The built environment is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions; it is also is responsible for consuming one-third of the world’s water and generating around 40% of its waste. With consumer awareness of climate change driving the demand for more renewable materials in construction, it is a no-brainer that construction trends are moving towards more sustainable practices.
Here are four top trends right now.
1. Encouragement from Regulatory Bodies
There are now numerous regulatory bodies across the globe that have started to set environmental standards and benchmarks. In the US, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) now awards green building certifications and rating systems to construction companies. Similarly, at home in Australia, we have the Green Building Council that uses their Green Star Certification and rating system to assess sustainable design, construction and operations.
2. Movement Towards Innovative Technologies
There are plenty of advanced technologies that can be used in construction and engineering to move towards more sustainable practices. One such technology is the use of Digital Twins – digital replicas of real-world locations – to analyse environmental indictors such as water usage, air quality and resource wastage. By using this technology, companies can continuously monitor their environmental impact in real-time, making infrastructure developers accountable for potential environmental damages caused by their construction practices.
3. Use of More Sustainable Materials
Brick and cement production use a lot of energy and contributes to roughly 8% of carbon emissions, therefore it is vital to move towards renewable materials in construction. Recyclable and renewable materials such as copper, steel, bamboo and sugarcane are a great start, but there are other innovations in the industry, such as:
A low maintenance and long-lasting renewable material, that does not release harmful emissions during production, ensuring a reduction in C02 emissions.
Concrete with the ability to self-heal by biologically producing limestone without the need for human intervention.
Using recycled plastic to create bricks. Plastic is extremely durable, and the result is a low-cost recycled brick with great insulation for noise and heat.
A more sustainable brick, unfired and made of 90% construction waste that generates less than one-tenth the carbon emissions as the manufacture of normal bricks and offers better insulation.
4. Increase in Modular Construction
Modular construction is the practice of installing pre-assembled building modules onsite. These modules are pre-assembled prior to arriving to site and pre-fitted with plumbing, electrics, heating, etc. This practice aims to reduce the emissions from vehicle transportation and reduce energy consumption onsite as a result of heavy machine usage.
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