The use of green technology within the construction industry has been on the rise over the past several years. In 2015, we saw sustainable growth in this area, with World Green Building Trends reporting that 51 percent of firms show a commitment to incorporating sustainability into more than 60 percent of their work for the year. Although there is still plenty of work to be done, these numbers show that the industry is moving in a positive direction. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the most used green technologies that helped construction become more sustainable in 2015.
1) Cross-Ventilation Technology
Sometimes just tweaking a building’s existing design can help save on energy and benefit the occupants by taking advantage of on-site light and air. One of the newest and fastest growing trends for buildings in cities and business districts is DMCI Homes’ Lumiventt Technology. This technology first became popular within the Philippines. The name for the technology plays off the word “lumen” meaning light and “ventus” meaning wind. This architectural design allows for the free flow of natural light and air into high-rise buildings. The Lumiventt Technology uses a three-story high garden atriums every five floors, in addition to vents at both sides of the building. This simple design allows for a breathable building that lets air flow throughout with ease.
2) Water Reuse and Supply Technologies
Buildings use 13.6 percent of the world’s portable water: this translates to 15 trillion gallons of water per year. Systems that are designed to improve water efficiency are working hard to lower water usage by 15 percent. Jerry Yudelso, green building expert and author of “Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis, “fresh water shortages call for awareness and actions in the face of this water crisis.” The goal has been to achieve net-zero water use in buildings. To achieve this goal, buildings will need to utilise water conservation fixtures that efficiently manage water consumption, rainwater harvesting, greywater reuse to make use of recycled water, and on-site sewage treatment to remove contaminants from wastewater. These are technologies that currently exist, but the challenge that remains is improving their efficiency and incorporating them into a single system that can produce net-zero water usage buildings.
3) Low-Emittance Windows and Smart Glass
The green version of windows are low-emittance windows: they are coated with metallic oxide to block the sun’s harsh rays during the summer and keep the heat inside during the winter. In addition to serving the conventional function of windows, low-emittance windows aim to significantly lower HVAC costs. The next step for low-emittance windows is likely to be smart glass, also known as electrochromic glass. This glass uses a small amount of electricity, charging ions to control the amount of light that it reflects. Essentially, this glass tints during the sun’s peak hours and returns to transparent at night.
4) Cool Roofs
Cool roofs, similar to the green windows, help to reflect sunlight and heat away. The roofs are made of special tiles and reflective paint creating high levels of solar reflectance and thermal emittance. The buildings will absorb less heat and keep them cooler, leading to lower energy costs and more comfort for the occupants.
5) Sustainable Construction Materials
The construction industry has understood the importance of integrating biodegradable, recycled and sustainable materials for many years. We have a limited supply of natural resources on our planet and the construction of buildings consumes large volumes of these resources. Through the use of more sustainable materials, ithas helped to strengthen the construction industry and improve the environment at the same time. Biodegradable materials, such as natural paints help to eliminate indoor pollution and decompose naturally without contaminating the earth. Another great trend within the industry is the use of recycled resources, such as steel, which replaces of timber for beams.
“It is so vital that the whole construction industry joins together in helping to develop the use of green technologies so that we build a better environment to pass on to future generations” explains Lukasz Kisiel. “At Kisiel Group, we strongly believe in adopting ‘green’ principles and we encourage our clients to include appropriate technologies in the construction processes on their projects.”