Sustainable Building Materials — a New Trend in Global Construction Industry, says Beroe Inc.
Posted: October 1, 2021 | Project Management
The construction sector has always faced criticism for its carbon emissions. Starting from the infrastructure to the particulate emissions left behind in the air, it acts as a source of air and sound pollution; this has pushed the sector toward finding more sustainable ways of building. Owing to this, in recent times, sustainable building materials have gained prominence as the global construction industry’s newest trend.
“Governments across the globe are taking various measures to address the issue of pollution caused by the construction sector. Concepts like LEED certification have been implemented in most developed countries to ensure energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Roshni Nair, Lead Analyst at Beroe. “However, several construction firms believe that sustainable raw materials will be a lasting solution to present issues. There are several innovative products in the market and under research that are environmentally friendly and help improve overall sustainability levels in a building.”
Sustainable materials (such as tree bark, straw bales, cork, and precast concrete slabs) and green technologies have been implemented successfully in various sectors such as commercial, retail, industrial, and healthcare. Several construction firms in the U.S., Europe, and Asia have been actively using such green materials to reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency and overall cost savings. The types of sustainable building materials include reclaimed wood, insulated concrete forms, bamboo, green thermal insulation (such as wool, polyester, hempcrete, and cellulose), reclaimed steel, bio walls, structural insulated panels, aerocon blocks, electrochromic glass, and recycled rubber.
There are numerous drivers to this trend:
• Cost Savings: The overall construction cost is reduced by 5−15% because there is a drop in building operational costs. It depends on the kind of material that is incorporated to promote sustainability. Moreover, if some investment goes into keeping the structure energy-efficient, it further reduces operational costs.
• Regulatory Incentives: Most governments have imposed laws on increasing construction sustainability. There are mandatory laws that construction firms need to follow, such as minimum requirements and soft laws, which are voluntary tenets that earn building firms incentives in case of fulfillment.
• Increased Market Demand: People are more inclined toward buying places with more sustainability documentation. These buildings normally have higher occupancy rates and higher rental rates too, since they are always the first choice of tenants. The materials result in improved occupant health as well.
• Higher Quality and Property Value: Sustainable building solutions result in reduced risks and increased recyclability. They also improve the building quality and thus, raise the property value. The biggest challenge, however, is to prove the cost and efficiency in a consistent way toward the industry.
The constraints to property that is made with sustainable materials are:
• High Initial Investment: The use of sustainable building materials results in a high initial investment, which most buyers find a burden. This is because the early-stage funds and down payments increase when compared to regular property.
• COVID-19 Impact: Many construction firms have been facing funding shortages because payment terms have been revised in the aftermath of the pandemic. For small companies that have faced a financial crunch due to lessened profits and job losses, it becomes difficult to afford such buildings as office spaces or homes. Buyers also encounter issues with construction tied up with third-party finance companies.
The implementation of green building materials in construction will result in decreased operating costs of all facilities. Buildings with LEED certifications have recorded a 20% decrease in annual maintenance costs. They also tend to attract higher rents. For example, in Los Angeles, a traditional building gets an average of $2.16 per sq. ft., but a LEED-certified one rents out for $2.91 per sq. ft. on an average. The government has also implemented rules that improve energy efficiency in all buildings. With anticipated cost savings with these materials, this acts as a major driver of the green building material sector.
“The increasing need and growing demand for sustainable buildings worldwide mandate a change in traditional technologies and practices. This change can be brought about by adopting green materials in building construction, which will lead to better energy efficiency and waste management,” said Roshni Nair, Lead Analyst at Beroe. “This concept has been successful in developed nations, and if replicated in other countries, it will help build a long-term sustainable construction industry. In both developing and developed markets, the introduction of this concept, along with advanced technology, will improve the utilization of available resources, construction products, and environmental conditions.”
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