6 green building trends that we loved in 2017

The move towards sustainability in buildings has been on for quite a few years now. While the awareness about energy efficiency and resource management has been catching up, 2017 saw some new and exciting trends that we loved. At the same time, some old trends got a greater impetus with much-needed innovation this year. Here are our picks of the year’s favourite green building habits.

zero energy building | green building 1. Zero Energy Buildings
Green buildings set their goals a notch higher in 2017, going from just reducing energy consumption here and there to becoming zero-net-energy buildings – which means they aim to produce as much energy as they consume. Some have even managed to become energy-positive buildings that produce surplus energy that can be given away. This requires a stringent use of resources as well as strategies to produce one’s own renewable energy. The ITC Group of hotels is an apt example of zero energy buildings – the group also produces enough wind energy for its green hotels.

iot | green building2. Automation and the Internet of Things
The internet of things is revolutionising literally everything around us, then why should sustainable design be left behind? 2017 saw the application of IOT sneak into green building in a big way. ‘Smart design’ today is a trend that can’t be ignored. Technology was used in a big way to control gadgets to make them work well for us. Appliances such refrigerators, washers, dryers etc. can be monitored to make them as energy efficient as possible. Not only can you have access to control and moderate these appliances, but energy management systems have enabled their automated moderation. So green buildings no longer need to worry about having the right green settings at all times. Lighting will self-adjust based on natural sunlight, while air-conditioners will customise the temperature based on the number of people in a room, all without human interference.

reclaimed wood | green building3. Reclaimed Materials
What would have earlier been perceived as frugal and thrifty, received a makeover in 2017 as sustainable and chic. To salvage and use materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill became an enviable trend this year. In fact, old materials such as hardwood and metal bring with them a character and aesthetic that is appreciated today. Reclaimed wood is used in floorings, furniture etc., while old metal can be used in both construction as well as interior design. This reusing of materials will mean less production and consumption of newer materials as well as less pollution due to the dumping of used materials.

xeriscaping | green building4. Xeriscaping
One of the coolest green building trends of 2017 has been the further downfall of conventional landscaping. Neatly manicured lawns and carefully chosen high maintenance ornamentals became more passé than ever before this year. Xeriscaping, a landscaping practice that aids water conservation by using plants that require as little irrigation as possible continued to span as a trend this year. Native shrubs, trees, and plants that were earlier relegated to being perceived as unglamorous made a comeback owing to their resilience to harsh weather and easy maintenance. Another important aspect of natural landscaping is that the choice of flora usually doesn’t require truckloads of fertilisers and pesticides for maintenance. Since local plant species are used they attract and promote biodiversity of micro-fauna.

green roofing | green building5. Green Innovative Materials
Awareness regarding the negative impact of construction on the environment has meant a steady shift towards environmentally responsible green building materials. Green concrete alternatives were a major development this year. Green roofing alternatives such as metal as well as synthetic thatch have been soaring in popularity. Using eco-friendly sustainable materials has a lesser impact on nature because they are responsibly sourced, cause less pollution and can often be recycled or disposed of without harming the environment.

daylight harvesting | green building6. Daylight Harvesting
The use of natural sunshine gained a greater emphasis in 2017. ‘Daylight harvesting’ is a simple, but effective step that can help keep a tab on the energy use of buildings. Using automated shades is another trend that is catching up, these shades will self-regulate depending on the sunlight available, protecting materials indoor from the harsh sun, while leveraging daylight whenever possible.

If you are keen on sustainable materials for your building, Palmex’s LEED-certified synthetic thatch roof might be just the option you are looking for. Get in touch with our team to find out more about our green building solutions.

Elizabeth Raj | Blogger

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