Climate changing technology in construction

by BIM Academy | May 10, 2024 |  4 min read

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On May 5th, the level of the Guaíba River in Brazil reached a record of 5.35 meters – surpassing the 4.76 meters reached during the historic floods in the region back in 1941 – leaving families, homes and infrastructure devastated.

Extreme flooding such as this have been relatively uncommon in the Rio Grande do Sul state in recent years. However, scientists believe that climate factors are now accelerating these types of horrific events.

As global temperatures rise, sea levels increase and extreme weather events become more frequent, it is imperative for the construction industry to adapt and address these challenges.

Brazil is not the only county to witness such extremities in weather conditions. We only need to look back at the fires that devastated Greece in August 2023. In parts of East Africa, there were five failed rainy seasons in a row between 2020 and 2022, as a result the region suffered its worst drought for 40 years.

The construction sector is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, accounting for a staggering 37% of global emissions. Leaps in technology are making it easier to build with fewer negative impacts and potentially reduce climate change, but more must be done to accelerate their widespread use to help fight the climate changes that are destroying communities around the world.

Actions to reduce embodied carbon

Increasing attention is being placed on embodied carbon, the CO2 emitted in producing building materials. It is estimated from the energy used to extract and transport raw materials, as well as emissions from manufacturing processes. The embodied carbon of a building can therefore include all the emissions from the construction materials, the building process, all the fixtures and fittings inside, as well as from deconstructing and disposing of it at the end of its life cycle.

And when we look at commercial buildings for example, the concrete and steel making up the structure and sub structure, typically accounts for more than 50% of the embodied carbon footprint of a single building!

So how do we decrease levels of embodied carbon? Fortunately, an increased focus on sustainability by industry leaders in recent years, some of which has been fuelled by government targets, has meant that traditional building methods are changing. The future of green construction still has a long way to go and will require significant businesses investment, but it is being driven by new and innovative technologies that are game changers for construction sustainability strategies.

Green Construction Technology

Construction is witnessing rapid change in innovative green building materials, such as alternative timber and carbon negative concrete.

Typically, when we look at green building methods we think about use of natural, recycled and sustainable building materials, combined with efficient design and use of water and power systems, a reduction in pollution and waste, and how to minimise damage to the local ecosystem during and after construction.

All of this is essential, but it is being supported by new and innovative digital technologies that are creating new green building materials and educating industry on how to use them.

Green building technology uses advanced technologies to develop buildings with minimal impact on the environment in all the lifecycle stages, from design, construction, operation, maintenance and renovation to demolition.

These technologies can include net-zero concepts – where buildings are often built to operate independently of the standard electric grid – solar power, low emitting materials and smart appliances for data capture. All of these can be incorporated into a sustainability strategy for both big and small businesses.

Green construction technology can without a doubt reduce the negative impact of the construction process on the world, and improve the lives of those living, working and being educated throughout our built environment.

To understand more about green construction, sustainability strategies and how to implement climate changing construction technology, contact Jon Stinson, BIM Academy Sustainability Consultant.