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The increased demand for commercial construction combined with a focus on sustainability has created a need for innovation. Consumers and businesses are keeping a closer eye on energy costs, and many see construction projects as an opportunity to set a positive example. This has created an innovation revolution; researchers are quickly trying to figure out a way to create building materials that can be reused and do not harm the environment while being made.

 

Here’s a glimpse into the next generation of building materials:

 

Self-Regulating Materials for Temperature Control: Dublin Building Systems is located here in Central, Ohio, so we are no strangers to snow one day and sunny and 60 the next. When controlling the temperature on a large commercial building, climate control can get expensive. The larger the building, the less ability you have to fight against natural elements on the other side of the wall. The right insulation can only get you about half way there. Scientists are currently attempting to mimic in buildings what all living organisms do, which is self-regulate based on the environment surrounding us. Early prototypes have taken the form of self-regulating gels that effectively respond to outside temperature; in other words, they are made to heat up when conditions are cold and remain inactive when in the current temperature range. It’s like wrapping your building in an ultra-responsive and efficient thermostat.

 

Sustainable Concrete and Brick: It seems like New Yorkers aren’t the only people living in a concrete jungle, there’s concrete all around us. This comes with a downside, concrete production is dirty. It emits a large amount of carbon. Concrete is strong, but it is not permanent, so it will be made time and time again. Researches have explored the concept of sustainable concrete, which is made from renewable materials. The rice from ash hulls, for example, has been shown to effectively produce a form of concrete by holding sand and stone components firmly in place. Just when this solution couldn’t get any better, it is stronger than traditional concrete, meaning you won’t have to use as much.

 

Lightweight Composites: Composites have come into play more recently. They can be created to be incredibly effective and resilient. Next-generation composites will be lighter and possibly comprise organic elements.

 

Insulation: Insulation is the number one solution for indoor climate control. It is typically effective, but it is known for having properties that effect the environment as well as humans. These materials are also very hard to dispose of in a non-harmful way. There are a couple different kinds of insulation that are currently in the works, natural and different types of organic insulation.

-         -Natural insulation typically consists of recycled glass, clay and even volcanic materials. This type of insulation is created with tough materials that genuinely last longer than others. The downfall to this type of insulation is it can require a lot of time to install and begin using properly. They can also require additional processing that may have environmental impacts and certainly drives the cost up when compared to organic insulation.

-         -Organic Insulation. Cellulose has great advantages over other organic insulation sources. It is fire-retardant and can double as a repellent for cockroaches and other home pests. It requires less energy to produce than traditional forms of insulation, and production has a much lighter environmental impact than other forms of insulation. Cellulose is the most sustainable form of insulation that is produced and one of the most cost-effective.

 

It is very important that the materials listed above can evolve from generation to generation. Commercial construction is not slowing down anytime soon so it is important to have materials that are good for the environment and can reduce the energy costs. 

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