In construction, around half of non-renewable resources are used. That makes it one of the most damaging industries to the environment on the globe. And as the world races through the 21st century, more and more people are moving into urban areas that require constant development.
Sustainable construction. New ideas and innovative technology that can transform the industry and the way it operates giving hope to the future. But what does sustainable construction really mean, where is it up to now, and what does the future hold?
Raised Floor Solutions take a look…
What is sustainable construction?
The term sustainable construction can be interpreted in a number of different ways, but at its core it is about harnessing the latest technology and methods to build much needed infrastructure without cost to the environment.
Developments often go forward with a focus and drive on one particular need. Like that of an areas requirement of new houses or a new hospital, without considering the wider implications on the environment. Sustainable construction asks now that we pivot and consider the impact our infrastructure is having on the world around us. It often takes into account three themes known as the ‘triple bottom line’ which are the environment, social stability, and economic accountability.
Where is it up to?
Currently worldwide there are a number of agencies and organisations that have developed rating systems and standard for green building. Some countries have varying rating systems such as the UK which uses BREEAM and the US that uses LEED. Going forward though, it’s looking like these standards may saturate towards one worldwide standard. The rewards are often credits that are given to buildings that support initiatives that include things like sustainable materials or water conservation.
The future of sustainable construction
As the urban population grows, so does the necessity of green building. But how will it change and what technologies will emerge to make it a viable way to build and protect our future?
In recent years, as well as seeing an increase in new-builds taking on green technologies, we’re seeing retrofit energy efficiency too. This indicates that home owners and offices are looking to adapt their current buildings and homes to put less strain on the environment.
In cities around the world we are also seeing big name, high profile buildings being constructed that are pioneering ‘green’ building tech. It’s these leading designs that are inspiring architects and construction companies across the globe. From the Bullitt Centre in Seattle that was designed to be the greenest building in the world to the Council House 2 that was the first purpose built office in Australia to achieve a Six Green Star rating – green building is now a popular trend.
The biggest and most commonly cited drawback of sustainable building is cost. These new building methods, technologies, and materials don’t come cheap, and so many businesses are nervous to take their first steps into green construction. There is a saving to be made in the long run, however. Sustainable buildings cost much less to run and maintain, meaning that the initial offset is usually worth it.
Another common issue is the problem of actually sourcing sustainable materials, especially so on a large scale. In urban environments, the precedent is put on meeting a need, not caring for the environment, and so sourcing rarer more costly materials is never a priority.
As our greenhouse gases warm our Earth and start to see the damaging effects of the way we have lived we need to start considering new methods of creating infrastructure. Green methods. But change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, effort, and a conscious movement from the industries that make the biggest impact.