Construction professionals are under increasingly heavy pressure to produce buildings that are not only stylish and functional but, most importantly, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. Therefore, it is vital that they have materials at their disposal that can help them execute the best in contemporary design. The following breakdown looks at some of the most innovative building materials on the market and how they can be incorporated into new construction.
When looking to create an environmentally friendly building, one of the most critical considerations is choosing products with elite durability. By choosing durable materials, you will consume fewer resources for maintenance, repairs, and replacements. In addition, durable materials can help control HVAC costs by ensuring an airtight barrier in the face of diverse weather conditions and day-to-day wear.
To this effect, one of the most durable building materials on the market is steel plank siding. Steel siding is guaranteed to last at least 50 years, but will more likely outlast the life of the building, making it a preferred choice over less durable wood and masonry products that must be regularly sealed. Despite this durability, steel lap siding can be manufactured in a wide variety of aesthetically pleasing designs, providing the appearance of traditional siding materials for those wanting a more classic look.
One of the prevailing construction trends to emerge in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the creation of functional exterior spaces. To help ensure fresh air and social distancing, patios, breezeways, and landings are being redesigned as if they were part of the building itself.
When building functional exterior spaces, it is critical to choose materials that will hold up well in the face of diverse weather conditions. Structures such as architectural grilles can be used to help provide a preliminary shield from weather and sidewalk waste, but the open-air aspect of exterior spaces will invariably allow some sun, moisture, and debris to be introduced to the area.
To continue with the environmentally friendly trend, the goal of all modern construction efforts is to create net-zero energy-efficient buildings, meaning that the building produces as much energy as it consumes.
To limit the amount of energy that must be created through solar panels or wind turbines, the best way for buildings to achieve net-zero status is by reducing the amount of electricity they consume, with reductions in HVAC usage one of the top priorities.
While large windows, smart glass, and movable awnings are some great ideas for capitalizing on sunlight and passively heating the building, another viable consideration is the use of radiant floor heating. Radiant heating systems work using the same concept as how a stove heats a pan, with heat rising from beneath the floor and radiating through the building. While some radiant heating systems do use electricity, by keeping the floor warm and eliminating cold pockets that cause the HVAC to work overtime, building owners report considerably less energy use for keeping their structures at a comfortable temperature.
The most common roofing materials for homes have traditionally been asphalt shingles and wood shakes, thanks to their wide availability, reasonable price tag, and ability to mesh well with a number of home styles. While these products do provide some aesthetic and insulative benefits while new, they can quickly degrade in the face of adverse weather, sometimes needing replacement in as little as 20 years.
If you wish to retain the classic appearance that these roofing products provide while increasing the durability of your roof, consider the benefits of composite asphalt or slate roofing. These synthetic products maintain the appearance of their traditional counterparts for up to 50 years. Synthetic shingles have the highest impact and fire ratings and are available in any type of custom color fabrications, providing the best in both protection and aesthetics.
With more and more buildings preferring the open concept with fewer barriers and increased sunlight transmission, a natural corollary is that sound is more easily transmitted, as well. This can pose an issue when increased intimacy is needed for private meetings or discussions.
An innovative way to stop the spread of sound without building walls is through the use of acoustic ceiling tiles with a high noise reduction coefficient. Modern ceiling tiles use aerospace precision to provide the best in sound dampening technology. In addition, they provide a cutting-edge style that traditional drop-ceiling insulation cannot match.
Modern homes and commercial buildings must be stylish, functional, and environmentally friendly. By choosing from the innovative building materials listed above, construction professionals can successfully execute all of the latest and greatest new construction ideas.
Brian Jeffries is the content director for the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.
February 24th, 2022 |