Technology Is Causing More And More Sustainable Buildings To Pop Up

Posted: Jan 15 2019, 2:29pm CST | by , in Technology News

Technology is causing more and more sustainable buildings to pop up
image: pixabay

While our construction techniques may have evolved over the years, the materials we use for those projects haven't changed much since the time of the ancient Romans — concrete, wood and later steel and glass make up the majority of our buildings. These materials may have served us well for centuries, but they aren't exactly the greenest option. As consumers become focused on minimizing their carbon footprint, more and more green buildings have started popping up. Let's take a closer look at some of these green buildings, and the eco-friendly materials that are growing in popularity.

LEED Certification

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an industry standard that is becoming more popular in the United States and around the globe. LEED certifications rate new and existing buildings on everything from their power and water use to the internal air quality. The buildings that rate the highest are those that use green building materials, focus on natural light instead of electrical lighting and generate little to no waste.

LEED-certified buildings have been popping up around the country. In 2012, Rush Medical College opened its doors to a new construction project that turned into the largest LEED Gold-certified health care facility in the country. It features reclaimed materials — specifically wood and steel — and a green roof, as well as water-saving facilities that reduce the building's water waste.

It is just one example of LEED-certified buildings that are starting to appear around the globe.

Evolving Materials

We still use wood, steel, glass and concrete in our construction projects, but the formula has changed significantly since the Romans started using cement. For many projects, concrete no longer needs to be laid or cast on the job site. Precast concrete, which gets cast offsite, can be assembled into a variety of different projects in a fraction of the time it would take to pour and cast concrete on location.

This option ends up being greener because it reduces waste both in the factory and on the job site. It also allows for the introduction of recycled materials into the concrete, reducing its use of natural resources.

Smarter Windows

Windows have long been a point of contention when it comes to creating eco-friendly buildings. Natural light, where available, is the best choice for interior lighting, but to install enough windows to provide sufficient natural light, you end up compromising the building's insulation. Thanks to advances in window technology, even clear glass can provide additional insulation.

In homes with traditional glass windows, upwards of 30 percent of the HVAC system's hard work gets lost through the windows. New green window glass reduces or eliminates that energy transference, keeping your home more comfortable and reducing the load on your home's HVAC system.

Green building techniques and materials are no longer a growing trend. They are quickly becoming a necessity, as eco-conscious consumers are shunning traditional methods for greener alternatives. If we can collectively start using more green building materials, we could reduce our need for fossil fuels and, in turn, reduce the number of greenhouse gases the energy industry releases every year. It's a small change, but if the construction industry can make changes after being entrenched in centuries of traditionalism, anyone can make a difference.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/56" rel="author">Scott Huntington</a>
Scott Huntington is a writer and journalist from Harrisburg PA who covered movies, tech, cars, and more. Check out his blog Off The Throttle or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.




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