The United Nations Environment Program has revealed that the construction industry is not taking sufficient steps to achieve net-zero emissions. Efforts are being made in all sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the construction sector is yet to develop an organized strategy in this regard.
It is currently estimated that up to 50% of global climate change is caused by this specific sector. The activities of the construction industry have a major impact on water pollution, accounting for up to 40% of this problem. These figures show the importance of this sector in terms of the environmental impact it causes.
Construction is an activity that impacts the environment in several ways. However, many of these effects can be easily controlled and prevented. One of them has to do with land use, as most construction projects require space to be carried out.
Proper land use planning is essential to avoid problematic situations such as deforestation and human-wildlife conflicts. In addition, future-oriented individual decisions can make a significant contribution to reducing these problems.
Everyone has to do their part in the fight against construction pollution. However, the most important role lies with the developers. Whether you are building a home, commercial property or any other type of development, it is important to consider the concept of sustainability.
Sustainable construction refers to construction that aims to meet current needs without jeopardizing the future of the ecosystem and the planet in general. Developers have the opportunity to make their projects sustainable by taking important steps. For example, you can choose environmentally friendly materials, reduce unnecessary waste and pay attention to energy efficiency.
A sustainable building is characterized by the fact that it is built using renewable and reusable resources and also significantly reduces energy consumption. Sustainability in building construction depends on various factors. Fortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. It is important to consider protecting the planet at every stage of the construction process.
Sustainable building materials
The first step to sustainable building is sourcing the right materials.
If you are planning to start a construction project, it is important that you consider the sustainable materials available on the market. Fortunately, most of these materials are more accessible and economical than the traditional ones used in construction. Plus, they have been tested and are likely to be more durable. Let’s take a look at the options available to you for sustainable building.
Ferrock bricks are an innovative alternative for construction as they are made from recycled steel powder and silica obtained from frosted glass. This type of brick is created through a chemical reaction with carbon dioxide that results in the formation of a compound called iron carbonate. This carbonate plays an important role in the ecosystem because it has the ability to retain some of the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere. Additionally, it represents a more sustainable alternative to concrete walls, which cause high levels of pollution.
Another important advantage of these bricks is their lower cost compared to traditional concrete bricks as they are made from waste materials. Despite its advantages, Ferrock bricks are still not widely available on the market. However, if you are doing a small scale construction, you might consider this as a viable option.
Hemp fiber hemp concrete blocks
Hempcrete is a new type of building block made from hemp fibers. Although it is still uncommon on the market, it is rapidly growing in popularity due to its numerous benefits. According to studies, hemp can have a useful life of at least 300 years, exceeding the durability of conventional concrete.
In comparison, modern homes typically have a lifespan of 50 to 1,000 years. The growing popularity of hemp-based building blocks is a clear indication that they are a superior option compared to traditional options.
Hemp is a material made from hemp fibers that is extremely durable. In addition, hemp grows quickly and can be produced in large quantities. These hemp blocks can also be used without concrete. Instead, a special glue is used that is more environmentally friendly than traditional cement.
One of the highlights of the blocks is their ability to provide good insulation. This leads to a significant reduction in costs for both heating and cooling. Unlike concrete, which is characterized by poor insulation, these blocks help optimize energy consumption and maintain the correct temperature in the room.
Vegetable polyurethane rigid foam (PRF) for insulation
Rigid foam is often used as an insulation option, but its manufacturing process using plastic and other elements emits a large amount of CO2. In addition, the main components of the foam are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which have various side effects. Polyurethane foam of vegetable origin is an alternative that eliminates the negative effects of traditional foams.
Unlike traditional hard foam, this option is based on plant-based ingredients and contains no harmful chemicals. Although rigid foam has been crucial to insulating homes since the 1970s, using plant-based polyurethane foam offers a more sustainable and environmentally friendly option. However, it’s time to switch to a friendlier foam option.
The plant-based rigid polyurethane foam is made from an innovative combination of hemp, seaweed and bamboo. This eco-friendly material is characterized by being made from easily accessible plants, making it an eco-friendly option. Bamboo is considered the fastest growing plant on our planet.
Fortunately, its growth capacity extends to virtually every location, making it a viable option for many regions. On the other hand, hemp is also a plant that can be produced in large quantities and offers interesting uses in various industries.
Vegetable foam offers important environmental benefits. First, it provides protection from mold and pests in homes. Additionally, its heat value is higher than that of traditional foam, making it more efficient as an insulator.
Smart glass windows for controlled lighting
Smart glass windows and doors are becoming increasingly popular. However, many people are not aware of the sustainability that these products offer. Smart glasses consist of a PDLC liquid crystal layer that can convert normal glasses into those with a filter or something similar. On the other hand, smart windows require electricity to operate, but the benefits they offer justify the effort invested.
Using UV and IR protection windows on hot days prevents these direct rays from reaching the interior of your home. This controls the temperature and reduces heating costs. On cold days, however, these windows automatically let in ultraviolet rays to heat your home.
These glasses are not only suitable for temperature monitoring, but also offer advantages in terms of privacy. Thanks to their advanced and constantly evolving technology, they are an interesting option for anyone who wants to build sustainably and efficiently.
Solar panel roof
Solar panels have long been considered a sustainable building option. Today, however, its functionality goes beyond generating electricity. In fact, there are various roof options equipped with solar panels that allow you to make the most of the available solar energy. These solar roofs are a great way to reduce energy consumption and contribute to a greener lifestyle. A notable example of innovation is roof shingles with solar panels. These tiles look like traditional tiles, but are equipped with solar cells. Thanks to these solar cells, they generate electricity and can power your home, resulting in a significant reduction in energy costs.
Cross laminated timber (CLT)
CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) is an innovative building material that has taken longer than expected to gain widespread acceptance. Although some companies are already using it, it has not lived up to expectations. CLT is a wood product developed in Europe in the early 1990s. This material consists of structurally sorted wood that has been bonded with glue. Although it superficially looks like ordinary wood, its structural strength and durability are significantly superior.
CLT has a strength-to-weight ratio equivalent to concrete. This means that the weight that a concrete wall can support can also be supported by cross-laminated timber. However, it is important to note that CLT is five times lighter compared to concrete. In fact, CLT can provide a faster and more cost-effective construction method compared to concrete.
One of the main advantages of CLT is its ability to replace concrete, which is a large source of carbon pollution. In addition, CLT acts as a good heat insulator, which can help reduce heating costs in buildings. However, a disadvantage to be taken into account is that CLT is based on the use of wood as the main material, which could have a negative impact on our forests if introduced without caution and with sustainable forest management in mind.
These materials provide information about the requirements for sustainable construction. An open attitude is important in the area of sustainable building.
All of the materials mentioned analyze different aspects of sustainability. When choosing a material, it is important to consider various aspects and weigh both its advantages and disadvantages. It is advisable to avoid materials that can do more harm than good.
With information from inhabitat.com