What is Sustainable Construction?
Sustainable construction is all about reducing the impact of the industry on the environment, from the design stage right through to the clean up stage. There are plenty of methods construction companies are now using to meet the sustainability requirements of their clients, including:
- Utilising renewable and recyclable resources
- Reducing the consumption of energy and waste
- Creating a healthy and eco-friendly environment
- Protecting the natural environment
The construction industry historically has had a large impact on the environment, so with the change towards sustainability there has been some innovative thinking and designing coming through in the last few years.
Popular Sustainable Building Methods
There are a number of sustainable and eco friendly building methods that are gaining popularity with both construction companies and their clients.
Green roofs or living roofs are becoming quite popular on commercial properties and high rise residential builds. A green roof is essentially where grass, plants, flowers, bushes and other greenery is grown on the roofing material. Stormwater is used to help grow the plants, it is relatively easy to manage, white heating and cooling costs are reduced and air quality is improved.
Grey Water Systems
For years, homeowners have been harvesting their grey water, mostly to use on gardens. Commercial property builds are now utilising grey water systems (from everything except for toilets) for irrigation and supplying toilets with water, reducing their reliance on fresh water.
Imagine not having to worry about shades and window treatments in your commercial setting. Electrochromic glass has the ability to move from clear to opaque based on external stimuli including electrical current or UV rays. It essentially removes the need for window shades and films, adapting to the current conditions as required. This, in turn, has the benefit of blocking a vast majority of UV rays.
Solar Thermal Cladding
Heating is a major resource and cost drain for any building, which is why solar thermal cladding is becoming a popular addition to commercial and large residential buildings. This is a passive building method that is designed to hold heat during the cooler months, storing the sun’s energy and passing through to the building for heat retention.
We know that 3D printing has been on the rise in the construction industry for some time, and it is becoming more popular. Traditionally in the construction industry, building materials have needed to be created off-site and moved to the building site which has heavy environmental costs. 3D printing allows for components to be printed and constructed on site, reducing the need for shipping and bringing down the costs of the build.
What’s Next in Sustainable Building Design?
There are always plenty of innovative building methods coming through, and as technology evolves, so will construction methods. There are two very exciting products and processes on the market which will revolutionise sustainable construction further.
Self-healing concrete is in its early stages, but once commercially viable, there will be plenty of doors opening. This material can be used on almost everything including roads and walkways, and removes the need for road crews to shut down streets to repair potholes and cracks.
Architects are also working on a machine that recycles construction waste into reusable materials. The machine would create bricks that can be used for new structures using living organisms that bind pre-existing construction waste. If this machine gets up and running, it will significantly cut down the amount of construction waste in the environment.
With a finite number of resources available, sustainable construction is needed to meet a growing demand. Those who invest in sustainable technologies are recouping their costs through decreased operation costs and a high popularity in their services. There are large gains to be made in the sustainability realm, and the early adopters are certainly seeing the benefits.
Laurus is set to unveil a host of sustainable elements to their latest 150 apartment block in Kellyville, Sydney. Including solar, plenty of greenery and electric vehicle charge stations. More to come.