Developers Exploring More Eco-Friendly Construction Approaches
Current construction processes are notorious for their negative impact on the environment. In fact, several studies cited by Initiafy have shown that the industry accounts for 50% of climatic change, 50% of waste landfills, 40% of water pollution, 40% of energy usage and 23% of air pollution.
But another fact also remains: people will always need residences and work spaces. Thus, in order to meet real estate demands while avoiding further damages to the environment, eco-friendly solutions are beginning to be used by architects, engineers and other experts in the field. These methods are applied during the construction process itself and/or added to a finished structure. Some solutions are revamped versions of traditional building methods, while others are entirely new which has become possible due to advanced technology.
The most common is the use of solar power installations, which are prevalent locally as well as in other parts of the globe. Last year, our government prepared roughly INR192 billion (US$3 billion) to fund related projects including buildings with sustainable energy through solar technology. The goal is to attain an output of 100 gigawatts entirely from solar energy before the year 2022.
But this is only one of several methods to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.
Although, there are technicalities that have been added to help adhere to modern building codes and practices. For instance, green roofs are now split into two types: intensive which uses trees and plants up to 15 feet high, placed on an appropriate weight-bearing roofs and; extensive which uses plants that only grow up to 6 inches. The latter is more commonly used for large buildings.
In addition, green roof systems follow a specific layering process. These layers include a waterproof base, root repellent overlay, water filtration, moisture retainer, and soil.
Believe it or not, concrete can now be made through 3D printing as well. In China, there are now at least 10 houses made entirely from recycled construction waste which can be turned into a mixture of cement and glass fiber. Design Boom explained that the material is created and distributed through a giant 3D printer, and each house was completed in a matter of hours.
On the other side of the world, a different kind of solution is currently being explored by British concrete manufacturer Novacem. Every ton of conventional cement emits around 0.4 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), but Sustainable Build mentioned that Novacem discovered a new formula which not only negates this effect – it actually does the opposite. The cement is processed from magnesium sulphate and each ton can absorb 0.6 tons of CO2 as it hardens. Albeit still in its experimental stage, Novacem is certain that this new kind of cement can be manufactured and used in all sorts of construction projects in the near future.
New insulation techniques
Improved temperature regulation is another tactic employed by developers to reduce the frequency of using cooling/heating systems which take up considerable power. Across the Atlantic, New York’s Cornell Tech is applying a myriad of eco-friendly solutions to its Bloomberg Building, which is under construction.
Apart from using similar approaches tackled earlier such as solar power and green roofing, the news outlet of Cornell University specified that the new structure will have a highly insulated facade comprised of a rainscreen wall system and metal panelling. This will improve insulation and allow more natural light to pass through.
Maximising passive insulation as well as natural lighting is an ongoing trend even in other parts of the nation, especially in states like Florida which is usually sunny for most of the year. In Miami, for example, numerous construction projects are slated to have facades and exteriors almost entirely made out of glass.Not only that, some of these buildings including Brickell Flatiron, One Park Grove and 1000 Museum were highlighted in a post by Discover Homes Miami as having high compliance in terms of eco-friendliness due to applying several of the solutions featured above. Developers make it a point to achieve important ‘green’ certifications like LEED and Well Building Standard as a bid to join the mission of turning construction into a completely environment-friendly industry.
With more ecological construction processes being conceptualised and implemented, the reality is that the world is moving towards a more eco-friendly and sustainable construction model.