7 Sustainable Construction Trends

Author

Published

Adam Bombini

March 19th 2020

The construction industry has a major impact on the environment as a large contributor to air pollution, water pollution, energy consumption, and landfill waste. Fortunately, stakeholders in the construction industry are developing and implementing sustainable construction trends that are preventing further damage to our environment while also improving onsite productivity as well. 

Here are some of the top sustainable construction trends we’re seeing today. 

Prefabricated Off-site Construction

Off-site or prefabricated construction helps eliminate waste by reducing overages and scrap. The materials are built in sections in a controlled environment. Then, only the necessary pieces are delivered to the construction site for assembly when the construction team is ready. 

Module Building Systems

Large-scale, complex construction projects are made simpler with efficiently manufactured room modules. Similar to prefabricated construction, modular building systems are built off-site in separate pieces and structures, such as lightweight steel framing, then delivered to the construction site. Many industries are already implementing modular building systems, including education, defense, healthcare, and hospitality.  On top of resource, cost and time savings, modular building systems offer environmental benefits -- they create less waste, control pollution, and use less energy than traditional building processes. 

Recyclable Building Materials

Construction companies send millions of tons of non-industrial waste to landfills, most often due to demolitions. When more of the raw materials torn down from demolition can be recycled, less of it is sent to landfills. Green building materials, such as precast concrete, are completely recyclable and can be salvaged for later use. A few green building materials top the list. Reclaimed wood sourced from responsibly managed forests is becoming more popular as a sustainable construction solution while steel and concrete are being produced using environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. 

Building Information Modelling (BIM)

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a project management and scheduling technology that boosts efficiency in construction. Perhaps unintentionally, it also reduces the environmental footprint at construction sites due to this increased efficiency that it delivers.

Construction projects using BIM tend to have less waste since it reduces last-minute rework. It also compresses project timelines, allowing crews to spend less time-on-site and thus reducing the energy consumption and emissions from power tools and heavy machinery.

Zero-Energy Construction

This is one of the top emerging sustainable construction trends in homes and buildings today. The goal of this construction technique is to create buildings that produce as much energy as they consume, essentially allowing them to have a zero net impact on the environment. 

How is this possible? Zero-energy construction uses renewable energy sources to power the building, including solar and wind. Energy-efficient ventilation systems are implemented to eliminate pollutants. And high-quality insulation materials are used to minimize noise and air pollution. 

Water Conservation

With climate change likely to disrupt water supply systems and rainfall, more construction teams are acutely aware of the need to implement water conservation measures in their buildings. Apart from installing low-flow showerheads and toilets, as well as water-conserving fixtures, we’re also seeing more stormwater management strategies, water-permeable surfaces, greywater recovery systems, and rainwater catchment systems in building designs today.

Energy-efficient Window Placement

A small yet powerful trend, more designers are carefully choosing ideal window placements in structures to take advantage of the sun and breeze. This energy-efficient solution is not only eco-friendly but can reduce heating and cooling costs as well. 

The New Industry Standard in Construction

The world of construction is changing. Sustainable construction trends are gaining ground at a rapid pace, allowing construction companies to not only reduce their environmental footprint but also increase efficiency and productivity on site. Expect more eco-friendly building processes, materials, and systems to become the norm thanks to sustainable construction trends. 

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