Green & Sustainable: Construction Trends to Expect in 2018
By Lana Hawkins
With each year behind us, our planet becomes greener and greener, with the society promoting sustainability in its every sphere, including construction. Thus, it’s not surprising that the year 2018 has eco-friendly trends in store for us that will bring construction to the next, greener level and significantly enhance global green building that is expected to double. While some old methods will be reinvented and improved, new ones will see the light of day.
Sustainable building materials
Construction will see an increase in the application of sustainable building materials, as the markets continue to grow – the U.S. market for green materials is expected to rise up to $69 billion in the year 2019. Green building materials made from renewable resources need to be produced according to green standards, which often entails the processing of waste, recycled and salvaged content through the application of eco-friendly methods.
Since steel and concrete are the most widely used building materials, the year 2018, as well as the upcoming years, will bring innovations in their manufacturing processes. These innovations will be implemented with the aim of reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during the production of steel and concrete.
Mass timbre, such as laminated strand lumber, cross-laminated and glue-laminated timbre, is an eco-friendlier alternative to steel and concrete that will see a rise in its application in the upcoming years, especially when it comes to the building of lager projects. Not only is this material sustainable, if appropriately sourced, of course, but its production emits significantly less carbon than the manufacturing of steel and concrete.
Self-sustaining green buildings
Reducing energy consumption is one of the most important concerns of sustainable construction and net zero buildings are the cornerstone of such policy. These building are based on the concept that they should be self-sustaining, that is, that they should consume the energy they produce. However, the next step further is net positive energy buildings that are designed to produce more energy than they consume. While net zero buildings have already been implemented into practice, positive net buildings will emerge to the forefront in the upcoming years. Both zero and net positive buildings are designed using a combination of advanced methods that promote energy-efficiency. In addition, owing to technological advances, the costs of building such energy-efficient constructions are beginning to decrease, while the use of renewable energy continues to grow at a rapid pace.
Another type of constructions that will emerge in the year 2018 is healthy buildings. Such buildings will benefit both the environment and its occupants by foregrounding two main concepts – improved air quality and increased amount of daylight. Through the elimination of harmful substances, predominantly volatile organic compounds (VOCs), from building elements, such as carpeting, paint and furniture, the quality of indoor air will be significantly improved.
As a form of support to the construction of healthy buildings, countries around the world will start implementing standards, such as health product declarations (HPDs) and environmental product declarations (EPDs). These declarations are implemented with the aim of promoting greater product transparency in order to enable architects to identify healthy and eco-friendly building products.
Old methods greened up
Although some construction methods are already widely applied, the upcoming year will give them a greener dimension. Namely, modular and prefabrication methods will become eco-friendlier by promoting energy-efficiency, which will lead to their even greater popularity and application in 2018. Modular installations, ranging from building components, such as pre-fabricated steel frames, to permanent modular buildings, will become significantly more sustainable. Not only will they promote energy efficiency, but they will also lead to waste reduction, better performance and even higher quality.
Construction trends in 2018 will focus on promoting sustainability of building materials and installations as a way of enhancing eco-friendliness of this field.