Sustainability is becoming a more popular way of doing things. Reducing waste, conserving electricity and having a lower impact on the environment are necessary changes that people are starting to make. The construction industry is no exception. Sustainability has driven the advancement of new energy-saving technologies in buildings.
Some of these technologies include LED lighting, modern insulation, reflective roofing materials, heating and cooling systems, as well as waste-to-energy generation. These are new ways of building homes and office spaces that reduce the building’s impact on the environment. Here are some of the new energy-saving technologies being used by contractors currently:
Connected and Smart Buildings
Some homes and office spaces have an integrated wireless system that automatically controls various aspects of the building. Sensors can detect and make a change to air conditioning and heating systems, the lighting circuits, geysers and a variety of other elements that require energy. These automated systems can reduce the energy consumption of a building by switching units off when they are not needed.
Advancements in window technology
When one thinks of technology, they probably do not think about glass windows. New adhesive coatings can be applied to windows that change colour in bright sunlight – like glasses that dim themselves when the wearer steps into the sun. This technology is being used on modern high-rise buildings already.
These coatings reduce glare inside the building, cut down external light and heat reflections from the windows and lower the internal temperature of the building. This helps to save energy on cooling systems during the day. At night, the colour coating returns to its transparent state, allowing the maximum amount of light into the building.
Energy-saving lighting circuits
Most modern buildings are being fitted with energy-efficient LED lights, as opposed to fluorescent tubes or traditional light bulbs. LED lights use just 10% of the energy needed to power an incandescent bulb. This means that buildings with LED lighting circuits are 90% more efficient – and homeowners can change their bulbs themselves.
Another lighting system currently being used requires no energy during the day. Light pipe systems use a light collector to ‘pipe’ the light falling on the roof to the interior spaces of the building. The sunlight travels through these reflective pipes and is dispersed inside the building, similar to how a skylight works. These systems use zero electricity during the day, but conventional lighting will be needed at night.
A new type of foam insulation is being installed on modern buildings. This insulation is made from environmentally-friendly materials and advanced composites. The insulation helps to regulate the internal temperature of a building. It keeps the building cool on hot days and traps the heat inside on cold days. Insulation is a vital part of building in colder climates, but Tanzanian contractors also use it to keep homes cool in our hot climate.
Electricity and heat generation
New technologies have been developed that enable the cogeneration of electricity and heat from the same unit. The electricity powers all the lights and wall sockets while the heat from the generator is captured and used to heat geysers and wall-mounted heating systems. This cogeneration minimises energy wastage.
Another electricity generation technique currently being used in Africa is waste-to-energy. This is a system whereby household and organic waste is burned in a furnace. The heat is then used to power an electricity generator, effectively turning waste into power. These systems are being installed at shopping malls, hotels and office spaces where there is enough waste produced to run the system.
Reflective roofing materials
Like the window coatings that help to regulate internal temperatures of buildings, new reflective paint is being used on the roofs of high-rise buildings. Contractors spray this coating on the roof to reflect the sun’s light and heat. This lowers the heat absorption of the roof and cools down the interior of the building.
These technologies are just a few of the modern advancements being used in construction today. They are making our cities and suburbs more efficient, saving money for owners and lowering the environmental impact of human activity. Sustainable technologies such as these are the future.
LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.
LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in Mbeya, Southwest Tanzania.
At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.