What will 2013 bring us in terms of green building trends? To begin, green architecture and design will continue to rise in North America even when faced with economic obstacles. As reported by a recent count, about 50,000 LEED® projects are already in progress this year. According to consultant Jerry Yudelson, instead of building green-certified buildings from the ground up focus will be on overhauling old buildings (especially universities) and “greening” existing structures. To do so green construction will need to be managed in cloud-based software. This software will help in better disclosing green building performance to the public. The most popular components of green building are expected to be solar power, water conservation and the avoidance of “Red List” chemicals. The entire life cycle of green building products will also be scrutinized. For example, under what conditions were the products made? What was the environmental effect of the manufacturing process?
Aside from domestic construction, there will be also be an increase in green building outside of the United States to about 40% of all LEED projects. Jumping ahead to the more distant future, say 2050, images that come to mind include robots, holograms, space travel, flying cars, and more. What can we expect from the future of green architecture? Recently, a design team sat down and tried to imagine the “building of the future,” and the result was arguably the most sustainable building one might envision. The conceptualized skyscraper fit directly into the urban landscape where 75% of the world’s population is anticipated to live. In fact, said building goes beyond Net Zero building and actually produces more energy than it consumes. The promise of the future is exciting: energy will be saved thanks to flexible modular pods, urban agriculture and climate-conscious facades. Interior surfaces with phase change material will be utilized, offering the capability to facilitate heat recovery while providing individually operated climate and lighting controls. Energy will be harnessed through photovoltaic capability in the form of paint and transmitted to on-site fuel cells. Elevators, wind turbines, and algae-producing bio-fuel pods will all contribute to further energy harvesting. To save space charging stations will be accessible in the building for usage by fuel cell cars, doubling as a location for vertical farming techniques.
The 2050 skyscraper is hard to visualize, but who is to say we won’t eventually get there? Maybe if we stick to the goals and trends predicted for 2013, we can slowly make our way to that mega-green building forty years into the future. With green construction on the rise in its current focus, we could see the “Green Urban Skyscraper’ sooner rather than later!