Top 5 Trends in How AEC Are Using Green Building Materials in 2022
The building and construction sector will be an essential part of helping Australia work toward a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. Together, building and construction are responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world. Operations emissions account for 28%.
Furthermore, experts expect new construction to double the world's building stock by 2060. By using green building materials to change the way buildings are designed, built, and used, the transition towards net-zero carbon becomes more achievable.
Among other sustainable architecture strategies, architectural engineering and construction (AEC) professionals will address the goals of designing zero-emissions buildings with green building materials. Homes and other buildings built with eco-friendly materials focus on reducing their environmental impact by utilising both efficient and renewable energy and sustainable materials.
Green building trends in 2022 include features that conserve water and improve heating and cooling efficiency.
What Are Green Building Materials?
Green building materials are building construction materials that have a low impact on the environment. Using renewable resources or materials that improve the efficiency of how a building uses energy or other resources further reduces that impact.
Using green materials is environmentally responsible because architects and engineers consider the energy impact of the product's entire lifespan. Besides contributing to net-zero carbon building goals, green building materials help building owners save money and conserve natural resources.
Examples of Green Building Systems
Eco-friendly building materials aren't restricted to any specific part of a building. There are several different ways to make a building more sustainable. In Australia and New Zealand, 66% of AEC companies surveyed said that sustainability is an integral part of their business strategy. These examples of green building systems highlight the trends architects and engineers are using to meet low emissions goals in 2022.
1. Green Building: Radiant Floors
Radiant systems heat the floor and allow the heat from the floor to rise and warm the air. The most common types of radiant floor systems are electric systems and hydronic systems.
-** Electric Radiant Floors: **These systems depend on electric wires under the floors. They are easier and cheaper to install than hydronic systems. But the long-term cost of running the system is more expensive. Electric radiant floors are less expensive to install and run than other heating systems.
- **Hydronic Radiant Floors: **These systems use heating pipes under the floor. A boiler system heats the water, and that heat then disperses through the building. The long-term cost of running a hydronic system is cheaper than an electric system, but the installation is more costly. For this reason, hydronic systems work best with new builds.
These systems require less energy to run than traditional heating sources. Other benefits for building owners include:
- Reduced energy bills
- Improved air quality
- Fewer limits on interior design
2. Green Building: Grey Water Recycling
Grey water is wastewater that comes from kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry facilities. It does not include black wastewater that comes from toilets or urinals. When processed properly, grey water can be recycled to help conserve water.
A grey water system works by diverting chosen wastewater to a surge tank to hold it briefly. Then a pump sends the water to an irrigation system or a treatment and recycling system.
Sometimes, systems exclude kitchen wastewater because it's difficult to treat. Grey water from the laundry trough should also be excluded when it's polluted with cleaning chemicals, heavily soiled clothing, or dirty nappies. Buildings can use properly managed grey water for laundry, toilet flushing, and plant irrigation.
Grey water systems can conserve gallons of water. They can also reduce your water bill and help you conserve energy.
3. Solar Power
Most resources are finite. Solar power uses the sun's virtually infinite energy to provide heat and light to buildings. This power is a freely available, clean, renewable energy source.
Solar panels work by absorbing the energy from sunlight into the cells of the panel. The energy generates electrical charges, which flow into conductive wire. The system then converts and transports the electricity to the building to provide power as needed.
Solar power has a low environmental impact and puts less pressure on other sources of energy. After installation, the only operating costs will be changing the inverter and batteries.
4. Geothermal Systems
Geothermal technology uses the Earth's temperature to heat and cool homes or other buildings. Since the Earth maintains a nearly constant temperature a few feet below the Earth's surface, geothermal energy is considered a renewable resource.
A geothermal system works by circulating liquid into the ground through pipes. The liquid then circulates back up to a geothermal heat pump that heats or cools the building.
Home or building owners can recognise significant savings on hot water, heating, and cooling by switching from a traditional HVAC to a geothermal heat pump.
5. Energy-Efficient Window Systems
Windows can be where buildings fail to keep heat in or out. Energy-efficient window systems use specific window types, panes, coatings, and frames to maintain temperature control. Double pane windows with gas fills offer even more efficiency. Low-E window panes also have a thin coating that increases thermal efficiency to reduce climate control costs. Fibreglass and wooden window frames are generally considered the most energy efficient.
Energy-efficient window systems help reduce energy consumption. They also:
- Protect homes and buildings from UV rays
- Reduce condensation
- Offer noise protection
Sustainability Begins With Design
With the use of green materials along with renewable construction strategies like building information modelling (BIM), buildings will use less energy throughout their lifespan and limit the amount of waste sent to landfills. Sustainable buildings begin with a design that revolves around green building materials and methods.
Drawings and blueprints are an essential part of the design and building process for any type of building. To work toward net-zero goals, AEC firms need highly accurate large format printers with a sustainable design. HP is dedicated to helping AEC professionals do their part to achieve a zero-carbon future by using recycled materials in printers and accessories. If you're an AEC professional looking for a large format printer, then contact us today to discuss your printing needs.
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