Governments and forward-thinking organizations have long recognized the importance of environmentally friendly construction. Throughout recent years, key players in numerous business sectors have endeavored to stay abreast of ways in which they may reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact to combat climate change. However, following the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference summit of October 2021, many have doubled down on their pledge to keep practices sustainable. 2022 promises to be a year of major change in the world of construction. In fact, more and more outdated and damaging practices are abandoned in favor of “greener” approaches.
In this article, we look at just a few of the exciting home building sustainability trends for architectural design and home building we can expect to see in 2022.
Recycled or Preloved Materials
The reuse of construction materials offers a double benefit. Not only is it a sustainable approach, but it can also save building firms money. With the ongoing risk of global material shortages pushing prices up and delaying projects, recycling is looking like a more attractive prospect with every passing month.
Of course, the upsides of recycling, reusing, and upcycling are much more far-reaching. The re-use of materials cuts down on the energy required to produce more. It also tackles waste levels and the use of landfill sites.
There’s also an aesthetic perk. The look of reclaimed brick, timber, and other materials is becoming increasingly sought-after. This means that construction firms can create properties and features that are just as attractive to buyers without splashing out on new materials.
One of the biggest changes we’re likely to see in the coming years involves energy sourcing and use. COP26 saw numerous countries pledging to pursue the wider use of renewable energy sources and the reduction of fossil fuel usage to cut emissions.
The creation of new solar farms will make a huge difference, as will the installation of solar panels on buildings. We’re also likely to see a rise in the number of electric vehicles on our roads. To achieve this, some governments have pledged to make it mandatory for electric car chargers to be installed in all new builds in the near future.
Our heating technologies are likely to change too, with new sustainable boilers, ground-source, or air source heat pumps. Also, other greener technologies are likely to become all the rage in the coming months and years.
Switching to Electric
MEP engineering services are also likely to undergo a change in the near future. Many old gas boilers and other similar technologies will be switched out in favor of electricity as the world continues in its quest for net-zero by 2050.
This is because electricity is far easier to generate in a way that is sustainable. The sustainable approach uses cleaner solar, wind, hydro, and nuclear power as opposed to gas and oil. There will be grants available to assist members of the general public as they make the switch.
It’s highly likely that we will see a rise in modular or prefabricated buildings throughout 2022 and beyond. Due to its capacity for waste reduction, people often consider this approach to building much more sustainable
Prefabricated buildings are carefully designed, with the same blueprints and techniques used over and over again. They tend to be a set size and layout, which makes it very easy to avoid over-ordering materials. This, in turn, heavily cuts down the potential for waste production. Construction builders often use sustainable composites throughout the construction of buildings of this kind.
Modular prefabs are extremely easy to heat and insulate – with cavity insulation inbuilt in many cases. Whilst property valuation models (examples from the UK) are still being questioned, modern designs can be optimized to be entirely powered by solar energy or similar, giving these properties endless potential for a reduced carbon footprint.
As we become more energy conscious, it’s likely that we’ll see the continuing rise of smart glass. This innovative element of architectural engineering design improves the flow of light while absorbing the infrared radiation that causes rooms to overheat.
This reduces the need for energy-sapping air conditioning and lighting. Smart glass also protects against heat loss, adding to the insulative resources of a property. This in turn helps you to keep the thermostat low in colder weather.
The thermochromic and photochromic smart glass automatically becomes darker when solar radiation hits it. Electrochromic smart glass, on the other hand, has electronic control by the occupants of a building to change in whatever way they prefer.
Commonly used insulation types sit among the least environmentally sustainable materials that are usable in construction. Mineral wools, polystyrene, and other types rely on the heavy use of fossil fuels for their production. Therefore, they are difficult to dispose of in a “green” way.
However, forward-thinking building specialists are now discovering new ways to insulate buildings without this negative environmental impact. This field of study continues to progress, but in the interim, there are a number of excellent options already available.
Cellulose, natural sheep’s wool, cotton (often made using recycled denim) and thermal cork are just a few materials that promise exceptional results. They are without any waste or high emission levels created by the insulative materials of the past.
The global rise in the use of sustainable, natural, and recycled materials in construction will help significantly in society’s pledge to reduce carbon emissions and waste production.
In many cases, the act of changing up approaches and materials will not only make buildings “greener”, thus improving the reputation of the developers and construction firms involved, but it may also save time and money in periods of shortage.
This is because “cutting edge” sustainable materials have some way to go to command the same level of demand as established options. Therefore, choosing them can help to build firms to circumvent queues and avoid paying a premium for run-of-the-mill items.
As time goes by and manufacturing methods are perfect, the price of sustainable building materials will continue to drop. This means that we are likely to see more and more of them as time goes by. This is something that will hopefully have a hugely positive impact on our planet.
In case you have architectural, structural, and MEP design requirements, or need sustainability in your home renovation project, feel free to contact us. We provide you with the full permit set design + T24.
James Durr has been a property buyer and developer for almost 2 decades. As one of the co-founders of a leading UK homebuying firm, he has accumulated a vast amount of knowledge in speaking effectively and empathetically with property owners and business owners to find genuine win-win solutions.