Make Way for Sustainable Construction Practices of the Future

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Climate change is actively impacting the planet, causing extreme weather and leading to human health hazards. While the built environment is responsible for 40% of global carbon emissions, sustainable construction practices, and equipment are emerging to help create a better future for everyone. Here’s how the industry is striving to be more energy efficient. 

IoT-Based Technologies 

IoT in construction

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a game-changer in many areas of the construction industry. 

Cloud-Based Data Sharing

Cloud documentation allows parties to efficiently share and edit building plans without using any paper. Laminated blueprints are unrecyclable, but virtual ones don’t create a carbon footprint. Cloud-based data sharing can also reduce transportation emissions since teams don’t have to physically meet to evaluate a design. 

Today, there are third-party cloud-based services that allow builders, designers, and clients to share data and secure documents, making it even easier to ditch paper. 

Digital Twins 

Another IoT technology gaining traction is the use of digital twins. They use big data to create virtual replicas of a structure. When you create a digital twin, you can work through scenarios and try different design ideas without scribbling on a blueprint or damaging the physical twin. 

The ability to try new ideas on a digital model can save time on a construction site. It also allows designers and builders to walk through different scenarios to create the most energy-efficient structures. 

3D Printing 

With 3D printing, construction workers can create concise models and custom materials to fit a project’s needs. If you need a physical model, a 3D printer can quickly create one to test ideas on. However, the bigger impact is on building materials

Using 3D printing technology alongside IoT technology, manufacturers can make building materials from clay and concrete for use in various structures. Since they create the material exactly, they can do so to exact measurements and design specifications. No material goes to waste. 

Sensors 

There are many ways to use IoT sensors on a construction site. Some monitor weather conditions to predict whether working on a site is safe and time-efficient. Others can track where employees are to keep them safe and limit miscommunications about tasks. 

Sensors can also help workers decide whether to cut into an area when renovating or demolishing a structure. They can produce an image of what’s behind a wall, above a ceiling, or under a floor. 

These capabilities reduce the time a crew spends on the site, which means less time for machines and building processes to spread pollution and use energy. 

Energy-Saving Machinery 

While it’s important to reduce the time gas-powered machinery is on a site, you can eliminate your company’s carbon footprint with these new electric and hybrid alternatives. More manufacturers than ever realize the importance of combining new technologies with sustainable construction practices. 

Taking inspiration from electric cars, these machines are becoming standard in the industry. 

Sustainable Building Materials 

sustainable building materials

There are many innovations in the creation and use of building materials. From transforming old materials to factory-producing custom items, these practices can drastically change the amount of emissions created through the built environment. 

Here are some sustainable materials rising in popularity. 

Hempcrete 

Hempcrete combines hemp and lime, offering strength and insulation comparable to concrete. It also actually absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Hempcrete’s modular block structure is easier to build with than concrete and weighs half as much. It also has pores that allow the absorption and release of water, which makes it ideal for humid environments. 

Bamboo

Bamboo is an incredibly sustainable building material. It is strong but flexible and useful in many structures. 

The grass regrows quickly, providing plenty of material. It also can absorb carbon from the atmosphere. 

Precast Concrete

Concrete creates strong, solid structures, and you can mitigate some of its emissions with precast options. 

Suppliers produce these factory-made pieces to exact measurements to minimize the impact of the manufacturing process. It’s just as strong, and you can often find it in bridges, parking garages, and other vital structures. 

Recycled Plastic

More industries use recycled plastic in their facilities, from roofing to tile. Humans use over 130 million tons of single-use plastic each year, making it one of the largest carbon producers in the world. 

Using old plastic means it doesn’t have to sit in landfills, giving off carbon. It can also help prevent the emissions used in creating new building materials. 

The Future of Sustainable Construction Practices

Sustainability and the built environment don’t need to work against one another. The industry can use this equipment to minimize its carbon footprint to improve the planet one project at a time. As technology continues to advance, so will sustainable construction practices and equipment. 

  • Emily Newton

    Emily Newton is a freelance writer with over six years of experience writing environmental articles. She’s also the Editor-In-Chief of Revolutionized, an online magazine sharing the latest science and technology innovations. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading a new book or building a Lego set.

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