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Top Green Building trends for 2013

LEED, living buildings and garden roofs; find out what's on this year's green building agenda for contractors and consumers
 What to watch this year in Green Building
 
 

In many areas of business and industry, eco-friendliness is becoming a primary concern. Even construction firms now strive to come up with ways to reduce their carbon footprints and curtail the damage to the environment caused by their products and/or processes. Traditional construction methods and materials are widely being discarded in favor of more environmentally-friendly options, and the trend is expected to continue in the coming years. Here's a look at some of the more promising eco-friendly trends in the construction industry.

Solar energy

An increasing number of structures constructed today have solar energy panels installed on the roof. This trend is expected to continue as more and more homeowners demand alternative energy sources. In addition to being less harmful to the environment, solar energy fixtures will also help reduce energy costs.

Bamboo flooring

The eco-friendly approach will inform the choice of flooring materials as well, and bamboo is fast becoming a popular option. A durable and widely available material, bamboo is expected to be a mainstay of home and business construction in the coming years.

Recycled materials

Although recycled and recyclable materials have long been used in the construction industry, this usage is expected to increase as time goes on.

For an increasing number of people, eco-friendliness also extends to the materials used, and recycled materials are fast becoming a popular option.

Energy efficient processes

Eco-friendliness is expected to increase with regard to processes as well. While there will be a continued focus on constructing eco-friendly structures, many builders will look toward making the construction process itself as environmentally-friendly as possible.

Smaller structures

The trend toward sprawling homes and towering structures over the past several years is expected to give way to the construction of smaller structures. Aside from requiring less space and fewer materials, such structures will also have reduced energy requirements, making them even better suited to eco-friendly applications.

Green roofing

Even roofing materials and processes will be increasingly informed by eco- friendly principles. As with flooring materials, many companies are now looking for alternatives that are just as effective, but will have reduced negative impact on the environment.

Increased emphasis on the “green” standard

Eco-friendly practices haven’t always been readily accepted in the construction industry, but this is quickly changing. Along with the growing realization of construction’s role in contributing to a more environment friendly industry, consumer demands will necessitate a shift towards providing more eco-friendly options. Some construction companies that have previously been resistant towards such changes may even adopt eco- friendliness as a primary approach.

More efficient heating and cooling

Reducing energy consumption has always been a priority in the industry– particularly with regard to cooling and heating concerns–and more companies will provide more eco-friendly options in this specific area. Again this will be the result of continued interest in reducing construction and maintain costs, as well as increased consumer demand.

Increased use of natural resources

More and more designs will feature stone as a primary component. Already a popular option in many areas of the industry, stone will play an increasing role in construction due to its widespread availability, comparatively low cost, and reduced environmental impact.

Availability of more eco-friendly options

It wasn’t so long ago that eco-friendly options were unavailable in even the largest construction depots and home supply emporiums. While most people would have had to turn to smaller specialty outlets for their needs, even the bigger chains now offer several eco-friendly alternatives to traditional construction materials. This trend is expected to continue well into the coming years, heralding a noticeable shift toward a more eco- friendly industry in general.

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