What is green construction?

March 28, 2023

Green buildings remains a global priority, and green building activity is projected to grow1.

In fact, "sustainable design, development and construction practices” is the top priority for engineering and construction companies that want to have a positive social impact2. This is closely followed by, and linked to, sustainable supply chain management and “the sustainable use of resources and new materials”2.

In this blog, we explore how property developers are identifying opportunities for sustainable design by utilising green technologies and within the construction project lifecycle, and how START can play a part.

Sustainable design: green technologies and materials

The goal of green building projects is to increase efficiency and minimise impact by focusing on operational outputs such as renewable energy, efficient space, water heating, energy-efficient operations, and digitisation to minimise waste3.

These innovations rely heavily on new and emerging green technologies and the materials they utilise, including copper, aluminium and other critical minerals used in solar panels, wind turbines, energy storage, and efficient electricity transmission4.

Notable examples include the Suzlon One Earth office building in India, which generates 100% of its electricity needs via a combination of wind and solar energy, and The Edge in Amsterdam, which has a digital LED ceiling to reduce the electricity used for lighting by more than 80%5.

Meanwhile, Mexico City’s Torre Reforma building, relies on aluminium’s strength-to-weight ratio to enable its slim, sustainable design5. Aluminium, in particular, is proving to be a vital element in green buildings. It is used as a light, recyclable material for building core structures and envelopes, as well as for cool rooves, and has features to maximise natural light and views6.

The increasing reliance on green technologies used in buildings translates into a pressing need to have secure supplies of these materials, especially critical minerals which are complex to source. On top of secure supply, it’s also important to procure materials responsibly to create a truly sustainable building. START enables this by tracing the provenance of the materials used and assuring high sustainability standards of the materials sourced.

Mexico City’s Torre Reforma building

Reducing embodied carbon

“Embodied carbon” refers to emissions produced during the construction process and can make up almost 50% of a building’s total carbon footprint7. This includes emissions from extracting and manufacturing building materials and the transportation of these materials to the project site8.

START traces materials from their origin and tracks the ESG metrics used to create them, from mine to market. This would enable the building and construction industry to assess and compare materials available in the market and select the most sustainable one to develop greener buildings. This is a huge opportunity for companies to optimise and manage their supply chains.

If you're in the building and construction sector, contact us for more information on START.