Based on Waste: 6 Sustainable Innovations Shaping Construction

Jennifer Turner, a manager at Protection Supplies, tells us about some sustainable innovations that could well shape construction across campuses.
With the construction sector contributing a colossal £90 billion to the UK’s economy every year, it’s unsurprising that the construction sector now accounts for 48% of the UK’s carbon emissions.
But with urbanisation showing no signs of slowing down, construction should only continue to grow if it becomes more conscious of the climate. In turn, Protection Supplies have uncovered the cutting-edge yet conscious building materials of the future, which is enabling the construction sector to reduce their Co2 output.
6 Sustainable Innovations Shaping Construction
1. Transparent Wood
Did you know that wood can now be treated and compressed to become a transparent material? Not only is transparent wood more environmentally-friendly than plastic and glass, but it has the strength of lumber whilst remaining far lighter.
2. Cigarette Butt Bricks
Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health, but did you know how bad it is for the environment? Discarded cigarettes make up an estimated 38% of all waste. To help overcome this problem, researchers have found that adding discarded cigarettes to bricks lessens the amount of energy needed for baking by 58%. The researchers also found that the bricks are better insulators than those without cigarette butts within the mixture.
3. Hydrogel
With office air conditioning accounting for 100m of Co2 consumption each year, researchers have come up with an eco-friendly (and money saving) alternative. They’ve developed the bubble substance, Hydrogel, which has the ability to cool itself down when too hot, making it ideal when layered in-between constructed walls.
4. Super-Hydrophobic Cement
By changing the microstructure of cement, it can absorb and reflect light making it the perfect alternative to street lighting. Often cement needs to be replaced within thirty to fifty years, however, this alternative product is far more durable and will last for up to hundred years. It also offers power free lighting and therefore can reduce the energy consumed and CO2 produced by lighting the streets of the world.
5. Breathe Bricks
Acting as a secondary layer of insulation, these pollution absorbing bricks can remove 30% of fine particles and 100% of coarse particles, making the air of office spaces and public buildings, healthier to breathe. This cost-effective way of reducing air pollution is especially good for developing countries were air quality is poor.
6. Bamboo-reinforced concrete
Construction workers are beginning to use bamboo as a natural alternative to steel reinforcement. Not only is it more environmentally friendly but it creates flexibility within the concrete, that can withstand earthquakes.
Bamboo also grows at a high rate meaning it absorbs a lot of Co2 as it grows, therefore increased production of bamboo is more beneficial than steel for the environment.
From the diverse array of innovative materials mentioned above, it is clear that the construction sector is becoming ever more conscious of their carbon footprint.
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