As material shortage concerns grow and material prices continue to rise, more firms are looking at alternative building methods, including what can be made from recycled materials. Engineering firm Arup, for example, suggests that the 60 million tons of food discarded each year could make building materials, helping to reduce the more than 534 million tons of waste the construction industry produces annually. Rock Aggregate Made from Recycled Post Consumer Glass is one type of material firms at looking at.
Building with recycled materials like Rock Aggregate Made from Recycled Post Consumer Glass also could reduce buildings’ substantial carbon footprint–they account for 70% of power consumed in the country both through their electricity use and through manufacturing high-carbon footprint materials like steel and concrete. Driven by trades such as insulation, roofing, framing, exterior siding and interior finishes, a Research and Markets report forecasts the world market for sustainable construction materials will be $187 billion by 2026.
Not only does foamed glass aggregate provide a lighter alternative to stone and concrete–something much-needed in applications where heavier fill materials would crush underground utilities or soft soils–but it also may become more mainstream as global sand shortages grow, which would adversely impact concrete production.
Europe, where foamed glass aggregate was developed decades ago, has led the way on numerous sustainable actions. It launched the BREEAM green-building standard in 1990, which rates the existing buildings on performance criteria rather than focusing on prerequisites for certification like the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for New Construction, Last year, BuildingWise and BRE Group introduced BREEAM USA.
The continent also is a leader in 3D printed buildings. In October, a Netherlands University completed the world’s first 3D printed concrete bridge and a month later, Denmark-based Printhuset completed Europe’s first 3D printed building.
Cost still a ‘MAJOR BARRIER’ TO GREEN BUILDING
Eight in ten real estate and facilities management pros surveyed by construction management firm Structure Tone say attention to wellness is critical to attracting and retaining employees, but that cost is a “major barrier” to green building.
In its annual report, the company noted that 17% fewer survey participants sought advice on resilience this year, although none believe green building to be “a fad”. Sixty-two-percent of respondents considered LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification to be a “valuable market differentiator”.
While concerns over climate change and the need for resiliency plans have ebbed since last year, the survey was conducted prior to the recent hurricanes and earthquakes that have devastated portions of the U.S. and Mexico.
American Construction is proud to be a construction company mindful of our green footprint, employing sustainability initiatives such as using sustainable materials.