The rise of e-commerce and remote working affected retail and offices, which made the commercial property sector review the socio-economic impact of coronavirus on the use and demand for buildings in the future. Sustainability also came to the fore as stakeholders considered what they value and how to build better and sustainable buildings.
Demand for sustainable buildings from occupiers and investors
There is an apparent demand for more sustainable buildings from occupiers and investors. According to various studies, most occupiers demand facilities with Green Building Certifications, particularly in Europe. The demand is slightly higher in the APAC region.
What is a green building?
A green or sustainable building combines various practices, skills, and techniques to reduce and later eliminate the impact of construction on human health and the environment. Some examples include utilising sunlight for solar energy, and using trees and plants to create green roofs and rain gardens to reduce rainwater run-off. Green buildings also use low-impact building materials such as porous concrete and packed gravel instead of conventional asphalt and concrete.
Green buildings must show the optimal structure and site design, integrating locally-sourced building materials. There should also be improved efficiencies in water, energy, and construction materials. The installation should show indoor quality enhancement, waste and toxics reduction, optimised maintenance and operations, and renewable energy use on-site.
Sustainable construction materials
The range of available sustainable construction materials increases. The most common are cork and bamboo. You can now access other sustainable and green materials such as precast concrete slabs, recycled steel, plant-based polyurethane rigid foam, ferrock, timbercrete (timber and concrete), and terrazzo. Today, many architects and furniture designers are incorporating used or reclaimed wood. You can source used wood from www.greenbarntimbers.co.uk, where you will find quite a range of reclaimed timber for your projects. Reclaimed wood makes a statement, complementing various design styles. They are stronger and more durable because they grew to full maturity. They are also wider than new timber.
The future of green buildings
While the demand for green buildings increases steadily, several challenges keep the construction of green buildings from exponential growth. Most of the demand is from occupiers than investors. It boils down to the cost of constructing commercial buildings using sustainable materials.
The primary goal of sustainable construction is to reduce the industry’s environmental impact. But sustainable construction does not end after the completion of the building. It should maintain its reduced impact on the environment. Therefore, the facility must integrate elements that will continue to affect the environment positively. The building should use sustainable construction materials with a long lifespan. Moreover, they should choose equipment and technology that reduce energy consumption and have proper insulation.
You cannot expect the adoption of sustainable construction to be an overnight process. Cost is the greatest factor that hinders widespread adoption. Still, stakeholders are optimistic that it will happen, and more commercial buildings will incorporate more sustainable materials. Data already shows that a green building increases its value by about ten per cent.