There are a number of reasons owners and developers are moving in the direction of green and sustainable construction. Environmental concerns, such as reducing construction waste and lowering greenhouse gas emissions, as well as conserving natural resources all play an important part in going green. 

A new study published by Dodge Data & Analytics shows forty-seven percent of those participating in the World Green Building Trends 2018 SmartMarket Report expects to do the majority of their projects (more than 60%) green in the next three years. The industry report also specifies the international market for green construction projects has notably grown over the last decade, while demand for green building activity is expected to increase.

Further, costs associated with green building declined dramatically from over three-quarters in 2012 to under half in 2018.

Chris Nelson, premier sponsor of the study explains, “The fact is, green buildings provide a triple win – delivering measurable benefits for building owners, occupants and the public from reduced operating costs, improved indoor air quality and reduced energy consumption.”

Toronto executive, Michael Beattie, who has been providing construction and operations management in Canada and the U.S. for more than two decades, comments on the cost-saving advantages to going green. 

“Green buildings benefit from lower annual operating costs.  Decreased energy and water usage equals lower utility bills. More cost savings also arise from landscaping efficiency and materials efficiency,” Toronto’s Michael Beattie explains.

As a result of lowered costs, more construction companies are opting to go green.

Here’s a look at some of the emerging sustainable trends in today’s industry.

Recycling construction materials 

There has been an increased practice to divert waste from ending up in landfills.  Instead of demolishing buildings, contractors are deconstructing them in order to reuse and recycle materials, giving components a second shelf life. 

Metals like steel and copper can be removed and repurposed.  Wood can be reclaimed and other components like light fixtures and windows can be salvaged and used in other buildings.

“Even old concrete can be collected and blended for new concrete or as base material for road construction,” Beattie adds.

Zero net energy buildings

Zero net energy (ZNE) buildings are emerging as a favorable trend in green construction practices. A building with zero net energy consumption means the total amount of energy used by the building on a yearly basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.  Old energy resources are replaced with materials like solar panels or wind turbines.  Sometimes, buildings can become net-positive, which means they produce more energy than they consume.

ZNE buildings are also constructed to minimize the amount of energy usage in ways like including LED lighting or motion sensors. Heating and cooling costs are lowered by using high-efficiency heat pumps rather than furnaces, and by adding extra insulation and high-efficiency windows.

Taking an organic approach to construction

The construction industry is becoming aware of how green buildings can make people who live inside them healthier, happier and more productive, so they are taking a holistic approach in their building methods.  This includes the preservation of natural resources, reduction of pollution, prioritization of ventilation and air quality, and the use of non-toxic materials. In addition, green buildings typically have better indoor air quality and more natural lighting.

These emerging green building practices will ultimately help preserve our carbon footprint and sustain the environments’ natural resources for current and future generations.

Published by rudds james