Modern construction can be very polluting. This statement will probably not surprise anyone. But in a world where we are witnessing the negative effects of pollution on the climate, it is certainly worth looking around and finding alternatives.
One of the problems with the construction of new buildings is the fact that 70% of the raw materials that have to be processed for the construction of new buildings are processed in Germany, which means that these processed materials have to be transported, sometimes over very long distances. Moreover, these raw materials are mostly not available in infinite quantities and therefore will not regenerate in nature. Secondly, the extraction of certain materials can cause the pollution of rivers and/or groundwater, which can lead to the displacement of animal populations and in some cases eliminate the plants and animals present at the extraction site. Finally, according to the WWF, in 2017 cement was responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
To try to remedy this, there are different types of approaches that have been explored in recent years by different specialists to try to find solutions that really have an impact on the sustainability of buildings.
These approaches are as follows:
- Renovating old buildings is more sustainable than constructing new ones, this can reduce material requirements by about two thirds and thus avoid the need to build on new surfaces.
- Using recycled demolition materials for concrete production.
- Reverting to old building materials such as clay and wood to replace concrete and steel, as these materials fully meet the standards for fire protection, moisture protection, thermal protection and air tightness.
- Creating and using alternative materials such as hemp, bamboo or even mycelium, which is an organism derived from fungi. These materials could be used to manufacture biodegradable insulation or building bricks.
As for old-fashioned materials such as wood, they are now used to create entire buildings with a wooden frame. Currently, the world's tallest wooden building is in Norway and measures 85.4 metres. This building will be surpassed in a few years by a building in Winterthur, Switzerland, which should be habitable by 2026 and reach a height of 100 metres.
Ingenieur.de - Article