3 Inspiring Constructions Stories of 2015

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Green construction refers to a sustainable building process that is both environmentally friendly and resource responsible. Although it may sound like the most logical way to approach construction, it has rarely been the first choice. When faced with a growing population in need of housing, it has been more convenient for developers to rely on the tried and tested methods that use concrete, steel and machinery.

These outdated but reliable methods are responsible for shocking environmental statistics: buildings in the EU are accountable for 36% of carbon dioxide emissions and 40% of energy use.

Due to such startling revelations, the expert construction and crane hire company Emerson Crane Hire say that green construction could soon become the norm. It’s adoption will certainly be necessary if the UK’s construction sector is going to succeed in reducing over 50% its of energy consumption and carbon emissions by 2050.

Providing a glimpse of how the future might look, here are three recent green construction stories from around the world.

Bristol, UK

As the property expert company We Buy Any Home have mentioned in their blog ‘Unconventional-Houses’ Trends of 2015, there a number of straw houses currently on the market in Bristol.

The straw houses, born out of an engineering research project from the University of Bath, share a street with regular brick-built homes, but you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart unless you saw how much they were selling for.

Though they are encased in brick, the build cost is 20% lower than usual thanks to the pre-fabricated design of timber frames and wooden boards stuffed with straw bales.

The benefit of using natural resources means that the buildings are more efficiently insulated than regular brick houses (they can reduce energy bills by up to 90%). Furthermore, because straw, a natural absorber of carbon dioxide, is used in their construction, carbon is locked into the walls of each home.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Building with wood has been the preserve of luxury treehouse providers like Blue Forest for some time now. Their sustainable approach to construction has seen them gain worldwide recognition for beautiful yet practical designs that range from yoga studios to treehouse offices. But now it seems as though wood may start to become the popular construction material for regular accommodation too.

Not happy with the tight housing market in Amsterdam, the Dutch building company Heijmans has started making prefabricated homes for young professionals in underused city areas.

Built, delivered and set up in just days, these homes are primarily made of wood and boast highly-desirable energy-saving features from rainwater harvesting to passive solar design and high performance insulation.

Also, due to the fact that these homes are purpose-built as temporary, they can be removed as easily as they were established. This eliminates usual construction occurrences like site impact, prevents the need for demolition and means they can be reused.

Melbourne, Australia

This final example concerns another company making prefabricated homes in an exceptional way. ArchiBlox have referred to their new design as a home that will produce more energy than it uses in its entire lifetime.

Named the “carbon positive house”, the construction has been specifically designed to benefit the environment and aspires to exist as the equivalent of planting around 6,000 trees.

Counted among the immediately recognisable environmental benefits of eco-friendly wooden design and a living roof, ArchiBlox’s structure also features an in-ground cooling system. The whole will be greater than the sum of its parts too – not only will the aforementioned elements result in reduced carbon emissions, the carbon positive house will be able to harness the energy being saved and redirect it back into the grid so it isn’t wasted.

Photo courtesy of the Flickr Creative Commons.

This article was generously sponsored by Emerson Crane.

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