Is Green Technology in construction the solution to reducing global emissions?

green tech in construction

20% Global Emissions produced by Construction

Did you know the construction industry is responsible for 20% of all global emissions? With buildings requiring constant maintenance, demolition and rebuilding, coupled with an ever growing population this is a figure that is only going to increase.

Unless we use Green Technology. So what is it?

Green technology in construction is a sustainable and long-term solution to building. By focusing on constructing for the future, the use of more reliable and environmentally friendly materials should be used. This results in better build quality, longevity and even if a building does need to be demolished, it is instead recycled thereby reducing emissions.  

Where does Green Technology start?

Being green doesn’t just mean using recyclable materials or fitting solar panels. It begins at the very beginning in the planning phase. From design to build and demolition, a green building takes into account the overall economy, utility and durability of the project. This requires more research, constant demand for training and developing new ways to design and build, such as bricks from old cigarettes. This means more jobs in construction.

So you can build a house from Cigarettes?

Yes, this is where the technology is going. And why there is a need for a more skilled and trained workforce to develop new ways to recycle and construct. Bricks made of recycled old cigarette butts are just the beginning; expect thermally driven air con and self healing asphalt / tarmac.

 

Top Green Technologies in high demand

With all this talk of green tech, what are the top technologies we should be looking at in the growing construction industry?

Cool Roofs

By reflecting heat and sunlight away from properties heat absorption and thermal release are reduced. This is achieved by special reflective paint and specialist roof tiles similar to wearing white rather than black in simplistic terms. Where a standard roof will reach 65oC, this technology halts temperatures at 38oC requiring less energy usage on air con units, better for the environment and the wallet.

Green Insulation

No, not just a bit of paint... Using recycled materials from newspaper to different fabrics both ads sustainability to a build and reduces the need for expensive commercial products with final finish to make it look pretty.

Biodegradable materials

Old methods of construction rely on materials that can break down to release toxic chemicals taking hundreds of years to finally degrade and produce far more emissions in the manufacturing processes. Biodegradable materials break down without toxins allowing for more eco-efficient building processes.

Solar Power / Smart Glass

One of the simplest ways to save energy and plan for the future is installing solar panels on a new or existing construction. Unlike wind technology a solar panel can be fitted to a range of applications filling large surface areas with free energy in both active and passive formats.

Active solar uses advanced techniques to provide heat and electricity in the most efficient way possible with heat pumps and external power to operate effectively. Passive solar will rely on the position and design of the construction but are cheaper to install and have advances in new technology to mould to existing windows and glass panels. When you want to reflect more light and cool a building down, there’s also Smart Glass.

Smart glass, or electrochromic glass, uses electricity to charge ions on a layer of windows to reflect more light. Skyscrapers could have thousands of windows tint automatically during the day and turn to clear as the sun fades.

Low / zero energy building

Wooden buildings have lower embodied energy than steel or concrete (the manufacturing process). The use of free flowing air and high performance windows and insulation reduce the need for air con and high demand energy fuel. A low energy or zero energy house can rely on Solar, Wind etc for all heating and lighting needs.

Smart Appliances

Much like smaller engined more powerful cars and hybrid technology, these new developments generate efficient and more eco friendly methods of doing everyday tasks. Flagship washing machines and dishwashers will have inbuilt tech to reduce water and power consumption at the touch of a button. As new housing is being developed these items are considered to maximise the long lasting household and minimise energy wastage.   

Building Smart & Green

The initial costs of designing and building with green technology can be great but save money over the long-term, as is the ethos of constructing sustainably and eco-efficiently. As the technology develops and demand increases, the demand and requirement for a green first construction will increase, and the costs will eventually fall with more efficient methods developed.

 

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