10 Exciting Advancements in Green Building Technology

Between 2011 and 2014 national green construction in the US generated $16.7 billion in GDP between 2011 and 2014. A study in 2018 showed that for every $1 spent on migration activities such as improving drainage conditions it saved $6 in recovery and response costs. Green building technology makes sense because it helps owners do more with less.

There are 20% lower maintenance costs associated with LEED buildings. Green buildings and design have also created millions of jobs and will continue to do so.

Green building technologies have a myriad of benefits. And there are new advancements coming on the scene that will make green offices and homes more efficient and a healthier place to be.

Keep reading to learn the 10 latest advancements of green buildings technologies.

1. Green Building Technology and Zero-Net-Energy

Zero-net-energy buildings meet their own energy consumption requirements by producing their own renewable energy. As a result, these buildings also reduce the use of nonrenewable energy.

Since 2010 the number of zero energy buildings in the US and Canada has increased by 700%. Zero energy is a building trend for both commercial and residential buildings as it’s a way for designers and developers to stand apart from their competition.

2. Incorporation of Cloud Computing and Big Data

One of the biggest building trends lies in cloud computing. it’s now easier for third-party service companies and building owners to manage larger properties remotely. All that’s needed are software platforms that provide the following:

  • Data analytics
  • Fault detection and diagnostics
  • Portfolio energy management
  • Performance monitoring
  • Visualization

Even text messaging is now available using the cloud. Cloud computing allows companies to know exactly when to put in energy upgrades and even which actions are best to cut energy use.

3. Cool Roofs

Cool roofs help reflect more sun while preventing the air inside a building from escaping through the roof. Dark shingle roofs can reach temperatures of 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65.5 degrees Celsius) but a cool roof can cut down on those temps by more than 50 degrees.

A cool roof means the inside temperatures stay cooler during hot summer months and warmer during colder winter months. This helps reduce emissions that result from heating and cooling systems.

You can construct cool roofs using a number of materials such as cool roof shingles and tiles as well as a special reflective paint.

4. More Product Manufacturers are Disclosing What Chemicals They Use in Building Materials

Right now, there’s not really a standardized consensus on what constitutes a healthy building material and what should be on the “red list” of chemicals. However, thanks to building product manufacturers competing for their share of the market, they’re becoming more transparent.

However, until there’s a standardized procedure everyone will have to choose between using proven products and newer products that claim to be healthier. The problem is that it’s not always easy to determine whether those claims are true or not.

This transparency will go a long way towards compelling manufacturers to commit to using greener parts in their products.

5. Energy Storage

Energy storage helps balance power supply and demand. It’s the key to dealing with the erratic issues of renewable energy.

Putting together a storage system with a renewable energy source ensures steady power supplies, even in poor weather conditions. Right now batteries are most commonly used for both grid-wide and residential scales.

As energy storage technologies improve, battery use becomes more viable and affordable. In Barbados, they’re using old electric car batteries to provide grid energy storage and increase their lifespan.

6. Green Concrete

8% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions comes from cement. Globally, it’s the third-largest source of man-made carbon dioxide.

Green cement offers the same durability but it will help reduce CO2 emissions by 30%. Also, green concrete is being used to reduce the use of natural resources such as clay, shale, limestone, natural rocks, and natural river sand.

Green concrete should reduce the need to store waste materials that pollute the land, air, and water.

7. Green Insulation

Insulation is typically made from fiberglass. However, since insulation doesn’t need to be seen, it’s now being made of old junk.

And that old junk is recycled materials such as cotton and even recycled denim. In other words, old jean scraps are now being used as insulation.

Cellulose is Healthier and Safer to Install

Cellulose insulation is made from recycled newspapers. Blow-in cellulose can be sprayed into walls and attics rather than laid out in sheets.

Even fiberglass can now include recycled glass. However, cellulose is better at preventing airflow than fiberglass, especially since it poses no discomfort or health concerns.

8. Electrochromic Smart Glass

While solar energy is beneficial, solar radiation is not. While you can use awnings, shades, and roof overhangs to cut down on the light during the summer months, there’s a better solution.

Electrochromic smart glass cuts down on HVAC costs and even changes how we look at sunlight from indoors. Smart glass uses a tiny burst of electricity to charge ions on a window layer.

That changes the amount of light it reflects. Smart glass actually lets you choose how much light you want to block. And, it can be controlled by a smart building control system so large buildings can tint their windows automatically during peak sun hours and then return to complete transparency after the sun goes down.

9. Polycarbonate Sheeting

Polycarbonate sheeting is becoming popular with environmentalists, architects, and designers for good reason. They are known to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

When shipping these sheets, they help reduce trucking companies carbon footprints.

Energy Efficient and Shatter Resistant

They’re also aesthetically pleasing while being energy efficient. Polycarbonate sheets are translucent panels that help diffuse light while controlling internal temperatures.

The other reasons they’re so popular with builders is that polycarbonate is shatter-resistant and durable.

10. Smart Appliances

Smart appliances help cut down on waste while saving you money. You’re automatically alerted the minute there’s a problem with the appliance.

The sooner it’s fixed, the less energy you waste and the more money you save. You can even run them while away from home and they automatically shut off if any problem is detected.

Smart appliances communicate with other appliances, let you know how much energy you’re using, and a smart refrigerator can even tell you what’s in your fridge and recommend meals for you. All without having to open up the fridge and let any cold air escape.

Ditching the Wood

Part of green building technology is allowing customers to get what they want without destroying the planet. We still love our fireplaces but we also understand that using wood isn’t a good idea.

If you’re looking for alternative ways to enjoy a fire, we can help. Click here to learn three ways to ditch your wood.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.