Sustainable building has come a long way in a short time, which has made it difficult for the average construction company to keep pace with the new developments. Even as 3D printers spit out entire homes on test sites in mere hours and windows are developed with the help of Wi-Fi, most homes are still using a fairly traditional model of completion. Luckily, Canada has is heavily invested in the green movement, and their efforts are starting to pay off. See how different technologies break down and how they all add up to fewer emissions and cleaner air.
When a new building in Ontario was constructed under the Zero Carbon standard, one of its main features was its geo-exchange (or geothermal) heating system. Adaptable to residential and commercial buildings alike, this technology makes it possible to draw energy from the Earth's core to keep the building at the perfect temperature throughout the year.
Considering the Earth maintains a stable temperature of 60° no matter what month it is, the pump and compression system can distribute energy to employees without having to use gas or oil. This process still requires electricity to run, which reinforces that Canada is targeting the elimination of carbon and not necessarily the elimination of energy just yet. Still, the process can significantly cut down on both the environmental impact of the building as well as up to 70% of heating bills, much like other energy-efficient upgrades.
Canada has placed a heavy emphasis on local products so they can spent less money and energy spent on transport. So instead of importing bamboo from Asia, it's possible to grow certain species in the country. If rammed Earth is being used for compressed bricks, then it will naturally come from Canadian soil and resources. Neither of these are necessarily green technologies, but local production methods can be combined with new technologies to make them more adaptable to modern needs. For example, compressed Earth has a history of degrading due to moisture, but new water run-off systems can be used to ensure compressed Earth can hold its stability regardless of the long-term forecast.
Rainwater Harvesting Systems
Rainwater is not only an excellent example of sustainable resources, it's also preferred by rural households compared to river or dam water. Urban households can use rainwater harvesting too to collect run-off from their roofs and reduce their need for the main water supply. In addition to the obvious benefits of garden and lawn irrigation, it's possible for homeowners to use rainwater for all of their water needs, which can cut down water bills by 100%. Homes can be retrofitted for rainwater harvesting but some may be built with certain materials (e.g., asbestos sheets, etc.) that make them unsuitable for collecting drinking water. New homes should be able to implement the technology to provide homeowners with additional options to eliminate waste.
The technology for recycling has really turned a corner so that more can be done with less. New processes can turn old tires into rubber flooring and old bottles into bricks. There's even a way to mix animal blood and sand to get a brick that is surprisingly durable. What's so amazing about these new techniques is that it's technology that can be labeled as old as time.
Each new development gives builders more options to create buildings that don't necessarily need complex gadgets and machinery to function. More and more companies are trying to manufacture their products in order to fit these new objectives. For example, Heineken redesigned their bottles so they can be vertically stacked, which meant altering the length of the neck and introducing recessed sides to the bottle.
A volatile organic compound (VOC) is toxic to the air in a home, so builders are attempting to clean up their use of these materials when building. The most common VOC is the emissions from drying paint, but it can also be found in wallpaper, stoves, and certain types of glue. Not only are they bad for the environment, they're also terrible for a person's health and are often correlated with asthma or allergies. Builders are now using products with fewer or no toxins so everyone stays healthy (both while the building stands and when it's demolished.) Thankfully, there has been a lot of competition in the green industry, which has driven up the quality of low-zero VOCs and the costs down.
Canada will continue to experiment with different sustainable building strategies to cut down on waste for the benefits of its residents. While still in its infancy in many ways, Chestermere construction companies may also start to routinely introduce several types of sustainable energy to supplement one another. For example, using geothermal exchanges to reinforce solar heating during a particularly cloudy winter. Whatever the future holds, it certainly looks greener for the whole country.