The following article is a guest post written by Amanda Bead, a recent college graduate and avid writer. While her primary focus in college was Psychology, Bead minored in English Literature and Accounting. She draws on her knowledge of these subjects to create online content that addresses human needs in a simple way. Bead is a writer for the cost segregation company, ELB Consulting. They save businesses money with energy efficiency guidance through the use of R & D studies, cost segration, energy audits and tax credits as well as a myriad other large and small scale services. Since 2001, ELB has helped our clients save millions by applying engineered cost segregation, energy efficiency solutions, 179D and 45L energy audits, tax credits, and facility assessment reports.
Green innovations have served to change the construction industry in many ways. Building green is the way of the future, so adapting can have benefits for both construction firms and the customers that will use the new buildings. While materials may cost more and it may take a little effort to acquire certifications for green building, having the ability to offer green building expertise can help construction firms stand out. Operating from a green building can also help clients in several ways.
Green Building Is In Demand
The U.S. Green Building Council reported that about 63 percent of construction firms had plans for commercial green building projects between 2013 and 2015. It is estimated that about $960 billion will be invested globally in green commercial renovations between 2015 and 2023. For a construction firm, being able to offer the most cutting edge green renovations may act as a competitive advantage.
Green Standards Are Good for Inhabitants
Green standards generally include indoor air quality as a focus point. With improved ventilation and building envelop, workers or residents that inhabit green buildings are exposed to fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and allergens, which may help to preserve health. Green buildings are also usually designed to optimize lighting, temperatures, and other characteristics that directly improve comfort levels. Companies that have switched to green standards generally report increased productivity levels.
Going Green May Increase Customer Revenues
Many consumers are willing to pay a slightly higher price for goods and services that are offered by companies that have environmental awareness as a value. Tenants are also generally willing to pay more to rent an apartment or home that is energy efficient and built with sustainability in mind. By investing in green renovations, companies and real estate investors may see increased revenues. Not only is it possible to justify higher prices, environmentally conscientious customers are also more apt to “buy in” to the green values.
Energy Efficiency Saves Money
Energy efficiency directly saves money on utilities, which can help to expedite the return on investment. By purchasing a green building or renovating for greater efficiency, clients may also become eligible for tax incentives. To obtain the greatest benefit, commercial clients should have a cost segregation study performed shortly after the building has been constructed or renovated. A cost segregation study can help clients to take advantage of tax incentives that may have been missed and take certain deductions faster.
There’s no shortage of company’s trying to improve the world’s roadways. Asphalt and concrete each have their own disadvantages, especially when maintenance environmental factors are taken into consideration. Plastic is a major problem for landfills, as well, as it can take an estimated 500 years to fully decompose. One UK company believes they can solve both maintenance and environmental problems through the use of recycled plastic.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is constantly researching ways to improve construction process and materials, like this material 10 times the strength of steel, or this solar cell that’s lighter than a soap bubble, or this “reversible concrete.” This time the Institute is showing off its autonomous robot that can spit out building structures on site within hours.
One of the most challenging issues with modular construction, of any kind, is the sheer size and weight of many of the components that need to be transported and lifted in place once onsite. That presents a specifically tough situation for jobsites that are not easy to get to. Arup, a design, engineering, and consulting team in the United Kingdom, has developed and successfully implemented what they say is the “world’s first modular glass-fiber, reinforced polymer bridge.” You may remember Arup from their testing of a “living wall” scaffolding cover that we wrote about last year.
Snow causes all kinds of travel nightmares and not just on the roads. Snow and ice can cause major airline delays and flight cancellations. Because of these issues (and the large amounts of money to be gained by solving them) several different groups of researchers have been hard at work figuring out ways to reduce and remove snow and ice from pavement without the need for chemicals and snow plows. The first technology to get a full scale test slab installed at an American airport, however, came from Iowa State University professor Halil Ceylan.
Maybe I’ve had my head in the sand for a while (forgive the pun right out of the gate), but I've recently found out that the world is suffering from a shortage of sand. The New York Times reports that the increasing demand of sand from manufacturing and construction in combination with rising sea levels and human development of shores is reaching crisis levels. Sand is used in plenty of construction activities, from mortar to concrete to brick and asphalt. We use a LOT of it. In fact, concrete production takes a whopping 80 percent of all the sand that is mined. So what can we do? One company says the answer is to drink more beer.
Solar roofs are an obviously popular choice for those interested in conserving energy, but traditional panels are extremely clunky and expensive. Tesla and CEO Elon Musk announced last year that they have solved that issue, which the impending release of Tesla Solar Roof, which look like a traditional roof shingle.
3D printing technology faces major issues when it is required to leave the shelter of a warehouse and step foot on a construction job site. 3D printers are extremely large, heavy, and rely on precise calibration for accuracy. Even the first 3D printed office building in Dubai, which was completed last year, had to actually have its components printed off site and assembled on site. But, Apis Cor, a 3D printing company, believes it has created the technology to print a full structure completely on site.
The concept of solar roadways has been in the news a lot recently. Using the millions of miles of roadways throughout the world to also create power seems like a no brainer, the asphalt and concrete we’re using now aren’t really accomplishing anything more than handling the traffic on the road. But, there’s also a very strong reason why those products are used: they’re strong, reliable, and relatively durable. Still, many researchers believe there is a lot of unharnessed potential for roads and the world now has a very strong test subject for the future of solar roadways in Tourouvre-au-Perche, France.
3D printed construction has been on top of the news the past few years, but we have yet to truly see many real world applications of the process. Last year, Dubai unveiled a completed 3D printed office building, which they say was built in only 19 days, but news has been pretty slow until the world’s first 3D printed bridge was completed recently.
It’s no secret that the United States dominates when it comes to LEED certified construction projects. The US actually has more total gross square meters and number of LEED projects than the the other top 10 countries combined, by almost 3 times, totaling 336.84 million gross square meters over 27,699 LEED projects! China, Canada, and India are ranked number 2, 3, and 4, respectively.
The US Green Building Council recently released their annual top 10 list of states for LEED construction in 2016.