Sustainable Building: Methods & Techniques

As the impacts of global warming grow increasingly obvious in our everyday lives, many people are motivated to do their bit to effect long-term change. Nobody is more eager to combat climate change than the coming generation of construction stakeholders.

According to a Pew Research Study, climate change is a primary concern for 71% of millennial poll respondents to secure a sustainable planet, followed by 67% of Generation Z respondents.

As the world shifts its focus to sustainability, more building industries will follow suit. But what are sustainable buildings, their importance, and the suitable methods? The post below will shed some light on these areas.

What does sustainable building mean?

Sustainable construction projects use renewable and recyclable materials to conserve energy and toxic waste. The primary purpose of this effort is to reduce the Industry’s environmental effect through sustainable construction methods, energy efficiency, and green technology.

While many businesses in various industries are working to become more environmentally conscious, many are focusing on building projects because it is the biggest consumer of global resources.

And they do so with good reason. This sector accounts for nearly 50% of global raw material consumption and is a substantial waste producer. They focus more on the construction landscape because it can significantly minimize the consequences of global warming by replacing obsolete practices.

Importance of sustainable practices in the building Industry

The obvious repercussions of global warming have increased the desire for a more environmentally responsible and cost-effective solution. The Industry has already wreaked havoc on the environment.

As per the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), increasing construction activity and urbanization will increase waste, destroying natural resources, including wildlife habitats and over 70% of the land area by 2032.

It is highly concerning for us and future generations, and as a result, the demand for sustainability in the building sector is increasing. Over recent years, the construction industry has mainly contributed to the ongoing destruction of our ecology, accounting for the following:

  • Domestic buildings account for 27% of overall Co2 emissions in the UK, whereas non-domestic structures account for 18%
  • 72% of residential emissions are caused by space heating and hot water service.
  • 32% of landfill trash from building construction and demolition
  • 13% of building debris is discarded without being recycled
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Resolving this issue has become a focus for construction enterprises and key decision-makers to reduce raw material and natural resource use and carbon footprints.

To achieve these goals, many businesses have begun to take the necessary measures towards designing, remodeling, or constructing structures under environmental regulations and sustainable ways.

Even though the cost of renewable building is greater at all stages of the project, prominent contractors and well-known firms are pursuing sustainable development in the construction industry.

The adoption of sustainable processes and materials has grown so rapidly in recent years that the budgeting expenses of sustainability in the building have decreased.

Large construction organizations and companies aren’t the only ones working to improve their environmental procedures and practices.

Regular people working on home improvement projects can help use renewable materials and employ sustainable procedures.

Whether through appropriate equipment or the implementation of dependable conservation engineering, simply doing your best to be more energy efficient can help advance sustainability efforts.

5 Sustainable Building Methods

According to a new report released by A/O PropTech, a venture capital firm, worldwide investment in green construction technology will reach $2.2 billion in 2022.

The Low Carbon Future report credited the development to law and technology innovation, which have helped mainstream greener building methods.

Many organizations clearly understand the importance of green and sustainable building methods. They use environmentally friendly procedures that improve overall efficiency. Here are four high-return-on-investment and environmentally friendly building approaches.

Managing construction waste 

As carriers have become more advanced in recent years, contractors are finding it easier to reduce trash.

Whereas construction sites used to have several garbage bins for different sorts of rubbish, they now need one in many situations since transporters utilize pickers to segregate materials.

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“Through hauliers, we can achieve 75% landfill avoidance through their process, and we don’t need to separate materials to do it,” says Dale Forsberg, president of St. Louis Park-based Watson-Forsberg. “On a couple of sites, we’ve hit 95%.”

Because space is limited in inner-city projects, having transporters handle materials inside a single container makes a huge difference, according to Forsberg.

Some materials can be recycled on-site, such as concrete, broken and reused for foundations, or even aggregate underneath parking lots.

As per Zachary Hansen, the environmental health director at St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health dept, speaking at a recent conference endorsed by Minneapolis-based Environmental Initiative, the top three construction projects set to begin in the Twin Cities each have a recycling rate of more than 90%. The projects include the Minneapolis Vikings Stadium, the St. Paul Saints Ballpark, and the Ford plant in St. Paul.

Biodegradable materials for sustainable building

Using biodegradable materials is an environmentally beneficial method of making construction more sustainable.

Most typical construction materials generate waste and harmful chemicals, which take hundreds of years to degrade. Even after decomposition, they contaminate and destroy the ecosystem.

Easily biodegradable materials, such as sustainably harvested bamboo, lumber, mycelium (a type of fungus), traditional linoleum, and organic paints, do not have to end up in a landfill.

They have a low environmental impact because they degrade quickly and do not emit pollutants. Sustainable construction technologies include biodegradable materials for building foundations, walls, and insulators.

Cities have always had the potential of becoming carbon sinks if building developers and owners use bio-based materials and circular economy ideas.

IoT (Internet of Things) integrated automated systems for sustainable building

The Internet of Things (IoT) provides facility managers with data they didn’t previously have. These small networked sensors can be integrated using the automated building to improve operational sustainability.

For example, based on temperature, weather, and CO2 data, IoT sensors can dynamically alter the appropriate ventilation and lighting level inside the structure.

The facility manager does not have to manually keep track of these adjustments or enter data from several pieces of equipment.

Using prefabricated components to reduce costs  

All unsustainable behaviors have an indirect impact on both the bottom line and the environment. What if you were using prefabricated components made to the technical specifications instead?

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Prefabricated materials and procedures are extremely environmentally friendly. Not only do they eliminate waste, but they also use nearly 70% less energy in manufacturing than conventionally manufactured components.

The burden of production chain efficiency and waste avoidance is on the material manufacturer when designing and building using prefabricated components.

Process waste is recyclable or utilized locally with prefabricated components. Because waste is never transported from the factory to the project, the cost of carrying the waste proportion of raw material gets eliminated. You may be able to ship more completed items per truckload, lowering your overall environmental effect.

And you’re not “editing” the material on the Jobsite, which generates waste. As a result, the labor cost for cutting five inches off the 24 is eliminated, no one has to clean up the mess, and no scrap out of that material ends up in a landfill.

Passive solar design and active solar power

The passive solar concept is a construction style that optimizes solar energy use for its building. Passive solar architecture uses the sun’s heat energy to warm the structure while simultaneously shielding the sun and keeping it cool during the hotter summer months.

Because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, construction with windows on the southern side surface can possibly reach the sun’s heat radiation throughout the day.

The passive solar architecture harnesses the sun’s energy, utilizing its predictable seasonal movements to heat and cool a structure without using extra mechanical devices.

Active solar power and passive solar energy entail functioning solar systems that absorb the sun’s light to provide heating and electricity. It minimizes the requirement for electricity or natural gas.

Solar technology has progressed well beyond the conventional rectangular square we’ve grown accustomed to. Solar roof shingles are small, bespoke shingles designed to fit with standard roof tiles nearly unnoticeable.

These shingles are aesthetically pleasing and work as solar panels and durable roof tiles, shielding roofs from natural elements while absorbing sunlight for energy consumption.