Summary: To move towards sustainable future the construction industries can contribute in a major way. Green and sustainable technologies are being adopted by civil engineers for infrastructure development to reduce waste generation, carbon emission and to utilize resources efficiently. This blog is highlighting some of the recent developments in the fields of civil engineering for having a sustainable tomorrow.
Increased population growth, rapid industrialization and lack of awareness about sustainability of environment are some of the key reasons for augmented levels of carbon emissions, which is major concern of the world today. For Greenhouse Gas emissions, infrastructure projects like – buildings, power plants and transportation facilities are highly contributing. Ever increasing need of Infrastructure projects to meet the demands of growing population is further making the scenario worse day by day. To combat such issues with a view of achieving net zero targets, some significant improvements or modifications are being adopted in Infrastructure projects since past few years. The objective of such recent developments are aiming towards a sustainable future through implementation of sustainable thinking in construction industry, ensuring suitable planning in infrastructure projects, following optimum and effective resource utilization, using energy from recycled or renewable sources. The ways to follow for achieving net zero goals in infrastructure projects are as follows –
Optimum and effective resource utilization:
Suitable design of any infrastructure is very important in terms of sustainability rather than adding some “Green” features after its construction. Proper planning includes effective and optimum use of resources by civil engineers to reduce the use of non-renewable resources as per applicability. Uncontrolled use of resources in infrastructure projects may lead to unsustainable conditions and unwanted pollution scenario for the globe. Resource optimization can be done in many ways by civil engineers involved in design and project management sectors. Use of modern project management related civil engineering softwares and tools can be helpful for such cases. BIM technology (Building Information Modelling) is another way used by civil engineers to meet the needs for infrastructure construction with reduction in waste by using materials and resources wisely and at the same time the cost and time can also be reduced with proper planning. Being a holistic approach for a built asset, BIM enables the engineers to understand the optimum quantity of resource requirement and to assess the lifecycle of the projects. Optimization of resource utilization will surely lead to reduce or eliminate waste management hazards in construction sites and will also guide us with a view of energy and resource conservation. Green building concepts are getting very popular in recent times where the structures are built using techniques that are eco-friendly and resource-efficient throughout the life-cycle of the building. For green building construction, both source optimization and planned use of resources are the keys in all the stages of construction from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. Moreover, the overall efficiency of resource utilization in construction works can be greatly enhanced through the use of such modern and innovative tools.
Renewable or recycled resource usage:
To attain sustainable construction approach, Civil engineers should think in a way where recycled materials can be used as resources or the resources used are renewable in nature. Following this path, in many civil engineering projects substitutes are used in place of cement for making concrete to reduce carbon intensity. Various recycled materials can be adopted as usable tools in construction works for reduction of waste volume in environment. For production of cement different wastes are getting utilized to reduce raw material consumption. Speedy development of newer construction techniques like use of prefabricated structures, offsite and modular construction works is a sign for advancement of infrastructure development process at present. Such methods possess higher efficiencies, enhanced performance, with reduced cost, waste and carbon emissions from the construction sites. At the same time, carbon capturing methods can also be adopted for moving forward with sustainability. For this, Carbon capture and storage (CCS) methods are being adopted during infrastructure building processes, using tools and information for making sustainable conclusions. CCS refers to a variety of technologies that can be used for capturing Carbon dioxide emissions and then for storing them permanently so that they can be prevented to enter the atmosphere. Use of renewable energy sources (like solar energy) in infrastructure projects is proven to be green solutions for a sustainable future. Recent development in wind energy and solar energy generation can also make the way wider towards a sustainable future.
Being ready for changing climate:
For building sustainable infrastructure civil engineers must consider the changing climatic conditions in the globe. The structures need to be designed and constructed in such a way that it can sustain in extreme weather conditions. The structures should be durable enough to make it sustainable for human beings and it should not affect the ecosystem in the changing climate. Modern softwares and specialised equipment are being used for construction which will serve the purpose to make the structure durable to withstand such extreme climate conditions. Design of structures is done considering the effects for high winds, cyclones and seismic effects, which can surely enhance the design life of the structures.
Setting a long term plan:
For maintaining sustainability in terms of society, economy and environment, proper planning is to be done in infrastructure design and construction for making a better, transformed and greener tomorrow.
Now, for directly moving to discuss about some important developments in civil engineering fields, I need to throw some light on the recent techniques used for infrastructure construction with sustainable approaches.
- Green building or sustainable buildings are constructed with a view to use resources efficiently and to make the steps involved in construction environmentally responsible.
- Use of solar power in buildings can reduce the dependency on gas or electricity generated from non-renewable sources.
- Using biodegradable materials like timber, bamboo can reduce the waste generation due to the use of traditional construction materials.
- For insulation purposes in the buildings, recycled materials are getting used nowadays.
- Installing smart, energy-saving and efficient appliances in buildings can help to achieve the concept of zero-energy homes.
- Cool roofs are helping in temperature control of buildings by reflecting sunlight away.
- Low energy buildings are constructed to cut the requirement of electricity in buildings through strategic placement of windows and by using solar energy for lighting and water heating.
- Adopting Prefabricated construction or Modular construction can lead to a reduced amount waste generation.
- Modern construction techniques are modified to reduce carbon emission from the working site with suitable planning and execution of the projects.
- Various water conserving technologies are being adopted in buildings to save water and to use water efficiently. Dual plumbing, reuse of waste water, rain water harvesting are some among such technologies.
So, extensive varieties of recent development are going on in the fields of civil engineering which is creating wide job opportunity available in sustainable infrastructure development industries. By adopting such technologies we can move towards a sustainable future.