In the past decade, the interest in green building techniques and technologies has increased significantly, and that interest is only expected to increase.
Consider the following green building trends that are expected to have a major influence this year (and possibly next year as well.)
Through renewable energy sources, net-zero buildings produce as much energy as they need. They are also designed to neutralize their water consumption, carbon emissions and waste generation.
The green building industry has been embracing the concept of net-zero in recent years and 2019 will likely see an increase in net-zero construction projects.
The World Green Building Council recently unveiled a worldwide effort called “Advancing Net Zero” that is designed to encourage and speed up the adoption of net-zero buildings, to the point that all buildings are net-zero considered by 2050. While this is an ambitious objective that may or may not be reached, it does have the effect of pushing building owners to reassess how they operate and developers to re-evaluate how they design with an eye toward both the positive and negative impacts of buildings on the environment.
With buildings using 30 percent of the world’s energy, there is a worldwide interest in meeting the energy needs of established buildings in a more sustainable manner. Nations around the planet are aware of the impacts of climate change caused by energy production, and this awareness is placing a high demand on owners of existing buildings to become greener.
One result is a growing push to retrofit existing structures with more energy-efficient materials and green technology.
Distributed Energy Systems
A distributed energy system is a range of energy production, storage, tracking and management solutions. A DES provides owners with any ways to lower cost and boost reliability.
With fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources becoming less desirable by the day, the development of different energy systems is creating all kinds of opportunities. Both existing and new constructions are being looked at for renewable energy possibilities and energy management systems. A DES can achieve what many green stakeholders are currently seeking.
IoT-Powered Energy Efficiency
The term “Internet of Things” refers to devices, equipment and other items that have internet-connectivity capabilities. A smart building makes use of IoT to lower a building’s environmental impact through the management of systems and operations like HVAC, lighting and security. By using sensors, scanners, meters and controllers, a smart building is capable of gathering information and managing various systems based on that information. A smart building can also uncover new insights related to performance and maintenance.
A smart building is more capable of incorporating a DES into its design and operations based on users’ needs to reduce energy costs, boost efficiency and secure the energy supply while lowering emissions.
The significance of having plants and greenery indoors is increasingly being acknowledged and incorporated into buildings. More and more companies are becoming aware of the advantages of having greenery within their facilities. Plants remove toxins, supplying occupants with cleaner air, which has been known to minimize fatigue, as well as support concentration and overall well-being. Greenery also provides a stronger connection to nature, which can reduce stress and boost environmental awareness. Greenery can also enhance acoustics by lowering the sonic reverberations in a room.
Inspiration from Nature
Often referred to as ‘biomimicry’, nature-inspired techniques and technology are appearing more often in green construction. For example, a California team recently unveiled a cactus-inspired, wall-based system that heats when exposed sunlight.
The idea behind biomimicry is that nature has developed highly-effective, sustainable systems over millions of years, and we simply need to copy nature’s best solutions.