Emerging green technologies in the construction industry
When it comes to saving the environment, construction has significant responsibility and part to play. In fact, some studies claim the industry is responsible for over 50% of climate change worldwide. Fortunately, the industry is beginning to adopt more green construction practices. These are not only more energy efficient-efficient and sustainable, but they also increase the quality of new developments and can help boost profits for construction firms. Now, almost every phase of development is benefiting from the use of greener technology and more eco-friendly practices. Here are six top sustainable technologies reshaping the construction industry.
Traditional construction methods and materials have led to the build-up of toxic waste products that take centuries to degrade. Walls, insulation and even paints can all release toxins as they seep into the soil. By substituting these materials with biodegradable alternatives, such as organic paints that can easily and naturally break down, construction firms can limit the adverse effects of this toxin release on the surrounding landscape. Biodegradable materials can be used in everything from paints to walls, insulators, even building foundations.
Low/zero energy building design
Energy is another sector where environmental impact is significant. It’s therefore logical for firms to not only construct sustainably but also design buildings to conserve more energy. The use of wood, instead of steel or concrete, leads to lower embodied energy. Newer building designs can also lessen air leakage through the use of high-performing window and insulation while also creating better airflow. All of this is great for companies bottom lines as well since energy spend can be reduced over the long-term. That’s something that’s both good for the environment and businesses looking to lower their energy costs.
Rammed earth brick
Some of the best ideas are the oldest. That is precisely why some firms are drawing on a very ancient technique of rammed earth bricking for more sustainable development. Rammed earth walls use raw materials sourced from the immediate environ. They are constructed by the compacting of these moistened materials and subsoil. The original process and preparation are still followed. However, modern technology and methods have made it easier and more efficient to implement this distinct building technique.
Green construction has led to the widespread use of solar power, both active and passive. Active solar power uses functional systems to absorb the sun’s radiation, harnessing it for heating and electricity. In the other hand, passive solar power warms homes through the strategic placement of windows and heat-absorbent surfaces which absorbs the sun’s rays. When windows let in energy, heat is captured and stored to buildings warm over the winter period. With either technique, the need for producing energy through electricity or gas is reduced.
While heating systems contribute significantly to energy consumption, so do cooling systems and air conditioners. One solution that has aided with the reduction of temperatures and heat absorption in buildings and homes during the summer months are cool roofs. These sustainable roofing designs aim to reflect heat and sunlight away so that indoor temperatures can be reduced by more than 50 degrees Celsius over the summer.
Water efficiency plays a crucial part in the race against climate change. Fortunately, several technologies enable that enable water efficiency as a part of green construction. In general, these help with the re-use and re-application of water through efficient supply and recycling systems. Greywater re-use, dual plumbing, rainwater harvesting and water conservation techniques are all being employed in a bid to lower water wastage and prevent freshwater shortages.