Sustainable construction is the new buzz word these days. It incorporates elements of economic efficiency, environmental performance and social responsibility. In simple terms, sustainable construction can be described as the application of various sustainable practices to the construction industry.

Here is a look at all the emerging sustainable construction trends in 2018...

1. Green and sustainable materials:

With various technological advancements, construction materials are increasingly becoming more and more sustainable. Further, these days, in order to achieve sustainable construction, construction companies are moving towards green materials and hence their market is expanding at a fast pace. Green materials are the materials made from renewable sources as well as those which can be easily recycled at the end of their lifespan or manufactured through eco-friendly processes.

Generally, concrete and steel are the two of the most popular building materials and their production accounts for up to 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. However, there are constant innovations being done to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from the two. But still there is a long way to go before the two materials can become entirely sustainable. In the meantime, material solutions like mass timber (cross-laminated timber, for instance) can be employed. Gas emissions are substantially reduced in the production of mass timber.

2. Modular and prefabrication processes:

Modular and prefabricated construction processes gained significant ground in 2017 and will continue to enjoy the spotlight in 2018 as well with a significant increase in their application. The two processes have become all the more sustainable by implementing eco-friendly principles into numerous stages of their production and development. In particular, green measures are being incorporated into the prefabrication process with the aim of cutting down on the construction waste without compromising on the quality, eliminating toxic substances from the assembly process and decreasing the time needed to set things up by using pre-fabricated steel frame solutions and flexible components. What more? Prefabrication also allows materials like steel to be recycled for sustainable resource management. Modular process also helps in saving resources and increasing energy-efficiency to a large extent. Modular construction aspires to minimise the environmental impact and bring to life smart and hundred per cent recyclable buildings.

3. Zero net buildings construction:

A new but fast growing concept zero net buildings is expected to be one of the major sustainable construction trends in 2018. Such buildings are self-sustaining i.e., they produce renewable energy to meet their own energy consumption requirements, thereby, reducing the use of non-renewable energy. Gradually, more and more construction companies are taking up such construction projects and practices.

4. Construction waste recycling:

Gradually, recycling of leftover construction material is also gaining traction and this industry is expected to gain momentum in 2018. Particularly, demolition and renovation projects create tons of excess material that is now being recycled. These days, even concrete is being crushed and reused in road construction as an aggregate base for roads.

5. Usage of environment-friendly and fuel-efficient equipment:

As our environment is increasingly being threatened by the amount of pollution that is generated by the heavy Construction Equipment (CE), construction companies are increasingly opting for environment-friendly and fuel-efficient equipment. Hence, more and more CE manufacturers are coming forward with green machines to make the environment pollution free. They are focussing on making CE which emit far lesser amount of smoke and offer great fuel efficiency. This is because CE are one of the leading contributors to dangerous diesel pollution. Hence, environment-friendly and fuel-efficient equipment are expected to see a boom in 2018. Here are changes that are being made in the CE to make them environmentally-friendly...

a) These days, the heavy equipment come with electronic engines which lead to high horsepower. This high horsepower ensures lesser amount of smoke emission into the environment.

b) Since, the modern equipment have fully automatic systems, the fuel consumption is reduced considerably. This again leads to less smoke emission and pollution.

In particular, if we talk about the indigenous CE manufacturing companies that are making green machines, then Mahindra Construction Equipment (MCE) should be noted. The company manufactures two of the most popular CE i.e., motor grader and backhoe loader. Both RoadMaster G75 motor grader and Mahindra EarthMaster backhoe loader are equipped with Mahindra DITEC engine which brings fuel efficiency down to an incredible 4.5 litres per hour and results in 10 per cent more savings. Further, with better technology and design enhancements, the two equipment are capable of lowering lubricant refilling requirement and sustaining extended service intervals, thus, reducing the overall maintenance cost and improving fuel efficiency. Also, both the equipment are BS III pollution compliant. Overall, environment-friendly equipment are not only beneficial for the eco-system, but also for the construction companies as it can reduce the overall cost of maintenance of the equipment. Realising this trend, CE manufacturing companies are now focusing on making green equipment that emit far lesser amount of smoke and give energy as well fuel efficiency.

To sum up

Sustainability is no longer an afterthought. It’s now a fundamental part of every construction process. And why not? Saving the environment is very necessary. Thus, global warming and extreme weather conditions rising through various reasons is making the construction industry to rethink about the construction practices that they follow. Hence, a lot is expected to be changed in 2018. It is believed that in 2018, the construction trends will include increased usage of sustainable materials, adopting eco-friendly production and practices and creating energy-efficient and healthy buildings—all of which are a significant step towards sustainable construction practices.