Believe it or not, the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) states that the construction industry is responsible for:

  • consuming 50% of all our natural resources
  • 40% of the energy consumption in the United States
  • generating 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions
  • 24% of all carbon emissions

All of this, when put together, leads to a lot of wastage, additional costs, delayed construction timelines, and most importantly, damage to the environment. Given these facts, it is a no-brainer that the conventional building construction methods and materials are not feasible from a long-term perspective. But it’s not all doom – researchers, scientists, construction professionals, conglomerates, and novel businesses are working hard to make sure they find viable alternatives to these problems.

On that note, here’s looking at some of the top sustainability initiatives in the construction industry that are touted to transform the way things work, thus ensuring a multitude of benefits, including: 

  • Lesser exploitation of natural resources
  • Lower energy consumption
  • Recycled or recyclable construction materials
  • Lower transportation and logistical costs
  • Environment conservation

#1 – Environmentally Friendly Building Materials

Concrete is among the most extensively used substances on earth and while it has obvious benefits for the construction domain, it poses serious threats to our planet. It is known to emit massive amounts of CO2 – close to 2.8 billion tons – and is a direct contributor to the global climate crisis we’re witnessing at the moment.

Instead of concrete, innovators are looking at environmentally-friendly materials that are carbon-negative in nature. It won’t be too long before we see concrete being replaced by pollution-absorbing materials or those that are made from atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). 

#2 – Modular Bamboo or Bamboo-Reinforced Concrete

The world could do well to learn from the Singaporean model of using bamboo instead of steel for reinforcing concrete. This concept is revolutionary because it focuses on increasing stability and flexibility, thus making concrete structures more resistant to earthquakes. Bamboo is known to have great flexibility and high tensile strength, making it better than steel.

This is one innovation that we believe can add a lot of value in regions that have historically been susceptible to such disasters. Using modular bamboo is also better from an environmental perspective since bamboos grow naturally, at a fast rate, and have the ability to absorb CO2.

#3 – LED Lights

This isn’t really a new concept – LED (light-emitting diodes) has been around for a while now. However, not everyone has made the switch from incandescent lights or CFL to LED lighting. Modern LED lamps to consume far less power than traditional lamps, are much cooler, and also last 40 times longer. They do not emit heat or UV either.

Given the massive array of varieties, designs, and types of LED lighting available in the market, and all the benefits mentioned above, LED lights are a much better and environmentally-friendly prospect that needs widespread adoption.

#4 – Cigarette Butt Bricks

Incredible – that’s the only word we could think of when we found out that cigarette butt bricks are a real thing! The world smokes (a lot) and while that is obviously damaging to individual health, it is even worse for our environment. That’s because more than 1.2 million cigarette butts are thrown out and most of them end up in landfills or, even worse, within our inhabited environments.

While various methods of cigarette butt disposal have been discussed and debated for a long time, we believe we might have finally hit the jackpot. They can be used in the making of bricks – adding them to the process accelerates the baking time, making the production of bricks cheaper and eco-friendly. How so, you ask? Well, adding cigarette butts into the mix lessens the amount of energy required to bake the bricks by up to a whopping 58%. The final product also becomes a better insulator compared to traditionally produced bricks.

#5 – Exterior Window Shutters to Reduce Your Energy Footprint

To save on energy costs and the obvious harm that air conditioning causes to the environment (think global warming), you can invest in alternative ways of keeping your house cool and airy. One of the best ways to do so is by opting for decorative exterior window shutters. Contemporary exterior wooden shutters come in various designs and sizes, meaning you will never have a dearth of choices, irrespective of your tastes, preferences, or window style.

While decorative shutters look absolutely stunning and add a dash of charm and a pop of color to your home exteriors, one of their biggest advantages is that they actually serve a very specific function – keeping your interiors breezy and cool naturally. This means you won’t need to use the AC as frequently as you do at the moment.

Exterior window shutters come in a variety of materials, including:

  • Vinyl
  • Aluminum
  • Composite
  • Wooden

Some of the most popular shutter styles include:

  • Bahama
  • Country
  • Cutout
  • Louver
  • Flat or raised panel
  • Open or joined board and batten

Got questions? Read our extensive buyers’ guide here.

You can explore a massive variety of exterior window shutter options online at Decorative Shutters. Our selection of products features shutters that are designed to help elevate your home’s curb appeal, they also ensure greater energy savings and excellent natural ventilation.

Well, there are our top 5 picks in terms of modern innovations that aim to make construction more sustainable. Do you have any more you’d like to add to our list? Let us know in the comments section below!