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5 Green Technologies Changing the Construction Industry

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As time goes on and technology advances, people are becoming more environmentally aware in all aspects of life. As a society, we want to change our advancement practices for the betterment of the Earth and humanity. This is how we end up looking at our most crucial parts of industry and finding ways to make these more green.

Exploring greener construction methods will ensure other industries become more sustainable, too. Several green technologies and practices are being introduced to this sector. Here are some of the most impactful ones.

1. Biodegradable Materials

Current materials used in construction can create a lot of waste after the building is eventually torn down. This can be toxic to the environment and take hundreds of years to decompose. By changing the materials used, we can improve the future without compromising the integrity of our buildings. In fact, green materials can often help the structure last longer for less money.

Organic plants like hemp or recycled materials like fiberglass insulation are good examples. Switching a few things or reusing items can go a long way in helping a building prolong its life and reduce the amount of waste it will produce in the future.

2. Green Insulation

We already touched briefly on recycled fiberglass insulation. While recycling of any kind is a plus, we can make our insulation use better and greener. Fiberglass is glass that has been melted down, which requires a lot of energy and can be harmful to handle. For greener materials used in modern-day insulation, look no further than your own home.

Cotton insulation has become extremely common. It’s exclusively made out of denim or recycled scraps of jeans. Cellulose insulation has also been growing in popularity. Instead of being pushed between the walls, it’s sprayed on, which makes installation easier. Incredibly, the material used in cellulose insulation is recycled newspapers.

3. Cool Roofs

The technology of a cool roof is less about the material it’s made from and more about the design. These roofs are designed and angled to ensure the sun is reflected instead of absorbed, reducing the heat taken in by the home and cool or warm air escaping through the roof. This may not seem like a major change, but dark roof shingles can reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit or 65.5 degrees Celsius, creating a lot of unwanted warmth inside the home during summer.

Reducing the heat from the roof lowers the building’s temperature. This puts less strain on air conditioning systems so they use less energy. Even using a coat of reflective paint on a new roof can reduce temperatures in urban and suburban areas.

4. Self-Powered Buildings

Self-powered buildings use green energy to power their systems, such as solar, wind or thermal. When a large structure like a skyscraper goes off the grid to use renewable energy, the money saved can be reinvested elsewhere.

Skyscrapers often install wind turbines on their roofs, while some suburban communities use geothermal technology to benefit the entire area. However, the most popular sustainable method is solar energy. Panels can be installed in any home or building and produce their own air conditioning system. It has become common practice to install solar cooling systems in buildings during construction.

5. Rammed Earth Brick

Rammed earth is a construction technique that’s been used for thousands of years. Due to its green nature, it’s becoming popular again on a global scale. However, this technique takes time to create.

To make rammed earth, one must mix soil with hard materials like gravel or clay to form a substance similar to concrete without the harmful chemicals. Then, it has to cure. The curing process can take a few months or as long as two years, making it inefficient timewise unless the process is more automated. With today’s technology, better automation practices are possible.

Portions of the Great Wall of China were made with rammed earth, so the longevity of this material has already been proven. Another benefit is the regulation of temperature inside the structure, which stays cool in summer and warm in winter.

However, water has the potential to wash away the materials. With proper regulation systems installed, this issue becomes obsolete.

Construction Going Green

These few green methods and others can increase a building’s sustainability while reducing its overall carbon footprint. Practices like these are used in every aspect of the construction process, from planning to siting to building. Even after a structure is complete, maintenance and use will contribute to how much emissions it will or won’t put off during its lifetime.

Sustainability can go hand in hand with energy efficiency. Thanks to our advancing technology, green practices are often cheaper and better made than others. One of the main hurdles for builders is the installation price. However, by making this small investment upfront, the rewards and money saved in the long run will only prove beneficial.

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