8 Green Construction Trends That Are Emerging in 2021
Green construction is more important than ever, and luckily, even in the face of a pandemic, sustainability trends are still going strong and will continue to do so in 2021. As more and more companies and households embrace green trends, it's important to stay in the know. Before this year is over, it's important to take a look at some green construction trends we can expect in the future.
Chase for LEED certificate
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is one of the most popular green construction programs which promotes the idea of green building, practical design, smart constructing and saving energy. Its goal is to create materials and businesses that have minimal effect on the environment and can result in a safer everyday life. Today, we have various construction materials and tools that already carry this coveted certificate, but in 2021, we will see many companies and materials fight to achieve LEED status. Some of the materials that are LEED-certified and are used more and more in construction are wood, bamboo, natural fiber, stone, cellulose, composites and insulated concrete forms.
Better building design
Architects are paying more and more attention to the house and building design by using their position and layout to reduce the energy requirements of the building. In 2021, even more thought will go into window positioning, wind direction, shape and size of the space, insulation and similar elements of the space that can boost energy efficiency. Building design is something that needs to be considered when building green.
The emergence of living materials
The use of living materials is probably one of the most exciting construction trends that will emerge in 2021. But what are living materials? They are biological compounds that grow, mostly bacteria and fungi, and can be used for the production of various building units. One material that everyone in the world of construction is looking forward to seeing is self-mending concrete filled with bacteria that create a new material that binds the materials around them. This bacterial form can penetrate the concrete pores making it stronger and more durable.
Shift to LEDs
For years people and businesses have been shifting to LEDs and ditching traditional lighting that not only wastes a lot of energy but also doesn't satisfy certain quality standards. Luckily, today, everyone understands the need for energy-efficient and holistic lighting, especially businesses that require specific lighting for their operations. Some companies like awarded BUCK.lighting have a selection of LED lighting solutions that provide an optimal level of illumination and various lighting scenes and lighting management systems for spaces that depend on good lighting. Some of their products are human-centric which means they mimic natural daylight qualities thus creating environments that are efficient yet pleasant on the eyes (especially important in hospitals, waiting rooms, office spaces, elderly homes…)
Reduction in embodied carbon
Carbon emission is created during transport and on-site activities, but this element is also crucial for the process of production of concrete, steel, glass and other construction materials. This carbon that is "trapped" in the material is called embodied carbon. Next year, we can expect to see more projects working with materials with lower embodied carbon content, which is great for sustainability and accountability (it can cut carbon emission right at the source).
Many urban areas suffer from droughts, and the future is not looking better either unless we all start conserving water. Wildfires in Australia and California additionally highlighted the need for businesses and homes to practice conservation. Luckily, we have already seen a rise in efforts to improve water management strategies. Most new buildings are using appliances and fixtures that reduce the amount of water needed to run a business or household. Also, we can expect to see better conservation of wastewater that can be used for maintaining gardens, washing cars and machinery and watering indoor plants.
Raise of walkable communities
Since Christopher Leinberger championed walkable urban place (Walk UPs), their social and economic benefits continue to be studied and promoted. According to his data from the report called "Walk-up Wake Up Call", these communities have a huge impact on sustainability. These walkable communities will continue to pop up in 2021 and they already score a 112% rental premium for retail, residential, or commercial spaces.
Focus on health
Health and design have been mixing for a while now, but the health-centric design will continue to grow in the construction realm and might become the next pathway in setting goals for green building. While in the past, people have been mostly interested in creating green buildings and acquiring green certifications, and since many achieved that goal, today, shifting the focus on health might be the means of keeping the passion for achieving high-performance green buildings alive.
Focusing on green building trends, we can all do better in creating a deeply green culture with massive benefits in ideas, innovation and talents. This year was a little lacking when it comes to sustainability (we had other things in mind) but 2021 looks very green, especially with these green building trends in mind.