Consumer demand for green buildings continues to grow and an increasing number of construction firms offer a green way. According to the 2015 World Green Building Trends survey, which surveyed 1,026 construction industry firms in 69 countries, 51 percent of firms committed to sustainable design in more than 60 percent of their work. The reasons for growing consumer demand include:
● greater health and productivity
● energy savings
● water use reduction
● lower greenhouse gas emissions
● natural resource conservation.
As consumer demand for green buildings rises, the construction industry evolves new materials and new methods for better buildings. Five trends top the green construction list in 2016.
1. Cool Roofs & Green Roofs.
Cool roofs consist of reflective materials that deflect the sun’s heat from the surface. This saves between seven to 25 percent in cooling costs while also reducing interior temperature fluctuations. Cool roof materials include rubber polymers, foam, metal and tile. Green roofs feature partial or complete coverage in vegetation, as well as, layers of root barriers and irrigation systems. Use of green roofs doubles the roof’s lifespan, cools the home which reduces summer energy needs and diverts storm water. Used throughout a neighborhood, cool roofs collectively help reduce the urban heat island effect and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
2. Zero-energy Buildings.
Zero-energy buildings rely on renewable energy, usually solar or wind power, and operate off grid. These energy saving buildings also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Although more expensive up-front, the long-term payoffs make it a wise investment for many businesses. Solar is currently the primary choice in renewables.
3. Water Reuse & Supply Technologies.
With a goal of net-zero water use, construction firms now offer water-conservation mechanisms such as rainwater harvesting systems and greywater recycling systems. Business construction projects may include on-site sewage treatment mechanisms. These options recycle water while reducing the water bill.
4. Storm water management.
Storm water management uses landscaping to mitigate erosion and flash floods caused by rain or snow. The landscaping method uses a combination of container plantings, ground strip plantings and green roofs to absorb and purify water. This also reduces the runoff into storm sewers.
5. Low-emittance windows and smart glass.
Low-emittance windows coated with metallic oxide keep a building cooler in summer and warmer in winter reducing heating and cooling costs. A developing trend, smart glass, or electrochromic glass, uses a small amount of electricity to control the amount of light it reflects. This tints the glass during the day, blocking heat, and returns it to transparent at night.
Consumers continue to push for greener buildings that provide more energy efficient homes and business buildings that benefit the occupants. Businesses are among those looking for greater real estate value and finding it in green buildings that lower operating costs. In 2005, green construction comprised two percent of nonresidential building starts. By 2012, green building starts made up 41 percent of the construction sector. Green construction continues to grow with consumer demand driving it.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Econoheat., the world’s #1 leading waste oil heater manufacturer.