The green building industry has come a long way in the past few years as the U.S. continues to adopt new policies to move away from fossil fuels and push for net zero carbon.
The building sector, as of 2020, accounts for 38% of all energy-related CO2 emissions globally when combining all building construction industry emissions - a statistic that our industry is actively working to reduce.
As we enter 2022, we’ve collected current building trends and practices that will continue to progress the green building materials market this year.
Continued Push for Solar/Renewable Energy
As we’ve seen in previous years, communities and businesses, both large and small, are shifting to renewable energy as a more sustainable option for power.
In the U.S., wind power, hydropower, and solar power are currently the largest renewable energy sources thus far; and expect to become more widespread in future buildings. Energy regulators in California have voted that most new buildings require solar power from the beginning of 2023.
Solar power will likely account for nearly half of the new electric generating capacity in 2022.
The pandemic has shown how critical healthy design is to our buildings and communities, especially now that many continue to work from home.
As building manufacturers and designers put a greater focus on creating healthier indoor spaces, this year, we will see air purification, natural light, and sound-canceling design techniques incorporated into new developments.
Biophilia is also an area expected to be prominent in 2022 to help with stress reduction, creativity, and improving well-being.
Lower Embodied Carbon
Reusable and natural materials are expected to expand into the wider building sector in 2022 to lower embodied carbon.
Wood-based construction and other naturally sourced products will become even more prominent as green building professionals scale back on embodied carbon in project sites.
There will be a more significant discussion on rethinking material transportation, waste efficiency, fuel consumption, and locally sourcing products in 2022 to cut back on embodied carbon.
Heightened Focus on Weatherization
It’s no secret that we experienced extreme weather patterns last year, likely driven by climate change. As the industry builds for the future, there is a heightened focus on weatherization strategies to better weather-proof new developments in the built environment.
Climate change-ready construction techniques and building strategies will be a significant factor in future-proofing existing structures for extreme weather. There will be keen attention to fortifying lower levels against flooding and optimizing heating and cooling systems to account for power losses and other climate change-driven weather issues.
Minimalism / Tiny Homes
Investing in green building materials and labor can potentially become costly for individual homeowners or home builders. Add that to the rising cost of real estate in the U.S., and you get a surge in tiny homes. Tiny homes are an affordable option to build sustainably while becoming increasingly popular among younger generations seeking alternative ways to minimize their carbon footprint.
Expect to see this tiny home construction and design pop up more frequently in 2022 as there becomes a conversation about building affordability, access to materials, and community development. ________
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About the Author: Nick Vener is a Senior Marketing Specialist on the Greenbuild marketing team at Informa. Prior to working for Informa, Nick worked in public relations for clients in fintech, automotive, and enterprise technology, as well as freelance writing for startups. Follow Nick on Twitter @nick_vener.