Trends come and go in the complex world of construction, particularly when there are so many technological advancements to keep on top of. Some, however, are here to stay – and the desire to use more sustainable and environmentally friendly techniques is one of those.
Now when constructing buildings – there is far more thought put into making sure they are eco-friendly than there once was. Homeowners, commercial business owners etc put a lot more focus on how “green” their properties are, and of course construction workers are taking that responsibility seriously too. It has meant in some areas that the construction industry has had to re-adapt traditional design principles to make way for new eco-friendly ones. Here we look at some of the trends and techniques that the world of construction has been integrating of late.
This is a technique that construction workers use in order to design their structures more quickly. This also means that they are able to do this at a much more competitive cost. As they are also created in a controlled environment – it means that there is much less to worry about in terms of waste of resources.
If a modular home was being built for someone in Inland Ontario for example, this could be created offsite where there is a manufacturing plant – and then delivered to where it needs to be without any issues. This means that there is much less pollution and rubbish accumulation.
It’s not just the construction of the building that’s more efficient, the technologies that are used are too. There are software’s that can be used which would allow a builder to estimate the materials needed more accurately, create 3D versions of the site – and to make sure that any activity is recorded with any relevant stakeholder. This means that there will be a much better structure that is also eco-friendly. It will also eliminate lots of changes required moving forward too.
More Green Building Materials are Being Used
This is the most popular and arguably the easiest sustainable construction technique that builders can use. The green materials are recyclable if the building is no longer needed which means they can continue to be used, and the materials are also usually from timber forests or other sustainable forests. The innovative processes that are used when building using these green materials, also results in less harmful emissions.
There has been a huge increase in steel and concrete buildings that are now used more regularly as part of the manufacturing process. If the building does end up demolished, there will also be much less waste found in landfills. However, the likelihood is that they will stand the test of time too.
Utilising Zero Energy Construction Methods
This is a trend that is becoming increasingly popular in the construction industry as more people are conscious of the environment. The idea is for the structure to have a zero impact on the environment by producing as much energy as it consumes.
Construction workers have been working hard to incorporate this as part of their strategy so they can create buildings that are durable and sustainable.
Solar panels have been one of the attributes to these kinds of buildings. Solar energy is a clean source of energy that is green and is popular because it reduces your carbon footprint. There is absolutely no pollution involved – and the only thing it needs to function is clean water.
As time has gone on, and solar panels have become more popular solar panel costs in Inland Empire Ontario have gone down making them much more affordable, not only for construction companies who are adding this as a feature to their building – but for individuals who are looking to make their home more energy efficient after purchase. This solar panel company has worked hard to offer the very best solution for this.
As well as the environmentally friendly benefits of solar panels, another consideration is that it is a completely free source of energy. The sun will provide us with an endless amount of energy – which means money can be saved when it comes to ongoing costs. The technology for this is improving constantly which building contractors are taking notice of. In climates such as Inland Ontario where the summers are warm – it’s a prefect solution.
Energy efficient air ventilation much like solar panels is also an increasing trend. This works well in buildings where you can expect the habitant to use heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. When people do this, a lot of the air escapes. If a building is constructed with an efficient ventilation system – this means that a large percentage (up to 80%) of the air that leaves the building that can in fact be recovered. It’s incredibly energy efficient and requires little maintenance.
There are also better insulation materials that are being used which will get rid of any pollutants that can be found in the air. Of course, this all depends on where the insulation should be added or installed (although typically in roofs, walls and floors). Although natural insulation products are more commonly used than they were before, the price still can be a barrier for builders and developers as the materials are around 4 times the price, however hopefully in time this will decrease.
More Care Taken When Selecting Placement of Windows
Windows are often overlooked by a buyer when purchasing a home, however construction companies and developers are acutely aware that the selection and placement of a window can make a massive difference to the atmosphere of a room and this is part of their thought process when it comes to the design phase.
These days, they will spend a great deal of time identifying where the windows are best placed in order to take advantage of sun and breeze. In open plan homes these days, it’s become increasingly popular to have floor to ceiling windows. It makes the room look more spacious – and also means that the room will appear bright and airy.
The materials used for the windows are also critical. Proper insulation is required in order to maintain the temperature. In older buildings it can be difficult to replace older windows and retain the character with more modern materials, so there is great skill involved.
Installing Energy Efficient Indoor Appliances
Particularly when it comes to new builds – the inclusion of energy efficient appliances is something that developers will have in mind from the get-go. With the average homeowner paying more attention to the environment, it will become a selling point if energy efficient indoor appliances are used.
As well as being kind to the environment, the homeowner will also of course be thinking about their ongoing costs. Washing machines and tumble dryers are a good place to start, as typically these are run a few times a week – and sometimes more if they are being used in a home with a large family. Ovens and hobs are usually the next thing on the list. It will normally add up to around 4% of an energy bill which will give you an idea of the consumption of this. However, the way food is cooked can reduce this.
In terms of oven choice, an oven with an A+ rating consume significantly less energy than a B+ one. Cooking on a hob is more energy efficient than an oven – and again there are lots of options for these too. Induction hobs are the most environmentally friendly choice. The magnetic field will heat the pan itself, rather than just the surface. This means that food is cooked much more quickly and means its cheaper to run. It also means that the owner will need to wait less time to get their food!
Fridges and freezers are another consideration. They are constantly switched on to keep your food fresh. As such they can account for nearly 20% of energy consumption in a home. When building new homes and getting them ready for sale, it’s essential that the correct one is chosen for that home. Depending on how the kitchen or utility room is laid out, a chest freezer could be a better option as the cool air will drop when it comes to an upright freezer. They will all come with an energy efficiency rating which will be taken into consideration. The energy efficiency rating is what the prospective homeowner would look at too upon purchase, it’s usually in a prominent place on the appliance.
Lighting is another one to add to the list. In order to make lighting “green” – smarter lighting has been incorporated in modern homes. This includes motion sensor lighting where the light will automatically go off when someone leaves a room. Incorporating smart switches also means that lights can be turned on and off remotely. This means if someone forgets to turn the living room light off when they go to bed – they can use the smart switch. On top of this, lighting can also be programmed to go on and off at particular times in the day which will minimise energy wastage. Fixtures and fittings that are made from recycled and natural materials can also be purchased which will give you a more positive impact on the environment.
Ensuring the Design Space is Flexible
Another important consideration for builders and developers is ensuring that the space they are designing is flexible. If it’s for a business premises for example – it could be that they have a reception that is also able to be used as a lunge or breakout area for members of the team or guests.
The same thing is happening with homes. Open plan homes are becoming more popular than ever before. No longer are homes split into small separate rooms – you will find that kitchens are now free flowing into living areas, and that homes appear much more spacious than before.
By doing this, it means that there will be less modifications required in the future which means that there will be minimal wastage.
Ensuring Buildings are Resilient and Durable
Climate change is happening whether we want to accept it or not. As such, there has been a massive focus on ensuring that the resiliency and durability of buildings are improved wherever possible. There are increasing concerns when it comes to flooding, tornados etc – which means that any new buildings need to be designed with resiliency at the forefront.
Builders and developers are now looking further into insurance, new and improved construction technology, and building materials that are renewable. This means that should there be any disaster that strikes – the building would be able to withstand it. The mitigating steps such as insurance will ensure that buildings can recover quickly should anything happen.
When buildings last longer, there is a lesser need to replace them which will save resources and materials in the long run. Again, this is where the likes of concrete buildings and steel buildings come in that can deal with extreme weather conditions.
Can Traditional Methods Also Be Eco-Friendly
As there are always certain trends on the go – it can be all too easy to think that certain structural options are more eco-friendly than others. In reality – most construction methods can be used in order to create an energy efficient building if done correctly.
It could be that they need to be modified in some way, or that embracing the new technology that is available is the way to go – however, traditional methods do still have their place in the modern world.
If you are wondering how the construction industry is evolving to become increasingly eco-friendly – then hopefully you will find the answers you needed. Just like with everything, construction is evolving and the new and improved technology that can be used is having its effect.
Subscribe to our FREE online news service dedicated to producing essential up to date news for the construction, building, and design community.