The Top 5 Green Building Technology Trends

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What is Green Building Technology?

Green building technology uses advanced technologies to develop buildings with minimal impact on the environment throughout all lifecycle stages: from design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, to demolition.

Due to the myriad benefits of green building technology, builder engineers, architecture firms, and facility managers increasingly embrace concepts that produce more efficient buildings,  construction, and operation costs.

Central to green building technology is efficiency: from energy to materials to water, operations, maintenance optimization, through to waste and toxic reduction.

The overall goal of green building is to reduce the adverse effects that buildings have on the environment, including emission of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases and depletion of natural resources through irresponsible harvesting of construction materials.

The Top 5 Green Technologies transforming facility management right now:

1. Green Infrastructure

Runoff from stormwater is a significant cause of water pollution, particularly in urban areas. It can cause flooding in streets and buildings, which leads to dangerous driving conditions, causes substantial property damage, and carries trash, bacteria, heavy metals, and other pollutants through storm sewers into local waterways.

Green infrastructure filters and absorbs stormwater where it falls. Many communities are increasingly installing green infrastructure systems to bolster their capacity to manage stormwater to meet this challenge. By doing so, communities are becoming more resilient and achieving environmental, social, and economic benefits.

Green infrastructure involves landscaping and designing systems dedicated to managing stormwater through plants and soil in urban areas to control stormwater absorption.

By encouraging the growth of plants in urban areas, green infrastructure helps lower the heat-island effect produced by heat-absorbing pavements and metallic street furniture. Plants also improve air quality in urban areas by absorbing carbon dioxide.

2. Electrochromic Glass

Also known as smart glass, electrochromic glass uses a tiny gust of electricity to charge ions on a window layer and alter the amount of light it reflects.

Unlike the already present low-emittance windows, which block some solar radiation, electrochromic glass allows you to choose the amount of light you want to stop using intelligent building control systems.

Smart glass continues to become better suited for commercial use. For example, skyscrapers of the future will likely have windows that tint automatically during the daytime and become transparent at night.

Proponents of the electrochromic glass say the technology could reduce a 25% reduction in a building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning costs.

3. Cool-Roof System

A cool roof is a rooftop designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof. Under the summer sun, dark shingle roofs can reach temperatures upwards of around 150 degrees Farenhiegnt. Thereby putting a strain on air conditioning systems and thus raises carbon emissions.

The solar reflectance and decreased thermal emittance of a cool roof can cut lower temperatures by more than a significant margin, improving interior temperatures.

This reduces the strain on air conditioning systems, which subsequently reduces the carbon emissions that result from powering the cooling system.

Cool roof systems can also lower the heat island effect of urban and suburban areas, which causes abnormally higher temperatures under the scorching summer sun than neighboring rural areas.

4. Smart Appliances

Increasing modern home appliances equipped with innovative technology save energy and make our lives easier. For example, intelligent washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators are connected to smart meters to make them energy-efficient.

Smart meters are advanced electric meters that collect real-time data and communicate with devices to generate valuable power usage data. With this data, the appliances can determine power rates and automatically operate at lower levels.

5. Zero-Energy Buildings

Zero-energy buildings are designed to produce electricity through renewable energy, thus eliminating the need to connect to the standard electric grid.

Indeed, a zero-energy building consumes zero net energy per year and produces no carbon emissions since it relies on renewable energy generators such as wind and solar.

While this may sound like an ambitious future green building technology, construction of zero-energy buildings is already happening in developed nations, with governments offering subsidies to incentivize the construction of zero-energy buildings.

In the U.S., for example, the government offers a Solar Investment tax credit of 30% off the total system cost, while California provides additional money back for consumers who opt into renewable energy.