Could the buildings of the future really become 100% environmentally-friendly and energy efficient? It turns out they could. According to PBC Today, 37% of UK developers are positive that green buildings will already form a huge part of their portfolio in the next three years. And although the move towards more eco-friendly buildings is yet to make a seismic difference, the construction industry is definitely moving in the right direction. Not only will future buildings be more eco-friendly, but they will also allow companies to have complete control over their energy expenditure.
In order to achieve this, builders are combining green design techniques with advanced technology. This not only decreases energy consumption, but it also reduces running costs, creates a more pleasant working environment, and boosts property values. Many buildings are already using technology that will eventually lead to 100% energy control in the near future.
One of the simplest ways buildings have been able to reduce energy expenditure is through smart installations like smart thermostats. Energy Post notes that nobody truly expected a simple home thermostat to actually make traditional energy providers obsolete. This turned out to be true as the smart thermostat is reducing the need for gas peaker plants in the USA. A big advantage of these devices, and a reason for their popularity is that they can be easily used by anyone, despite the complex technology. The smart heating controls that are listed on Screwfix show how a smart thermostat gives users complete control of a building or room’s temperature through a single device. The users can change the temperature to exactly the number they want and set timers so that energy isn’t wasted. This can save company and homeowners up to 20% in energy bills without compromising comfort, especially during very hot days.
A good example of an, almost, 100% sustainable building is the Bloomberg HQ in London. The new 10-storey facility has some of the latest sustainable technology including a green living wall, natural ventilation systems, and 4,000 integrated ceiling panels that combine heating, cooling, and lighting. The building’s half a million LED lights use 40% less energy than a regular office system. This sustainable lighting system is the latest in sustainable energy saving. Europe is projected to dominate the smart lighting market by 2024 because the use of smart lighting has become so widespread in residential, commercial, and smart city projects. The continent’s drive to develop smart cities is also pushing builders and developers to find eco-friendly designs and alternatives.
Apart from smart lighting, modern buildings will eventually be able to store electricity much more efficiently, too. The old way of storing energy during the night and releasing it during the day was introduced in the ’70s, but it has since gained a reputation for being inefficient. Recently, Balkan Green Energy News featured a more sustainable solution — the Smart Electric Thermal Storage Systems. These systems feature advanced insulation and electronic controls, which make them 20% more energy efficient and user-friendly. It’s even compatible with the smart-grid electricity systems. They can be charged any time of the day, especially during times when electricity is cheap and more abundant.
Meanwhile, in Holland, a Dordrecht building, developed after construction giant Besix entered a partnership with tech company Proximus, is making waves for employing AI and other new tech to create an environmentally-friendly headquarters. The building generates its own electricity and it comes with an energy management system that helps maximise consumption. Artificial intelligence is used to monitor the balance between energy production, consumption, and storage.
As we’ve previously discussed in a blog post, buildings account for up to 40% of global energy use, and 70% of greenhouse gas emissions come from cities. This alarming number has pushed urban developers to find more ways to make buildings greener. Innovations like those mentioned above are only the first step towards buildings having complete control over their energy expenditure. The only question that remains is not when, but whether it will be done in time?