Builders across the country are realising the importance of using green building materials and techniques. While traditional construction materials such as concrete have been used for many years, they result in fossil fuel depletion and greenhouse gas emissions.
To protect the environment and reduce construction costs, there are several environmentally friendly materials you can use. These techniques and materials reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, increase construction efficiency, and save on time and costs. Here are six green building techniques and materials to consider.
Traditional bricks have been used for many years in residential and commercial structures. However, these often lead to greenhouse gas emissions during kiln firing.
A more environmentally friendly alternative exists in the form of wool bricks. Wool bricks are bricks that have a layer of wool and a natural polymer. These additives make the brick stronger and less prone to releasing greenhouse gases. Wool bricks are also more resistant to cold weather and reduce energy consumption during winter.
Grasscrete is a form of concrete that is infused with blades of grass. In between the concrete pores are pieces of grass that improve drainage, durability and absorption.
Grasscrete can be used on parking lots, driveways, and footpaths to improve drainage.
It’s also effective in absorbing storm waters without damaging the concrete surface. Most importantly, the grass in grasscrete acts as a natural biological filter (to eliminate pollutants).
As well as green building materials, there are also techniques that minimise waste and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on construction sites. One of these techniques is construction waste management.
Construction companies are minimising how much waste they generate by recycling and using better waste disposal methods. For example, concrete can be recycled on the worksite by crushing and installing it as a foundation material. Crushed concrete is often used to stabilise parking lots, buildings, walls and floors.
Even smaller builders are upping their game in the sustainability stakes; residential specialists like The Sociable Weaver are carving a path as eco-building experts.
For waste that can’t be recycled, using better waste disposal techniques often results in less material ending up in landfills. Many waste disposal companies now use advanced waste hauling and sorting techniques to make waste management easier. Better waste sorting systems also allow contractors to use a single bin when dumping their construction waste.
Prefabrication and modular construction is also another effective green building technique. When a structure is built within a controlled environment, the materials needed are accurately measured in advance, resulting in less waste and more efficient structures. Building materials can also be selected more accurately and tested for structural integrity.
Prefabricated buildings allow contractors to plan for every aspect of the structure. For example, sheet metal for HVAC ductwork can be measured and cut, while the quantity of wood for floors can also be estimated in a timely manner. The end result is a prefabricated structure that is durable and energy efficient.
Straw bale is a green building material made from straw. It is naturally occurring and can be used to design walls and other similar surfaces. Straw bale is a suitable green alternative to concrete, stone and plaster. It also provides excellent insulation for both hot and cold weather conditions.
Because straw bale is rapidly renewable, builders don’t have to worry about greenhouse gas emissions or degrading environmental resources.
Advancements in construction technology have also given rise to green building techniques. By using the internet of things (IoT sensors), builders have access to device data that enables them to save on energy consumption. For example, different components in a building can be fitted with sensors that record temperature, pressure, humidity and CO2 levels in real time. These sensors can then be placed on the HVAC systems, lighting systems, doors and windows of buildings.
After taking relevant readings, the sensors will transmit signals that allow your HVAC system to supply hot and cold air as necessary. They can also enable you to save on electricity consumption by turning off lights when no one is using them.
IoT sensors form part of automated building systems and building information modelling. These technologies are key to reducing building operational costs and achieving sustainability.
In line with using green building materials and techniques, you need software that allows you to save time and money. To see how you can reduce waste and cut costs with powerful estimating software, get a free trial of Cubit today.By David Cartwright
Plus, exclusive access to our free guides, videos and live webinars.