In the past 15 years, there has been a major shift toward the adoption of sustainable and green construction projects. And the trend is only expected to grow. A report by Dodge Data & Analytics found that worldwide 47% of builders are anticipating more than 60% of their projects will be green by 2021.
Client demand is a major force driving green building. Additionally, a number of state and local governments are adopting initiatives, regulations, and requirements focused on the construction of green and sustainable buildings. In this article, we look at some of the green and sustainable building trends that are currently shaping the construction industry.
Green buildings are structures that include features capable of reducing gas emissions while conserving energy and drinking water. Some of the most common green features include rainwater collection, living walls (walls covered in plants), renewable energy sources, artificial turf, and home purification systems. Green buildings have numerous environmental benefits as well as major economic and social benefits. Green building features also increase property value while reducing energy costs.
Renewable Energy Sources
The reliance on renewable energy resources such as solar energy has increased tremendously in the last five years. These energy sources are extremely efficient and increasingly affordable.
The California Public Utilities Commission has voted to require all new construction to require solar panels starting in 2020. Solar panels are now being incorporated into both new and existing buildings as a way to lower energy costs. Both commercial and residential structures can now store energy from these renewable sources conveniently. Green roofs, cool roofs, LED lighting, and the installation of advanced cooling and heating systems also help to reduce energy use in buildings.
All building project must meet specific standards and requirements, some of which involve the construction of resilient buildings that are capable of withstanding adverse climatic conditions. In a bid to prevent expensive damage, property owners are now investing in buildings and infrastructure that can withstand or successfully adapt to disasters. Some of the measures that are being put in place include:
- Use of water- and storm-resistant building materials
- Wind-resistant roofing systems
- Elevated building designs
These construction methods are a proactive attempt to prevent structural loss due to natural disasters, minimizing the need for recovery efforts.
Green Building Materials
Green and sustainable building materials include those that are manufactured using environmentally-friendly processes and those made from recycled, salvaged, or waste material that does not harm the environment. Bamboo, reclaimed wood and metal, and precast concrete slabs are examples of sustainable building materials.
Construction of Healthier Buildings
The construction of healthier buildings continues to gain traction, with more property owners and developers beginning to realize the benefits of constructing healthy buildings for both the occupants and the environment.
Improvements include better air quality and increased daylight. Constructing healthy buildings also includes the elimination of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are found in building materials such as paint, carpeting, and furniture, which helps to improve interior air quality. Short-term exposure to VOCs can lead to a wide range of health issues such as headaches, dizziness, and irritation of the eyes and the respiratory tract, while long-term exposure may cause damage to the central nervous system as well organs such as the liver and kidneys.
Reduction of energy and water usage, minimization of greenhouse gas emissions, and the conservation of natural resources are other environmental concerns that are forcing industry stakeholders to reconsider and re-evaluate how buildings are constructed.
Sunergy is committed to changing the way energy is produced and construction projects are built by providing safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly options for our communities. We would love to work with you to support your green building needs. Call today to learn how we can help.