You want to hear some good news? According to the World Green Building Trends 2018 report from Dodge Data and Analytics, green building is officially a “global trend” and energy conservation is a priority for people all over the planet. In the U.S., change is being driven by consumer demands, followed by environmental regulations and healthier buildings. Even better: the trend is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. In fact, the percentage of companies expecting to have more than 60% of their projects certified green has grown from 16% in 2016 to 32% in 2018. Companies report that they expect that percentage to rise to 45% by 2021. With more people building green, more people are also developing innovative, new and environmentally friendly materials to take advantage of this growing market opportunity.
Baldosas Solares de Tesla
Clean, renewable energy with sidewalk appeal
Gone are the days of screwing dining table-size panels to your roof to get the benefits of solar power. Solar roofing tiles are small, custom tiles designed to blend almost seamlessly with traditional roofing tiles. Not only are these tiles aesthetically appealing, but they also function as solar panels and are very durable to keep the roof protected from the elements.
You may have heard of Tesla Solar Tiles, but these are not the only options on the market. As you can see in the picture, they are undoubtedly the most attractive.
Benefits of solar tiles
Installation is relatively easy – These tiles are easier to install than traditional solar panels. The tiles are installed over new or existing roofing, and an electrician or roofer connects the units to each other and to the house’s electrical system.
Perfect for ecologically conscious homeowners who plan to re-tillate their roofs anyway, they’ll probably find solar tiles especially attractive. Solar tiles not only provide a renewable energy source and cuts in energy bill costs, but they also provide weatherproof protection for the roof.
Prices should be comparable to other high-end roofing solutions. With solar roofing tiles, the use of solar energy does not have to mean cutting off the electricity supply. Most solar tile systems are connected to existing power supplies, which are put back into operation after sunset and on particularly cloudy days.
The rebirth of natural materials
In the past, only high-end homes were made of natural materials. But today you can find many products and techniques that incorporate natural materials. Many of these techniques were used historically and are now reappearing.
Interior walls of rammed earth
Earth construction is one of the oldest and most durable techniques for building structures. Think of the Great Wall of China. Today, they can be seen in luxury homes creating walls that resemble sedimentary rock.
Tamped earth walls (or even floors) can be used as thermal storage, allowing the sun to heat them during the day and then slowly release heat in cool evenings.
This low-carbon technique uses forms in which the soil and binder are layered and then pressure applied to create a hard surface. These blocks use quarry waste materials to create cement blocks that can be installed by any mason.
The first American settlers used straw bullets for their homes on the Great Plains. Now the technique has been updated for application in new constructions.
The straw bales are made from the residues of the agricultural industry. It is a substitute for wood. The walls will be thicker than a conventional wood frame. These thick, well-insulated walls offer a very high R-value. Contrary to what you might think, houses with straw bales are fire resistant and can imitate any aesthetics.
Bamboo could be a sustainable alternative to wood. Although aesthetically similar, bamboo is actually a grass, which means that bamboo regenerates very quickly compared to trees. In fact, bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet – depending on the type of bamboo and the region, sometimes up to 9 centimeters a day!
Not only does its rapid growth make bamboo sustainable. For construction purposes, bamboo can be harvested up to every 3 years; conversely, trees can only be harvested every 25-50 years (depending on the species). The increasing popularity of bamboo has allowed many forests to regenerate.
Bamboo is a sustainable alternative in many applications, including tile, molding and flooring, plywood, countertops, and decks.
Prefabricated techniques set the trend
Structural insulation panels
Structural insulation panels are one of the most hermetic and well-insulated building systems on the market today. Due to the hermetic seal, they are ideal for green building. An airtight house requires less energy to heat and cool and allows for better air quality control. Some panels are certified to ensure that the wood used for the panels comes from sustainably managed forests. There are many advantages to building your home with these types of panels. Here are a few.
Energy is saved
Up to 40% of a house’s heat loss is due to air leakage. This solves this problem by creating a top cover with minimal air exchange and high thermal resistance.
Resources are saved
Foam and fibreboard, its two main components, require less energy and raw materials to produce than other building structures. They have the power to reduce waste generated during home construction to ensure the most efficient use of the material.
Improve air quality
A house built with insulation panels provides better control over indoor air quality, as the building’s airtight envelope minimizes or eliminates unfiltered incoming air. As for fresh air entering the house, controlled ventilation filters contaminants, toxins, and allergens while dehumidifying the air to reduce the potential for mold growth. In addition, they contain no harmful chemicals, which is another potential risk to the air quality of buildings that do not use insulation panels.
With each wall as a complete unit, there’s no need to frame with time-consuming sticks, insulation, etc. A complete house envelope can be built in a matter of days instead of weeks.
Cultivate on your roof
Living roofs, or green roofs, are defined as roofs with vegetation consisting of “a waterproofing membrane, a growing medium (soil) and vegetation (plants) on a traditional roof”. It is a somewhat rigid definition, but the result is spectacular.
Benefits of Green Roofs
Properly installed green roofs double the number of years it normally takes before a roof must be replaced compared to traditionally installed roofs. The average life expectancy of a live roof is about 40 years, compared to an average life expectancy of 17 years for a conventional roof.
A study published by the National Research Council of Canada showed that in the summer months, a green roof reduces the loss of fresh air by 70-90%, thus reducing air conditioning consumption. Green roofs can act as an insulating layer and reduce heat flow (heat transfer through the roof of a building) by up to 72%.
Improves air quality
Plants living on green roofs, especially leafy plants and flowers, can capture air pollution and filter toxic gases from the air. The energy efficiency factor of green roofs also reduces energy demand, thereby decreasing the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere.
The benefits of green roofs showed that green roofs have excellent sound insulation, especially for low frequencies. Green roofs can reduce outside sound penetration by 40-60 decibels.
Increase in the value of the house
Increased efficiency means an increase in the value of the property. In addition, green roofs are a sign of the popular movement of this type of green construction. For this reason, a live roof can help with home sales, rental contracts and lower tenant turnover.
On a green roof, rainwater is retained to keep plants from flowing into sewers. Live roofs can retain 70% to 90% of rainfall in summer and 24% to 40% in winter.
A green roof means more biodiversity, aesthetic appeal and more green space to relax, relieve stress and even for gardening (if the roof slope permits).
End of Life Upcycle
Sea containers are a great example of some high-quality waste in our society. There are millions of containers all over the world, and they are usually only used for shipping for about 20 years; at that time they are often removed and disposed of, even though they are still in excellent condition. Not only are containers plentiful, but they are intrinsically durable, relatively inexpensive and environmentally friendly (as they are recovered material). No wonder these durable containers are making their way onto the green building scene. Containers have been used to build houses, shops, artists’ studios, emergency shelters, schools, hotels, laboratories, apartment buildings and anything else you can imagine.
Aluminum or steel containers are cheap and stronger than average. They can be modified and rearranged to accommodate endless design possibilities. Because of their durability and resistance to natural forces, containers are naturally suitable for housing and community centers after a disaster. But the design versatility and sustainable nature of the containers have captured the imagination of architects, designers, and owners around the world.
Choosing when to see and be seen
In the winter months, bright sunlight flowing through windows can be one of life’s best experiences. But in the summer, that same sunlight that comes in can be invasive, hard and uncomfortable, not to mention rising electricity bills due to heavy dependence on air conditioning.
Smart Glass windows offer a solution to this problem. Smart glass (or smart windows) refers to glass or glasses whose light transmission properties change depending on how light or heat is applied. In general, glass becomes translucent in the summer months to block certain wavelengths of the sun, and transparent in the winter to let in warm rays. This translates into annual cost savings in terms of heating and cooling, as well as avoiding the cost and hassle of installing luminous screens or blinds. Intelligent glass can even reduce fabric fading by blocking up to 99% of harmful UV light.
Wood is still current
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! Wood is not a new material. It’s true that wood is an old standard, but it’s being applied to building materials in an innovative way.
The wood itself is replacing carbon in buildings, and when combined with sustainable forestry practices it can be a great choice for the planet.
Acetylated wood products
Ecological alternative to the use of pressure-treated toxic wood. The wood is modified by acetylation to create a rot-resistant product, improved thermal insulation with better dimensional stability and longer service life.
Cross-laminated timber and glued laminated timber (glued laminated timber) are increasingly used instead of steel or concrete.
Both steel and concrete production has a high level of carbon dioxide emissions. In comparison, wood from sustainable sources has a low level of net carbon. In addition, cross-laminated wood uses smaller pieces of wood, allowing efficient use of wood.
When exposed to fire, the charcoal on the outside of the mass-produced wood forms an insulating layer that protects the interior wood from damage. This allows you to retain the support even in the event of a fire.
Mass wood constructions are faster to build than concrete constructions due to the prefabrication of off-site elements.
The future of sustainable building materials
It is clear that environmentally friendly building materials are available at an affordable price. With the increasing availability of these sustainable building materials, we know that… the future looks green.