Crafting something that lasts remains the goal of the construction industry. What has changed in the past decade is the definitions regarding what materials work best to create these structures.
Green construction aims to decrease costs to the planet by developing buildings that contribute rather than detract. These aims don’t have to undercut profits and drive up prices. As scarcities of some older elements drive up prices, sustainable construction becomes the watchword of competition.
These initiatives gain footing even as building codes relax. This type of short-sightedness is exactly why green practices and eco-friendly construction is gaining traction.
Green Construction Practices
The following practices consider environmental sustainability from the perspective of long-term impacts as well as short-term goals. The future can’t be built without the present but rapid and drastic change rarely persists.
1. Sustainable Materials
A key focus is on materials that work harder while costing less in terms of resources. These materials use new technologies to create durable buildings that are also energy efficient.
Recycled materials and repurposed materials lay the groundwork. Treated and processed materials that use renewable sources such as laminated and heat-treated woods.
New concrete sourcing produces concert and cement that recapture carbon. Others use less carbon to deliver the same materials. , Read more on concrete and carbon capture and see how it’s shaping America’s largest cities.
2. Material Sourcing
Getting your hands on a better and more sustainable material is only part of the plan. If you procure that supply from halfway around the world, it’s hard to offset that energy cost.
Gathering materials from a closer, the local area benefits the planet and cuts down on transportation costs. While that might not sound like as much added value now, transportation costs rise along with energy costs.
3. Responsible Disposal
Nobody likes to waste materials, but they don’t exactly arrive building-shaped. A lot of cutting and shaping needs to occur before a structure is complete.
Reduction of waste saves money but efficient and responsible disposal also keeps waste from becoming refuse. Undamaged building materials can be donated or repurposed. Recycling heavily favors raw materials.
4. Embrace Green Standards
Though building codes may not demand these (yet), green building codes don’t violate current codes and they add value to a construction project. Picking up a LEED or Green Star certification increases resale and lowers operational costs for a project.
5. Design around DES
Distributed energy systems (DES) measure and control energy in a building from the ground up. Integrating sensors and other components provide fine-tuned control over power use in a structure.
In conjunction with solar, wind, geothermal, and other on-site renewables, some buildings strive to be self-reliant and energy neutral. Excess power from a DES has been used to power vehicles to further improve local conditions.
Getting started in green construction isn’t difficult. While this list provides an overview of methods being used, even a few steps in the right direction will build a better future.
For more information on these initiatives and others like them, check back with us.