professionals ensure that we maintain quality standards in regard to erosion, sediment and storm water control.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) created INVEST for research, development, and collaboration on best practice documentation for sustainable highways in response to the needs and interests of highway industry members and other stakeholders. The principles of sustainability have been used in many other building and construction industries in order to demonstrate commitments to environmental goals and cost savings to society and organizational budgets. However, these principles have not been consistently and/or widely used in transportation project development and implementation. In light of these concerns and gaps, FHWA has taken the lead to develop the foundational work of a sustainable highways initiative. The purpose of INVEST is to provide best practice information to enable practitioners to incorporate sustainability into system planning, project development, and operations & maintenance programs.
The Great Lakes Construction Co. is incorporating INVEST sustainability practices in our highway construction projects including the Innerbelt Construction Project in Cleveland , Ohio where Great Lakes has earned the “Platinum Achievement Level”, the highest rating available for sustainability accomplishment.