With green building movement sweeping across the world, innovative technologies are being developed to keep pace with increasing shift towards sustainability. Integration of biodegradable, recycled, recyclable and renewable materials in the construction of buildings is attracting great attention worldwide. Natural paints, recycled steel, cellular concrete, clay bricks, wood, bamboo etc. are getting huge popularity in construction of green buildings.
Another interesting innovation is zero-energy building which utilizes solar cells/panels, wind micro-turbines, fuel cells and biofuels, among others, to meet electricity and HVAC requirements of the building. Likewise, net-zero-water-use buildings make use of water conservation systems to efficiently manage water consumption, rainwater harvesting, waterless toilets, greywater reuse, smart landscaping and on-site sewage treatment.
Low-emitting windows, coated with metallic oxide, to block sun’s harsh rays during summer and keep the heat inside in the winter are also gaining popularity. Such windows have the potential to significantly reduce heating and cooling costs of buildings.
According to Dubai-based green buildings expert Sunanda Swain, “Transparent solar window panels can also be incorporated into awnings, curtain walls, glass facade or as overhead glazing units.” She explains, “These increase access to direct sunlight while providing additional architectural benefits such as passive shading.”
Another promising innovation is in the form of cool roofs which is made of special tiles and reflective paints to reflect sunlight. Cool roofs have high levels of solar reflectance and thermal emittance, and help in reducing the heat island effect in urban habitats, especially in arid areas like the Middle East.
To sum up, green buildings can not only contribute towards environment protection but also bring loads of advantages to building occupants and users. Lower development costs, reduced operating costs, healthier indoor environment quality and less maintenance costs are major benefits associated with green buildings. To sum up, green building technologies can serve as catalysts for smart urbanization and sustainable development of urban centers, besides ensuring energy security, climate change mitigation, and opening new economic and job opportunities.