Sustainability and environmental concern has become a staple within the construction industry in recent decades given how much more aware people are becoming of climate change, deforestation, and pollution in general. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 39% of the United States’ total energy use comes from buildings, along with 68% of the country’s total electricity consumption. In order to do their parts in making smaller carbon footprints, construction business owners have been adopting new techniques and designs that take the environment into consideration.
This is starting to be seen as a viable material for many structures given its incredible strength (nearly 2x stronger than steel), and the fact that it release 35% more oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide at a much faster rate than trees. Bamboo seems almost too good to be true from a industrial standpoint. It even holds the world record for fastest growing plant, reaching a remarkable 35 inches per day, making it a truly impeccable resource.
More and more buildings are beginning to incorporate bamboo infrastructure in a variety of settings, the most popular being residential real estate at the moment. Because of its falling prices, bamboo is quickly becoming a highly competitive material.
The amount and types of materials that are recycled on a daily basis should be seen as a goldmine for professionals in the construction industry. Scrap metal, cardboard, certain types of plastics, rubber, and more can all be used for interior or exterior components of buildings.
Insulation and carpeting for example, are typically made with products that have been found to be extremely hazardous to the environment. Recycled materials can effectively replace these, and even be melted down for later use. Paper insulation is perfect for filling wall cavities during the construction process, which also comes with a greatly reduced risk of inhaling dangerous chemicals associated with traditional insulation.
More professionals within construction today are seeking to cut costs on materials, while simultaneously benefiting the environment. This has led to extremely innovative thinking, resulting in a number of impressive inventions. One notable invention is that of self-healing concrete. Created by the team of Henk Jonkers and Erik Schlangen, this groundbreaking material (no pun intended) could save an unprecedented amount of money by reducing carbon emissions, and eliminating the need for constant repairs. This concrete harnesses the power of bacteria to fill any cracks or pockets of erosion. While it is still being tested, this is certainly a huge step forward in green construction.
The advantages that come with environmentally conscious construction are far and wide. Air and water quality could be drastically improved, waste streams coming from buildings could be reduced, and operating costs would be cut in half. Though the strategies mentioned above are just a few of many ways professionals are changing the construction industry, the future seems bright.