Addressing the increasing demand for eco-friendly buildings and social responsibility, the construction industry is undergoing a significant transformation by integrating cutting-edge technologies like biomimetics and smart retrofitting. Architects and engineers are inspired by these technologies to create more efficient and durable structures. Thus, while enhancing its overall performance, the construction industry is minimizing its carbon footprint. If you are in the construction business, identifying and implementing new opportunities and emerging technologies into your business will go a long way in giving you a distinctive competitive advantage. Here are some of the latest trends in sustainable construction.
10 Latest Trends in Sustainable Construction
3D printing accelerates production times, reduces material waste, and enhances design flexibility in the construction industry. Thus, startups and scaleups are using 3D printing to provide innovative solutions for green building practices, and using concrete printing and additive manufacturing to create eco-friendly construction materials. It also includes the development of larger 3D printers which can print entire building structures and enable on-site printing of building components and the creation of complex shapes and designs. Locally sourced materials, such as sand and clay, are used by 3D printers to construct buildings while self-healing materials are used by some to repair the damage.
Integrated Environmental Assessments
Integrated Environmental Assessments (IEAs) evaluate and reduce the environmental impacts of buildings throughout their life cycle. A comprehensive visualization of the building and its systems is facilitated by Building Information Modeling (BIM), while the environmental impact of the materials and processes involved in its construction is assessed by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). IEA is being used by startups to design and implement digital tools for data collection and analysis. Primarily these assessments are used to evaluate the environmental impact of construction materials, energy consumption during the building process, the effects on surrounding ecosystems and communities, compare various design alternatives, and optimize building environmental performance.
The sustainability and efficiency in the construction industry are enhanced by Robots that perform various tasks, such as site inspection and demolition. While site inspections and data collection are conducted by Robots and Drones to monitor progress, safety, and quality, structures and materials are broken down by Demolition Robots with precision and speed, minimizing noise and dust. Innovative technologies such as AI, computer vision, and wireless communication for construction robots are being developed by several startups. These solutions not only reduce construction waste significantly while improving efficiency, but their sustainability also results in economic benefits.
Energy Efficient Architecture
The environmental impact of buildings is reduced, and their performance is optimized by energy-efficient architecture. The strategy of passive design uses natural elements such as wind, sunlight, and vegetation to regulate the indoor temperature and lighting of buildings, and also incorporates green roofs and walls that provide stormwater management, insulation, and biodiversity. Energy-efficient architecture also uses efficient Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, thereby reducing energy consumption and GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Smart sensors and energy management systems are also being developed by startups to improve the comfort, health, and well-being of the occupants.
Sustainable Construction Materials
Sustainable construction materials utilize eco-friendly and renewable resources, to reduce the environmental impact of buildings and infrastructure. These include:
- Recycled and reclaimed materials, such as wood, glass, steel, and plastic, that reduce waste and replace virgin raw materials.
- Bio-based materials, such as hemp, bamboo, and straw, are renewable and biodegradable.
- Low-carbon concrete uses less cement and incorporates additives that lower GHG emissions.
- More efficient, durable, and affordable green construction materials, supporting eco-friendly construction practices are being created by startups.
The manufacture of building components in a controlled environment, before transportation to the construction site is called offsite construction. The advantages of offsite construction include consistent production and higher quality standards when compared to on-site construction, which is subject to weather conditions. Offsite construction involves prefabrication and modular construction techniques which enhance quality control, minimize waste, and shorten construction time. Not only that, digital technologies reduce waste, and improve efficiency and accuracy in offsite construction. Efficient and eco-friendly off-site construction solutions that benefit both the environment and the construction industry are being developed by startups.
Zero Waste Construction
Zero waste construction eliminates or minimizes construction and demolition waste during the building lifecycle, by optimizing material usage, using non-toxic and biodegradable materials, and integrating design and construction processes to reduce waste. Waste is also reduced by, recovering and downcycling construction waste materials, such as bricks, concrete, and asphalt. It also includes deriving energy from waste by using it as fuel for electricity thus lowering environmental impacts, reducing costs, improving quality, and enhancing social value.
Circular construction designs, produces, and circularly consumes goods thus eliminating waste and regenerating nature. It uses renewable energy sources, design for disassembly, and emphasis on lifecycle thinking to reduce the environmental impact. Circular construction solutions such as modular building systems, circular bridges, as well as sustainable paints and coatings that enable the reuse and recycling of materials, extend product lifecycles, and improve energy efficiency are being provided by startups.
Biophilic architecture connects people with nature in the built environment by enhancing the well-being of the occupants and reducing the environmental impact of the buildings. The use of natural materials like wood, stone, and bamboo, the incorporation of green spaces, such as gardens, terraces, and green roofs, and the maximization of natural light througharge windows, skylights, and solar tubes are some of its key features. Startups are developing biometric sensors, smart lighting, and ventilation systems, thus creating healthy and resilient spaces for the future.
Immersive construction uses digital technologies to facilitate prototyping, collaboration, visualization, and training to enhance the sustainability of the construction industry. It creates virtual environments that simulate real-world scenarios enabling stakeholders to communicate and coordinate more effectively, test and optimize designs before building, allow visualizing and exploring projects in real-time, and train workers in interactive and safe ways. Immersive construction deploys technologies like AR, VR, 3D modeling, mixed reality (MR), cloud computing, and AI. Platforms for remote collaboration, digital twin creation, and management are being developed by startups which result in a better judgment of work scope, and the detection of design errors in construction projects.
We hope that you will follow the above-mentioned trends in sustainable construction and more, to make yourself future-ready, gain a distinctive advantage over your competitors, and work towards a greener planet.
By Guest Post