Green technology refers to the technology that is used to reduce and reverse the impact of human activities on the environment. To be more specific, green technology is the technology that helps reduce the carbon footprint of human activities and so, is extremely crucial for the efficient and sustainable use of resources. The construction sector accounts for a large share of energy and materials consumption and global emissions, which underlines the importance of adopting green technology.
Green or sustainable construction, i.e., the use of green technology in construction, refers to the use of energy-efficient and environmentally responsible processes that can not only help make construction energy-efficient but also make buildings sustainable. The benefits of green construction are many. It increases the market value of buildings, improves the rate of tenant retention, reduces costs for owners in the long-term, offers health benefits to the occupants, and above all, goes an extra mile in protecting the environment by conserving energy and lowering the carbon footprint.
So, what are the green technologies that are being used to make green buildings? Here are the 5 most innovative green technologies employed in the construction sector –
1. Solar Energy
In construction, solar power is used as active solar power and passive solar power. Active solar power is used for both heating and electricity generation with the help of functional solar systems that can absorb radiation of the sun. Passive solar power, on the other hand, utilizes sun’s rays to warm homes. This is done by using heat-absorbing surfaces and also by the planned and calculated placement of windows. Solar power is an important component of net zero or zero energy buildings that consume zero net energy annually and also do not generate carbon emissions. This is called net zero concept.
2. Cool Roofs
Roofs or to be more precise, roof insulation can have a huge impact on energy consumption. Cool roofs are basically green design technologies that help maintain room temperatures within buildings by reflecting heat and sunlight. This is done with the help of special tiles and reflective paints that reflect a large part of solar radiation and absorb much less heat. This, in turn, helps reduce the use of air conditioning and thus, lowers the consumption of energy.
3. Green Insulation
Green insulation refers to adequate thermal insulation in order to keep the heat inside and ensure energy-efficient heating. The basic materials used for this purpose include – slag slabs, natural fibre insulation materials, gypsum board, vermiculite, perlite insulation materials, wool insulation materials, and porotherm bricks, etc.
4. Electrochromic Smart Glass
Also known as smart glass or electronically switchable glass, electrochromic smart glass is an innovative green technology to be used in modern buildings. The light transmission properties of electrochromic glasses change when the amount of voltage, light, or heat applied on it is altered. To put it simply, by using electrical signals, this unique glass can charge the windows slightly to alter the amount of heat or solar radiation reflected by them. This means that the user can choose the amount of light or heat that is to be allowed to pass through the glass. This can save a lot of energy required for heating and air conditioning.
5. Water Efficiency Technologies
A discussion about green technology in construction cannot be complete without talking about the technologies employed for ensuring the efficient use and conservation of water. Water conservation is all about reuse and recycling of water and the use of efficient water supply systems. Water efficiency technologies mainly encompass rainwater harvesting, greywater re-use, dual plumbing, and water efficient fixtures like shower heads, taps, toilets, etc.