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Building materials of the new era

In light of the ever-growing climate crisis, ecology and implementing into life the ideas of sustainable development has become something more than just fashion and personal choice of each of us, instead, it is now a necessity. Economic organizations and social movements  pursue this idea but these strives, more than anything else, constitute an expression of care for the future of our planet. It also involves almost every field of human activity, including construction.  It is visible both in the results of tests concerning the emission of greenhouse gases by individual branches of the economy and in the trends among consumers.  

According to the Otodom.pl report from 2020, as many as 88% of flat hunters on the primary market state that while deciding for the purchase of a property they tend to focus on the applied ecological solutions. This tendency extends beyond the residential construction sector. A similar phenomenon is transparent in the latest report elaborated by the Polish Green Building Council (PLGBC) “Certification of green buildings in numbers 2021”, published on 22 April of the current year Usable area of objects which obtained Green Building Certificates exceeded 23 million square meters. This represents a 35-percent increase in the course of one year! 

Thus, green building is becoming a substantial trend – both in ecological and economic terms. The applied technologies are of significance here which enable limiting the use of energy, improving the comfort of use and, most of all, the applied materials.

 Aluminium

Its unique blend of properties makes aluminium able to revolutionize the construction market. It possesses high strength and a relatively low weight and flexibility which enables reaching the desired shape and furthermore, it has a  natural layer that secures it against  corrosion. It is also an extremely eco-friendly material. It is the fourth most common element on our planet. The process of its production has a limited impact on the environment and requires small amount of energy in comparison to other materials, whilst during recycling it maintains all its properties.

No wonder this material is applied in various different branches – starting with electronic devices of daily use and ending with space shuttles – and its popularity continues to grow. This trend has also reached construction. It is applied, among others, in facade systems, windows and doors. Thanks to its high endurance and small weight aluminium structures may reach significant dimension and their ease of processing provides a possibility of obtaining any shape. 

This material has been increasingly appreciated not only in case of large-surface office buildings or hotels. Single-family residential construction sector is also keen on using aluminium more and more frequently. Aluminium joinery is permanent and tight which impacts energy efficiency of buildings it was applied in. Furthermore, windows feature significant resistance to atmospheric conditions in comparison to those made of wood and PVC.

Glass

In modern construction sector glass is often applied together with aluminium which is triggered both by its visual and economic properties. This material has a substantial influence on the energy efficiency of building usability and thus, limiting the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Application of low-emission glass decreases losses of heat, hence, the volume of energy required to heat the building drops. On the other hand, in spring and summer, buildings in which highly efficient anti-sun glass was applied require less power for their air-conditioning devices.

However, the economic factors indicating the beneficial use of glass in modern, green construction are not yet exhausted. The presently applied technologies also allow saving water. The layer applied in self-cleaning glass uses the phenomenon of photocatalysis. Impacted by the sun, organic contaminations on windows decompose and become easier to be removed. Furthermore, this material has hydrophilic properties. Thanks to this, the contaminations flow down from the windows along with water. Maintenance costs of the building and the volume of used water become significantly limited.

Large, glazed areas in buildings signify more daylight reaching their interiors. This translates into smaller use of electricity and, above all, better condition and health of object users.

Wood

For a certain period of time this raw material stepped aside as other construction materials became more popular, however, it has regained its strength in recent times. Especially in highly developed countries with greater eco-awareness of the society. A growing wood transforms more carbon dioxide than the amount produced during its processing, through which the emission of CO2is negative. The ease with which wooden objects are demolished is also worth stating, further to the possibility of reuse of the obtained raw material post demolition. 

Furthermore, wood is no longer used solely in family construction. Technology development favours its application in daring and ambitious projects. Skyscrapers with a structure based on this material are being raised in such locations as Scandinavia, Germany, Austria or Great Britain. An example of such investment is Sara Kulturhus – an object with 20 storeys, planned to be opened in summer of this year. This unique culture centre is to be one of the highest wood-aluminium buildings in the world, thus becoming a new symbol of Norway.

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