The construction industry is one of the major pillars of the world economy. In the US alone, construction spending reaches figures up to $1.27 trillion, according to reports. Furthermore, the construction industry is one of the most massive employment opportunities in the US, with more than 10 million people working in construction. However, one of the major disadvantages of the construction business it the negative impact on our environment, seen through the consumption of resources and pollution. In the EU, the construction industry is responsible for 35 percent of the entire continental waste production. In order to cut the costs and preserve our planet’s natural resources and environmental balance, companies look towards sustainable solutions.
There is so much more in sustainable construction than cost and environmental benefits. We have seen much advancement in the development of new technologies that enhance the sustainability of the construction industry. In this article, we are going to review some of the most revolutionary techs that make sustainable construction possible.
Sustainable Resource Sourcing
As we already said, the consumption of resources and waste production is one of the top issues in the construction business. Sustainable resource sourcing, as the name suggests, is based on reuse and repurposing of recycled products that would otherwise become waste. Metals, steel, concrete, glass, and bricks, all these resources can be recycled and reused, which helps both the environment and businesses. The U.K. shows a good example of sustainable resource sourcing with around 70 percent of materials acquired through recycling and repurposing of existing material. However, the same study shows that this trend is active mainly within large contractors, which means that medium and small business need to play their part as well.
The US Environment Protection Agency describes parts of the urban area which heat up during the summer as “heat islands“. The effects of heat islands occur when parts of urban areas heat up due to the Sun warming up the pavement and rooftops, which emits high temperature into the air. During the hot summer days, the temperature can rise up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, which puts more stress on the air-conditioning systems and consumes more energy.
Cool roofs represent an advancement in sustainable construction for more than one reason. First the special design allows them to reflect more sunlight, thus reducing the absorption of heat. With less heat, there is no need to power up the energy consumption through various cooling systems. The secret behind the cooling roofs hides in the use of reflective paints and specialized tiles which absorb less heat while reflecting the sunlight.
This revolutionary tech allows you to adjust the amount of sunlight that you wish to let inside with the use of a small electrical charge which activates the ions on a window layer. The main difference between regular low-emittance windows and smart glass solution is that the new tech provides dynamic reflection allowing in just the amount of sunshine the user previously set. Cost reduction that this technology provides includes lesser use of air-conditioners, which further impacts smaller emission of greenhouse gases, making the world a better place. Skyscrapers and large building can greatly benefit from the use of smart glass technology. Thousands of windows, all connected to a centralized control unit could severely cut air-conditioning expenses, especially during the summer days.
These types of buildings provide their own source of energy by means of wind turbines which could be placed on the rooftops. Constant winds in the higher altitudes allow the turbines to propel and generate enough electricity to keep the entire building’s energy needs covered. The best part of this tech is that it also allows the buildings to pump the excess power back into the grid. Alternatively, in areas where the sun is available throughout the year, solar panels generate electricity.
Rammed Earth Brick
This technology is actually one of the oldest construction methods, however, it is now being re-introduced because of its sustainable properties. The modern technology allows much easier preparation but the process is still the same as it was in ancient times. The mixture includes moist ground, gravel or clay stabilized by concrete or similar stabilizing elements which provide a dense and firm mixture. This type of brick is not only cheaper, but it also provides great insulation, making the interior cooler in the summer and hotter during the winter period.
Our planet is bountiful, however, we have to work on limiting the consumption of its natural resources because one day we could face serious problems caused by the lack of resources. Repurposing used materials, finding new ways to utilize solar power, harvesting the force of the wind, as well as developing technologies that support sustainable construction can save the future for all of us.
Justin Osborne is a blogger from Leicester, England, UK. When not teaching his little students and rooting for Leicester FC, he loves to share his thoughts and opinions about education, writing for essay writing service and blogging with other people on different blogs and forums. Follow Justin on Facebook and Twitter.