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Trends for 2013: More eco-friendly design and construction

May 19, 2013

Reeling from years of a less-than-stable economy, the construction industry has apparently shaken grown into renewed vigor and vitality toward the close of the 2000’s first decade. Most industry observers predict a period of continued recovery, with new design innovations that will help bring about a more diverse construction landscape. The trend toward the “green” construction of the past few years is expected to continue, with the development of even more structures that embody eco-friendly principles while continuing to incorporate natural elements and features in even more inventive ways.

One of the most promising facets of the eco-friendly approach is biomimicry, which uses natural and biological patterns as inspirations for architectural and engineering designs. These new developments point toward an increasing focus on incorporating natural elements, not only in the facades of new buildings, but also in their interiors. Cooling and ventilation systems in particular will be increasingly designed taking a cue from Mother Nature’s own designs.

A few other trends that show promise in the construction industry are modular design and prefabrication. There are a number of benefits to such a construction approach, and the shorter production cycles and enhanced sustainability are among the most compelling. In addition to requiring less time to construct, modular buildings are also generally cheaper and safer to produce. This in turn results in lower production costs, with savings that may be passed on to the end customer. The use of eco-friendly materials and the clean design lines also make these modular structures ideally suited to the changing demands of the market.
Many would say that the period of renewed vibrancy and innovation in the construction has been a long time coming. While a number of construction principles will continue to remain in practice well into the future, there is a clear shift toward more eco-friendly and energy efficient methods and designs.

Even areas of construction that have previously neglected the use of “green” materials will undergo significant changes. Flooring and roofing in particular stand to benefit from the development of more environmentally- friendly materials, with bamboo and stone being only two of the materials expected to increase in popularity in the coming years. Some other aspects of design and construction in which the “green” trend is expected to take hold are painting and fixtures, both of which are areas in which there is an increasing shift toward the use of alternative materials in preference to traditional options.

There is also expected to be a growing market demand for eco-friendly options in terms of materials and construction and design processes. While “green” techniques and materials have traditionally been marginal segments of the industry, this is bound to change as more and more customers demand a wider range of environment-friendly options.
All these developments point to an increasing global awareness of the crucial role that construction plays in helping preserve the environment. No longer a necessary evil in terms of the human impact on nature, construction may well become a key player in the continuing quest toward an eco-friendly and sustainable industry.


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