While affordability and efficiency is still among the most important principles of real estate construction, the focus is slowly being shifted towards certain new green trends.
It can be said that sustainability and the green factor have become or are very close to becoming the standard of building, and now, those principles are developing even further, branching out into new directions. 2018 will be marked by changes in these new and innovative green building trends.
1. Materials Are Becoming More Transparent and Easier to Compare
Determining the exact composition and quality of building materials has always been a great challenge for everyone involved in the building process, from the architects and designers, construction companies and certification agencies, to building owners and managers. Demands for providing the building’s occupants with a healthy environment and for ensuring their well-being are stronger than ever, and they are in direct relation to the nature of the building materials and products.
Manufacturers are not always eager to fully disclose their production secrets, nor is there a clear agreement between all parties on which building elements are hazardous and harmful. However, efforts are now being made towards developing a joint database and a general specification standard, where manufacturers would provide open-source disclosures, so that the materials can be more closely studied, and compared in a more transparent, efficient and practical way.
All of this is made possible through the development of different organization tools. Some of those collaborative tools and programs include the innovative Portico and Health Product Declaration Collaborative. Many manufacturers have already recognized the benefits of such tools and databases, and are even using them to stay competitive since transparency and full disclosure have become some of the most sought-after qualities.
2. Resilience as a Central Factor in Building and Infrastructure
As a result of alarming climate changes, the number of natural disasters and extreme weather events has grown significantly in the last few years, and continue to grow. These circumstances have shone the light on the need for a change in the building industry, more specifically, the need for creating stronger and more resilient infrastructures.
Design and construction plans for buildings are now being made or re-made with resilience in mind, or rather, with resilience as their central and crucial factor. The goal is to prepare for the future and take precautionary measures from the very beginning of the project, to create a building, an area, or even an entire city infrastructure that will stand firm against natural and other disasters.
A program called 100 Resilient Cities has made great developments and contributions towards this aspect of the building. It operates around the world, helping cities be more prepared for such risks, and becoming more resilient in all aspects – physically, economically and socially. Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto are a part of this program.
3. Flexibility as an Important Factor in Spacial Design and Planning
When it comes to designing the space and planning the layout of the building, great emphasis is put on flexibility and adaptability. The goal is to make the space as efficient as possible, in the way that it can be used for different purposes, or adapted to different circumstances.
The demands of the market dictate the trends, and lately, creating buildings with flexible functions has been high in demand. This includes living spaces that can function as workspaces and vice versa, having different content and amenities in one place, multi-purpose and mobile furniture, adaptable walls, windows and even ceilings.
The main principle of this approach is green. It implies using the same resources for different purposes, i.e., reusing, which is efficient, sustainable, and adds value to those spaces and buildings.
4. Focus on Health and Wellness
“Health and Wellness’ is a crucial foundation in green building. It refers to the wellbeing of both the occupants of the buildings as well as the workers implicated in the project. Focusing on creating a better indoor air quality will increase the employees’ performance, as well as reduce health risks for the occupants. Creating healthy interior spaces which nurture well-being has proven to be paramount for businesses and everyday life, as it reduces stress, improves air quality and increases productivity.
5. New Standards and Certifications
Closely related to the health and wellness trends is the development and introduction of the WELL standard and certification, which has significantly taken off in recent years. The Canada Green Building Council has much emphasis on it, and is promoting and further developing the WELL Building Standard. The main goal is to combine and introduce the best practices in design and construction that will improve the mood, sleep patterns, nutrition, fitness, and performance of its occupants.
All of these new trends together will mark significant changes in the 2018 market, as they contribute towards creating healthier homes, buildings, environments, and cities, as well as creating new low-impact building principles and standards.