As technology solutions continue adapting to meet sustainable objectives, the reason to incorporate them evolve with them.
As international sales director for Kebony, a sustainable alternative to tropical hardwood, Adrian Pye has an insider’s perspective on how the green building supplier industry is being transformed. As technology continues adapting to meet sustainable objectives, the reasons to incorporate green building into all forms of construction are likely to grow and evolve with them, he says. Kebony’s technology permanently modifies sustainable softwood species, resulting in a product that performs to the level of hardwood.
What are some lesser-known green building innovations?
Although wood has been a major player in the building sector for centuries, many people don¹t realize the recent popularity it has gained for its natural ability to sequester carbon. More homes, buildings and even skyscrapers are using wood as the principle construction material in an effort to reduce the world¹s carbon emissions. Consumers are also unaware of traditional building materials, like wood, that have been modified for increased durability and sustainability. Modified wood products, such as Kebony, use innovative technology to enhance the properties of softwood lumber to mirror the characteristics of tropical hardwoods. These materials provide consumers with the desired aesthetics and performance while remaining environmentally friendly and safe to humans and animals. Most popular pressure-treated woods carry traces of poison, such as arsenic, which can infiltrate into soil, harm animals and be detrimental if splintered into skin. Instead of using harmful chemicals, modified wood products use a bio-based solution to transform the wood.
What are the best metrics for measuring green building techniques' effectiveness? How have building materials and supplies available to accommodate green building changed over the past five years?
Demand has increased due to governmental pressure and market awareness of alternative high-performance sustainable products in the market. With investors interested in this largescale market, suppliers have introduced more options to consumers, and with greater ease than many traditional products. Logistically, the demand for building products often supersedes how fast these products can be produced. For example, the popular outdoor hardwood Ipe takes 80 to 100 years to grow. In comparison, sustainable alternatives like modified pine take only 30 years to grow and three days to modify, which results in just one month of logistics from the date it's ordered. The introduction of these sustainable alternatives has given architects a wider portfolio of products to choose from and more flexibility than in the past.
Is using green materials as much of a focus, or is it more about passive design?
Passive design has transformed from a trend to a socially responsible practice used in all new building designs. Although most of these buildings are strongly passive, they¹re not always strongly sustainable, so green materials remain a focal point for the building sector. When combining passive design with green materials, architects can enhance both the building¹s performance and aesthetics. Often, buildings with passive interiors are faced with green materials, such as modified wood cladding, displayed in interesting shapes. These sustainable facades also provide the building with increased durability and decreased maintenance needs.
Are homeowners willing to pay for an energy-efficient home? What about commercial building?
Efficient homes come with greater upfront costs than conventional construction projects, but present lower life-cycle costs. Green buildings save approximately 30 percent more on water and energy usage each year, so
it's important for homeowners to consider the long-term returns when purchasing sustainable products. This is especially important for commercial buildings from an economic standpoint because building managers can use these savings to replace the funds needed for the up front costs. Commercial buildings also benefit from the longevity of green building because it reduces the need to hire additional labor for maintenance and repair.
Green architecture is still building momentum and the market is growing more competitive with time. Soon enough, the price of green materials will begin to level out with the price of traditional products, making green building more tangible to the average property owner.
Is energy-efficiency here to stay?
Energy-efficiency has become a top priority for younger generations. Builders are recognizing this demand and devoting budgets to incorporating green building features into more homes and buildings. These innovative buildings gain high-appeal from young consumers who are willing to invest more in a home built with sustainability in mind. These young consumers are also interested in technological innovations as well. The fast-paced tech industry is constantly changing green building by merging the latest technologies with design to provide the ³smartest² buildings on the market.