This transformative shift toward greener structures not only benefits the environment but also establishes a resilient foundation for the challenges that lie ahead.
We caught up with our multi-disciplined experts to hear what they feel are the three key points highlighting the essential aspects of creating greener buildings and infrastructure that are prepared for the future.
- Sustainable Design and Construction Materials
At the forefront of the movement toward greener buildings is the adoption of sustainable design principles and environmentally friendly construction materials. Architects and engineers are now integrating eco-conscious features into their designs, such as passive heating and cooling systems, energy-efficient lighting, and green roofs that promote biodiversity. Additionally, the use of recycled and locally sourced materials reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation and minimises the impact on natural resources.
Innovative materials like hemp, cross-laminated timber (CLT) and engineered wood products are gaining popularity for their lower environmental impact compared to traditional construction materials like concrete and steel. These alternatives not only sequester carbon but also contribute to a more sustainable and resilient built environment. By prioritising sustainable design and construction materials, we are laying the groundwork for structures that can withstand the challenges of the future while minimising their impact on the planet.
2. Integration of Smart Technologies
Creating buildings and infrastructure that are “future ready” goes hand in hand with the integration of smart technologies. The use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) allows for more efficient planning, design, and construction processes, optimising resource use and minimising waste. Smart sensors and monitoring systems enable real-time data collection on energy consumption, water usage, and air quality, providing valuable insights for ongoing efficiency improvements and maintenance.
Furthermore, the Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionising building management systems, allowing for predictive maintenance and the optimisation of energy usage. Smart infrastructure, such as connected transportation systems and energy grids, enhances overall urban sustainability. By embracing these technologies, we not only increase the operational efficiency of our buildings but also pave the way for a future where our infrastructure is adaptable, responsive, and resource-efficient.
3. Circular Economy Practices
A crucial element in creating future-ready buildings is the adoption of circular economy practices. This involves designing structures with the end in mind, focusing on materials that can be reused, repurposed, or recycled at the end of their life cycle. The concept of a circular economy challenges the traditional linear approach of ‘take, make, and dispose’ by promoting a closed-loop system that minimises waste and maximises resource efficiency.
Designing for disassembly and incorporating easily recyclable materials ensures that the environmental impact of a building extends beyond its operational life. The implementation of circular economy principles not only reduces construction waste but also contributes to a more sustainable and regenerative approach to the built environment.
Waldeck Director, Neale Stephens, concluded:
“Creating greener buildings and infrastructure that are “future ready” is a multifaceted endeavor that encompasses sustainable design, smart technologies, and circular economy practices.
“By prioritising these key aspects, we can construct a built environment that not only meets the needs of the present but also anticipates and adapts to the challenges of the future, fostering a more sustainable and resilient world.”