The green movement is gaining more and more supporters every day, making the demand for environmental-friendly products and services grow as we speak. Consumers are starting to pay much more attention to the products they buy, the cars they use and the houses they live in, making room for a new trend – sustainable building.
Experts say that sustainable buildings are more healthy, reliable and, of course, energy efficient, thus leaving a smaller environmental footprint than traditional buildings. Green buildings are believed to be the future of real estate, as many real estate professionals are working to fulfil the consumers’ needs towards sustainable buildings, which are proving to be a long-term investment for them.
What makes a building sustainable?
Sustainable building has one primary goal, that is the preservation of the environment. The whole concept looks to meet today’s requirements for housing and infrastructure, while preserving Earth’s resources. It manages to rather work with the environment as opposed to exploiting it.
Sustainable building begins from the first stage of building development, which is the design. When building a house, it is mandatory to take into consideration all the natural resources of the site. Structure positioning, to allow as much sunlight as possible, natural ventilation, to reduce heating and cooling costs, selecting a site that involves as little deforestation and degradation as possible, are all taken into consideration before the development of the project begins.
On multiple occasions, green building manages to also give back to the environment, with the idea of rooftop gardens gaining more and more popularity, especially for buildings that don’t have much free ground left around them after construction.
Materials play an important role in sustainable building also. To lower the exploitation of new materials, that can lower the planet’s finite resources, constructors turn to recycled materials to reduce waste. Disposing of the construction waste also plays an important role in eco-friendly building and construction companies are constantly looking for ways to deal with the leftover trash. A popular option is turning to companies that sell or lease trash compactors. Just like Miltek are doing in Sweden, some companies provide consultancy and business reviews to help constructors find the suitable product for the type of trash they have to deal with. Besides helping the environment, these compactors also prove to be an economic benefit for the company. Compacted trash takes up less space and is easier to dispose of afterwards, saving valuable money and time and leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
Benefits of Sustainable Building
Everybody can agree on the multiple benefits green homes have on the environment, but what are the real advantages the everyday user has when purchasing a sustainable house?
It is true that the prices for sustainable homes and buildings are slightly higher than those of conventional buildings, mostly due to the rigorous requirements for certification and licensing. But the initial investment pays off, as sustainable buildings are proven to be energy efficient, helping the buyer recover costs in just a few years.
Reduced energy consumption
Using renewable materials, such as wood embedded within the walls can help reduce energy consumption, because they help with the building’s insulation. Besides that, modern sustainable buildings don’t only benefit from the use of incorporated energy-saving materials, but also renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind energy-generating systems. In some countries around the globe, they even benefit from government support. Governments offer funding and vouchers to encourage the use of alternative energy generators.
Lowered maintenance tasks
Many people come to the false idea that living in a sustainable house requires constant maintenance. The reality proves quite the contrary, as green homes and buildings actually have reduced maintenance costs. For example, using renewable materials that are specially coated reduces the need for exterior repainting and investing in an efficient plumbing system can help reduce water waste.
Technology Is Shaping the Future of Sustainable Building
With the tremendous benefits green building brings to the table, it is only normal for the industry to grow more and more in the future. Buildings that rely solely on renewable energy, construction material that are 100% recycled may all be possible due to technological advancements. But how will sustainable building continue to evolve in the future? Is it just a trend or is it really the future of the real estate industry?
Using technology to analyze energy usage early on
Thanks to the latest technology, architects and engineers can use analysis tools to evaluate building performance. For example, taking advantage of as much daylight as possible is crucial for green buildings, as it can help significantly reduce the use of electricity and lower energy costs. With the help of such analysis tools, that are integrated with the design programs, architects can do so from the beginning of the design process, not needing to wait for the help of consultants. This can later be used when discussing with clients, to support the designers’ key decisions, such as windows, materials and building placement.
Generative design technology
By using generative-design software, architects and engineers can feed the program information such as design goals, materials, manufacturing methods and cost limits and it will generate building designs that fit the criteria. While the software is not expected to generate complete architectural designs, having a dashboard that constantly receives feedback from architects and adjusts the design as it goes can be extremely helpful.
Smart Sensor Integration
Green building and smart building go hand in hand, as the integration of smart sensors is turning out to be quite a popular request, especially in office buildings. The sensors measure aspects such as building occupancy, room temperature and air quality to demonstrate building performance. This software is currently known as building-management system (BMS). For example, some sensors can count the people inside a room and adjust room temperature and ventilation. This helps significantly reducing carbon-dioxide buildup and energy costs. Other sensors, such as climate-control systems, can help the building rely on weather forecasts to cool down or heat up the floors before the employees arrive.