Over the past decade, many businesses and home builders alike have been implementing green building practices to ensure that the structures they make are sustainable and environmentally friendly. When looking at a recent study by Future Market Insights, it’s expected that the market for green building materials will flourish and grow at a rate of 11.8% until it eventually reaches a value of $823 billion in 2032.
Contractors, architects, and builders are all seeing the advantages of using recycled and biodegradable materials in their commercial and residential construction projects. These advantages include everything from better health and lower operating costs to a drop in resource consumption and energy consumption. Here are several of the latest green building trends that will become prevalent over the next few years.
Usage of Green Building Materials
When builders use conventional building materials like composite wood products or vinyl floors, high amounts of indoor pollutants can get into the air, primarily volatile organic compounds. If an individual breathes in volatile organic compounds, they may experience numerous adverse health issues, including eye irritation, headaches, and damage to the central nervous system.
In comparison, green building materials emit practically zero volatile organic compounds. Some of the top green alternatives at your disposal include:
- Bamboo is much stronger than concrete and somewhat stronger than steel, yet more efficient than both. This material is 100% biodegradable and is known to be lighter than conventional building materials, which allows for more energy-efficient transportation.
- Hempcrete – This is a combination of a lime-based binder and hemp stalk. It’s commonly used for insulation and has high absorption of carbon. The material is resistant to fire, pests, and mold. Keep in mind that hempcrete isn’t considered a standard construction material in the U.S., which means that buildings must obtain approval to use this material.
- Cork – This is a highly versatile building material commonly used for flooring, siding, and countertops. Cork is harvested from a cork tree’s outer bark, which ensures that the tree isn’t damaged. The bark will regenerate after a period of 8-12 years.
Biophilic design is a building concept that combines philosophy and science to better incorporate various natural elements into structures and buildings of all types. It’s believed that biophilic design has ample environmental, economic, and health benefits. This methodology is comprised of three core tenets, which include:
- Natural analogs – These are man-made elements that can mimic nature. The natural elements that apply to this concept include shapes, patterns, materials, and colors, which can be depicted in artwork, furniture, decor, and textiles.
- Nature of the space – A concept that focuses on configurations of space that use natural light or allow for movement. This concept aims to produce a physiological response in anyone who enters the building.
- Nature in the space – This aspect of biophilic design centers around nature’s physical components, including water fountains, natural light, potted plants, and roof terraces.
The phrase “Cargotecture” refers to turning shipping containers into living spaces or commercial properties. Even though this term was first patented in 1987, it has only recently become popular among developers and people searching for more sustainable and affordable living situations. The main benefits of cargotecture include:
- Greater affordability – These containers can be selected in 10-40 feet configurations, which amounts to as much as 320 square feet in living space. Two or more containers can be placed together to increase the home’s square footage. It’s possible to purchase a shipping container for anywhere from $1,000-$10,000. In comparison, smaller homes cost around $10,000-$40,000 to build.
- Better construction speed – Shipping container homes can be built in 4-10 weeks. Traditional homes take several months to a couple of years to create.
- Eco-friendly – Thousands of containers are thrown away every year. Recycling these containers reduces the amount of solid waste that’s generated.
- High durability – These containers are built from corrugated steel, which allows them to withstand inclement weather conditions and winds that reach as high as 100 MPH.
It’s easier to build this type of home in states like California, Florida, and Texas, where zoning laws are less restrictive.
Over the past 20 years, concern has been growing over the state of our environment, which aligns with an increase in the popularity of green building trends, products, and technologies. By taking advantage of the latest green building trends, it’s possible to build healthy spaces with much fewer resources and less energy. These trends will become even more important throughout the construction industry in the years to come.