Green construction isn’t just a step toward sustainability – it’s become necessary as the world’s non-renewable resources continue to dwindle. Thankfully, technology is making sustainable construction more viable than ever before.
Green construction technology is a broad category that covers everything from construction software to solar power and geothermal heating. In a nutshell, green construction technology is any software, item, method, or material that has less impact on the environment.
While green construction’s focus is to reduce the water, materials, and energy consumed once a project is built, it can also take a more holistic approach by lowering the carbon footprint of the entire construction project right from its inception.
Here are just a few advances in green technology that make construction more sustainable.
Cool roofs are designed to decrease thermal emittance and increase solar reflectance. They do this by reflecting more of the sun’s rays than a traditional shingled roof and stopping the cool or warm air inside the building from escaping.
Because cool roofs regulate the temperature inside buildings, they reduce the need to use an HVAC system, resulting in lower emissions from AC units and lower energy consumption. A cool roof can be made from cool roof shingles or tiles and reflective paint.
There are two types of solar power systems: passive and active.
Passive solar power does not require a lot of equipment. In fact, this type of solar energy relies more on smart home design than the latest technology. Passive solar-powered homes use the sun’s rays to warm the interior of the building by placing windows strategically. Large windows allow solar energy to pass through the glass, dark walls and other heat-absorbing surfaces retain the warmth to heat the space, and air vents or fans circulate the warm air around the building.
On the other hand, active solar power systems use solar panels to absorb the energy from the sun’s rays. This solar energy can then heat water or the interior of the building and reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources like electricity or gas. A solar energy system is one of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gases and lower a building’s carbon footprint.
Electrochromic Smart Glass
While passive solar energy systems rely on windows to let the sun’s rays penetrate a building, electrochromic smart windows can keep them out in summer.
Smart glass emits a tiny amount of electricity to charge the ions on the window surface, which allows it to adjust the amount of light it reflects.
While windows that block some of the sun’s energy already exist, smart glass allows the user to adjust the amount of radiation the window blocks. This means that buildings can automatically become tinted during the hottest hours of the day and become transparent at sunset.
Geothermal heating is similar to wind and solar power – it taps into the Earth’s energy to produce a renewable energy source. Geothermal heating works by burying pipes deep underground so they will not freeze when temperatures above ground reach subzero. Underground, the pipes remain close to 60 degrees Fahrenheit – so they are cool in summer and warm in winter.
Antifreeze and water are pumped through the underground pipes to collect thermal energy. The pipes lead to a heat pump, where the thermal energy is used to cool or heat the building.