More and more builders are starting to think beyond traditional construction methods as we reimagine how projects are conceptualized, designed, and executed. You only need to skim the headlines to discover scientists researching how cigarette butts can conduct energy in bricks and pavement and paint developers rethinking chemicals and colors for more energy-efficient homes.
On a typical Earth Day, the construction industry is usually called out equally for its role as both a sustainability leader and as a leading offender when it comes to the size of its carbon footprint.
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Last week, President Biden unveiled the American Jobs Plan, an ambitious $2 trillion infrastructure plan. In addition to investing in rebuilding the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges, there would be strong focus on resiliency and sustainability. The plan would also focus on improving drinking water infrastructure, energy infrastructure, and high-speed broadband infrastructure.
As a building product manufacturer, are you currently producing sustainable building products and materials? Over the past couple of decades, green and sustainable construction has slowly gone mainstream. AEC firms like Turner Construction Company, McCarthy, Clark Construction Group, and Holder Construction are just a handful of contractors committed to being more sustainable.
In the next 20 years, it’s possible that all the backhoes, excavators, dozers, graders, and other heavy equipment we use on construction sites will move away from diesel engines to all-electric. For years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been enacting stricter emissions standards for nonroad diesel engines like those used in construction.
Concrete is one of the oldest and most versatile building materials known to man. The Ancient Romans used concrete to build aqueducts, roads and structures that still stand today like the Colosseum and the Pantheon Today, concrete is used in practically every type of construction due to its strength, durability and versatility.
There are a number of reasons owners and developers, both public and private, are turning to green and sustainable construction. Energy use reduction and water use reduction are among the top environmental issues being addressed with green and sustainable construction.
Mass timber construction has garnered a great deal of attention recently, especially when it comes to constructing tall buildings. Over the past decade, tall wood buildings have popped in Europe, Australia and Canada. Initially, these tall wood buildings were topping out at around 10 stories. This is changing rapidly as a race to build the tallest has recently emerged with taller structures being proposed and announced.
Over the past two decades, green and sustainable construction has evolved from a fringe movement to achieving mainstream status. In a recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton for the USGBC, they expect green construction spending to increase from $150.6 billion in 2015 to $224.4 billion in 2018. The study also predicts that between 2015 and 2018, green construction will generate $303.4 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), support 3.9 million jobs and provide $268.4 billion in labor earnings.
I first came across the Solar Roadways project back in 2014 from an article in “Fast Company.” The basic premise of the project is that if all the roads in the country were “paved” with solar panels they would produce more energy than the country consumes in a year. The article also discussed some of the features of the solar panels like embedded LED lights for dividing lines, heaters to keep the panels free of snow and ice, and tempered glass that could support a 250,000-pound vehicle and textured to provide traction. The article also mentioned that the owners of the company developing the project were currently trying to raise $1 million on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo in order to hire additional engineers in order to perfect their product. (Solar Roadways went on to raise over $2.2 million during their Indiegogo campaign.)