Large-scale building construction has both positive and negative impacts. On one hand, it plays a significant role in the economic revival and growth of a country and provides homes to millions. It also causes GHG emissions and other harm to the environment. This is giving the construction of energy-efficient buildings a major push by the governments.
What is an Energy-Efficient Building?
With a building that is energy efficient, occupants can enjoy comfortable living conditions inside with the least amount of energy consumption and optimum intake of natural resources.
In other words, having an energy-efficient building ensures that its occupants are comfortable and fully functional with ample amounts of natural light, air, and other resources.
Why are Energy-Efficient Buildings a Top Priority?
Global warming is accelerating and causing devastation in India and other parts of the world. GHG emissions are the primary cause of global warming, and construction and buildings collectively account for around 40% of carbon emissions due to diverse activities such as lighting, cooling, and heating of building materials.
The two major methods to reduce carbon footprints in the environment are designing an energy-efficient building that consumes less energy and employing carbon-free renewable energy instead of fossil fuels used on construction sites.
How Buildings with Energy-Efficient Designs Are Made?
Often called green buildings, energy-efficient buildings are built primarily from locally available and natural materials, are designed for energy efficiency, and use less water during construction.
A green building energy efficiency design prioritizes low carbon emissions and natural comfort for residents. As a result, it emphasizes, among other things, decreasing both operational and embodied emissions, employing renewable energy, and reducing non-biodegradable waste.
It’s worth mentioning that any building can be upgraded to a green building by adding or installing some green building criteria or features, or by upgrading to meet the green building standard, which includes:
- Residents have enough natural light and air.
- Renewable energy sources built-in
- Improved energy efficiency
- Water conservation has been improved.
- Widespread usage of environmentally friendly building materials
- Waste management that works
Top 7 trends in energy-efficient building design
- 3D Printing
- Construction Robots
- Integrated Environmental Assessments
- Sustainable Construction Materials
- Immersive Construction
- Zero Waste Construction
- Circular Construction
3D printing in the construction industry lowers material waste, speeds up manufacturing times, and increases design flexibility. This technology is increasingly being used for green construction practices.
Concrete printing and additive manufacturing are the keys that have made 3D printing a breakthrough technology in the field of eco-friendly construction of buildings. It is also possible to develop larger 3D printers that can manufacture complete building structures.
3D printing technology allows on-site printing of building components as well as the development of intricate shapes and designs. 3D printers can also manufacture structures out of locally sourced materials like sand and clay, and some printers even use self-healing concrete additives to minimize the chance of damage to the structure in the future.
Robots are greatly improving the efficiency, accuracy, and sustainability of construction work. These are increasingly employed for a variety of responsibilities, including site assessment and demolition. Robots and drones inspect sites and collect data to track development, safety, and quality.
Demolition robots dismantle structures and materials with precision and speed while producing minimal noise and dust. Several startups are developing cutting-edge construction robot technology such as AI, computer vision, and wireless connectivity. These technologies drastically minimize construction waste while increasing efficiency. Furthermore, the economic benefits of construction robots derive from their sustainability.
Through the use of IEAs (Integrated Environmental Assessment), the environmental effects of construction can be assessed and minimized. The use of IEA in Building information modeling (BIM) makes it easier to visualize a building’s systems in their entirety. The environmental impact of the building materials and processes is evaluated through life cycle analysis (LCA) while conducting IEA.
IEA is being used by startups to develop and put into use digital solutions for data collection and analysis. These analyses primarily include how building materials affect the environment, how much energy is used during construction, and how these changes affect the local ecosystems and communities. Additionally, designers use these evaluations to contrast various design options and enhance the environmental performance of buildings.
Sustainable Construction Materials
Sustainable building materials use eco-friendly and renewable resources to reduce the environmental impact of buildings and infrastructure. Recycled and recovered materials, such as steel, wood, glass, and plastic, are examples of sustainable construction materials that reduce waste and substitute virgin raw materials. It also contains bio-based materials that are renewable and biodegradable, such as bamboo, hemp, and straw. It also includes low-carbon concrete, which uses less cement and contains additives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Green construction materials that are more efficient, durable, and economical are being developed by startups to promote eco-friendly construction practices.
Immersive construction improves the construction industry’s sustainability by utilizing digital technology to facilitate collaboration, prototyping, visualization, and training. It generates virtual settings that mimic real-life scenarios. This allows stakeholders to more effectively communicate and collaborate — test and optimize plans before building.
Additionally, it enables real-time project visualization and exploration, as well as interactive and safe worker training. Immersive construction makes use of technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), 3D modeling, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI).
Startups are increasingly creating platforms for remote collaboration, the development of digital twins, and their management. This leads to better work scope judgment and the discovery of design mistakes in building projects.
Zero Waste Construction
The goal of zero-waste construction is to eliminate or reduce construction and demolition waste throughout the building’s lifecycle. To eliminate waste, use non-toxic and biodegradable materials, optimize material consumption, and integrate design and construction processes.
Furthermore, one method of reducing waste is to recover and downcycle construction waste materials such as concrete, bricks, and asphalt. Deriving energy from garbage by using it as fuel for power is another part of zero-waste building. This decreases environmental effects, and costs, improves quality, and increases social value.
The circular building reduces waste and regenerates nature by designing, manufacturing, and consuming items in a circular fashion. Buildings and their components are reused, altered, and rebuilt for as long as possible. This way, you can prevent having too many materials go to waste and having to find new sources of material.
Startups offer circular construction solutions such as modular building systems, round bridges, and environmentally friendly paints and coatings. These technologies allow for the reuse and recycling of materials, the extension of product life cycles, and the improvement of energy efficiency.
With the incorporation of cutting-edge technologies, the construction sector is going through a considerable shift as a result of the rising demand for environmentally and socially responsible structures. The development of more effective and long-lasting buildings is being sparked by these technologies. Because of this, they are improving overall performance while reducing the carbon footprint created by buildings and building construction.