‘Green tech’ as a label refers to technologies and innovations which seek to reduce human impact on the environment. It is quickly gaining a reputation as a dynamic future-focused sector, with some of the most prolific examples of green tech including electric cars, renewable energy solutions, and AI managed buildings.
Its influence is so considerable that even sectors such as construction, which have traditionally been slow to innovate and adapt, are starting to feel its effects.
The enormous carbon footprint of construction makes it an industry which is ripe for green tech disruption; in fact, if concrete alone was a country, it would rank third highest globally in harmful emissions after only the US and China.
This article will look at some of the most exciting green tech innovations within construction, and consider where the future lies for sustainability within the industry.
The number of green tech construction innovations currently in development are truly impressive, both in their diversity and their ambition.
One of the most exciting is the cutting-edge creation of living concrete. Manufactured from a combination of sand, gel and bacteria, this innovation from the University of Colorado Boulder offers the user a strong load-bearing material which actively removes carbon dioxide from its surroundings, and is even capable of self- repairing.
Although still in the very early stages of development, this living concrete offers the possibility of completely revolutionising the construction industry, both regarding its sustainable credentials, and its truly long-term durability.
Yet it is not only from these futuristic sources that some of the most exciting green tech innovations in construction are emerging.
The modern reinvention of the ancient construction technique of rammed earth brick shows this in action. By adding sustainably-sourced moist earth and gravel to conventional stabilising agents such as concrete, the manufacturer is capable of drastically reducing the environmental impact of a structure, whilst still creating a dense, hard product.
Additionally, using these materials brings beneficial temperature properties. In winter, the building will remain warm, whilst in summer it will stay cool, reducing the need for environmentally damaging heating or cooling devices.
Gement’s contribution to all of this lies somewhere in the middle. We are extensively researching the use of geopolymer cement – an increasingly viable alternative to the industry standard OPC, a constituent ingredient of concrete.
Geopolymer cement exceeds standard OPC in strength, offers increased acid and fire resistance, and produces up to 90% less carbon dioxide in its manufacture. Since the manufacture of OPC contributes to 10% of global carbon emissions alone, geopolymer cement offers the industry a stronger, safer and greener alternative to the status quo.
Although construction has had an indisputably damaging environmental past, the future is exciting for the sector.
This tiny sample of the broad innovations that constitute construction-focused green tech has shown that the industry is better placed than ever to reinvent itself as dynamic, sustainable and forward-looking, much to the benefit of the world as a whole.
Business Development and Marketing Assistant