Sustainability continues to be a major focus of just about every new construction project in both the residential and commercial sectors in Pennsylvania. Here are a few examples of some specific innovations with green living to be aware of.
Buildings designed to produce net zero energy
A net zero energy building is one that creates as much power as it uses. This is becoming an increasingly popular goal for construction companies, particularly in urban areas where there’s a lot of energy consumption happening already. Initiatives that can be used to create a net zero energy building include solar power features, rooftop gardens and water-saving initiatives.
Gray water and various water-saving initiatives
Water conservation is another important aspect of sustainable building. With water shortages becoming more prevalent throughout the world, innovators in the world of design and construction are focused on developing new features that will make greater use of available water and recycle it when possible.
One common method of doing this involves implementing changes to traditional plumbing designs to make use of “gray water,” or used water without human waste. Recycled water can be used for landscaping or for generating power in creative setups. People are also in search of water-saving appliances like low-flow showerheads and toilets, as well as tankless water heaters.
The use of green materials is one of the most important elements of achieving LEED certification, which indicates the sustainability of a building and qualifies the builders and property owners for certain tax benefits. There are a number of green building materials that LEED certifiers look for, including wood, bamboo, steel, composites, natural fiber, stone, cellulose, fiber cement, polyurethane, non-VOC paints, stone and slate stone roofing.
There has also been an increased exploration of using living materials in construction. Many promising natural materials used in building design are based on fungi and bacteria. As an example, self-mending concrete has been put through numerous studies and could soon enter the market. This form of concrete features bacteria that bind the materials around them to create a new material form. As it grows inside the pores of the concrete, it makes it more impermeable.
Green hydrogen usage
Green hydrogen has historically been difficult to work into projects due to its costs. However, it is seen as a big part of the future of sustainable construction, especially as it grows more affordable.
At this time, green hydrogen can be four times as expensive as gray hydrogen. However, it is expected that it will become cheaper than standard fossil fuel H2 by 2030. This is extremely important, as it makes for a brand-new renewable solution that can be used for a wide variety of construction processes and materials.
Interested in learning more about some of the major sustainability trends in the world of construction that we’re starting to see? We encourage you to contact the team at WSL Incorporated, a home building company in Pennsylvania, with any questions you have about green building trends and how we can apply them to your project.