Sustainable Construction Technologies to Save the Earth
Eco-friendly, sustainable construction has been developed because of the knowledge that buildings often negatively affect the environment and natural resources. This type of building is beneficial and non-harmful to our planet and it tends to use natural resources more efficiently. Due to the advances in technology, many traditional methods of building have been refined and new materials and techniques are being developed. Today, green building offers many options and architects, builders and engineers are exploring most of them in order to save the Earth.
Sustainable Construction Technologies: Wood
The search for new sustainable materials has made engineers and researchers find a new type of wood – Kebony. Not even ebony, which is considered to be one of the strongest and most sustainable types of wood, is good enough, and that is why a Norwegian company has developed Kebony. It is a strong, durable wood with non-toxic and eco-friendly characteristics, with a unique development process. The production consists of combining natural bio-waste liquid and heat with sustainable softwood and the result is this versatile strong wood used in many aspects of green building.
Of course, this expensive wood is not the only sustainable wooden material. For smaller projects, recycled wood can do the trick as well. It is composed of wood fibers and waste plastics and it is considered to be less toxic and more durable than traditionally-made lumber.
Sustainable Construction Technologies: Stone and Brick
One of the most beautiful natural materials is stone. It offers many possibilities in green building since it can be cut to any size and it can be used for any type of structures. Brick, on the other hand, is a man-made material, but it can be as flexible as stone since it can come in many shapes and sizes. Both of these materials are durable and can greatly enhance both exterior and interior of a building and are good for the environment.
Besides enhancing the décor of a building, stone and brick can better its insulation. Usually, these two sustainable materials are used in a form of cladding systems which provide good insulation and protection for a building from the weather conditions. However, stone and brick can be costly, but the investment will pay off due to their durability and quality.
Sustainable Construction Technologies: Natural Insulation Materials
Most of the conventional insulation materials are synthetic and contain additives and various chemicals. Due to their toxicity, architects and engineers tend to use a green alternative – natural insulation. This kind of insulation uses natural materials, such as wool, flax, hemp, wood and cellulose.
Sheep’s wool is one of the widely used materials for thermal insulation. Although it needs to be treated with chemicals in order to prevent mite infestation and fire risks, some of the green builders still manage to use it successfully without the chemical treatment.
Flax and hemp are natural plant fibers bound together with potato starch. They come in batts and rolls and contain borates which are great fungicides, insecticides and fire retardants. Additionally, flax and hemp have low embodied energy.
Wood fiber is another natural insulation material with very low embodied energy. It is made by compressing wood chips into boards or batts, including water or natural resins as natural binders. Since wood is one of the most sustainable building materials, this type of insulation is usually combined with wood cladding systems which are perfect for green building of any structure.
Lastly, cellulose is the most favored material among natural builders. It is a recycled product extracted from newsprint and other cellulose fiber. It can be easily blown into the smallest cavities of the structure’s walls, floors and roofs, but it can also come in many different shapes, such as boards, batts and quilts.
Sustainable Construction Technologies: Smart Glass and Low-Emittance Windows
Smart glass is yet to become widely available, but it is one of the newly developed materials that can change eco-friendly building. It is known as electrochromic glass and it uses smaller amounts of electricity to charge the ions and control the amount of light that is reflected. During the sun’s peak, the glass tints, while at night it becomes transparent, thus it reduces the energy consumption in the building.
Another green version of windows is a low-emittance window, coated with metallic oxide. This oxide blocks the harsh sun rays during the summer, preventing the heat from entering the building. During the colder seasons, it preserves the heat inside and lowers the usage and costs of heating and the consumption of HVAC systems.
Even though the costs of the initial investment in sustainable materials can be costly, companies and homeowners can benefit from them on the long run. Still, green building technologies are being developed and more and more companies deciding to rely on this uprising industry, which promises a healthier environment for future generations.