The 21st century has brought the construction industry a number of exciting advancements, especially when it comes to green building and energy-efficient solutions. Below, we’ll explore a handful of these up-and-coming green initiatives and how they’re transforming commercial construction for the better.

Prefabricated construction

Traditional commercial construction projects can produce a lot of waste and trash. That’s where a solution like prefabrication comes into play. Prefabricated construction can be an eco-friendly alternative to traditional on-site construction methods by creating some, most, or all of a building in a controlled environment separate from the final site. This process can help reduce industrial waste and result in builders having more control over negative environmental impacts.

Passive solar building

Green building doesn’t necessarily have to mean solar panels and other outwardly-eco building investments. Passive solar building is a construction concept rather than one specific piece, encompassing a methodology of making energy-efficiency an integral part of the entire commercial building design. Passive solar building can include the size and type of windows on a building, the location of a structure, size, and even the interior design elements such as shades and plants to maximize solar impact.

Green roofing

From providing a rainwater buffer and improved drainage to air purification and a reduction in the ambient temperature in a building, the ecological benefits of a green roof are vast. If you haven’t seen a green roof in action, you’re bound to — these rooftops are often seen in urbanized areas and can provide economic benefits as well.

Recycled insulation and materials

No, we’re not talking about the fluffy pink material you might be familiar with. Recycled insulation material has recently entered the market in force, with many different options available, all focused on reducing environmental impact and utilizing recycled materials to prevent waste. There’s even an insulation created from denim material, plants, and more.

But recycled materials go beyond just insulation. Things like bamboo, recycled plastic, and wood (think Mass Timber) are all usable and sustainable alternative building materials taking the construction industry by storm.

Green retrofit

Green building doesn’t have to necessarily mean “new commercial construction.” Green retrofit is another trending construction concept, where owners of commercial properties are investing in eco-friendly initiatives to bring older properties into the 21st century. Retrofitting can consist of making updates like adding solar panels, updating windows, HVAC and plumbing systems, and more to become a more energy-efficient building.

Architectural film and biowalls

Branching off of green retrofitting sits architectural film, a technologically advanced way to plus commercial buildings with materials designed to enhance environmental sustainability. These finishes can go over existing windows to prevent UV radiation within the building and limit the impact of the sun.

Another trending take on green building improvements? Biowalls. Plant-covered walls, to be exact. Just like the green roof concept above, biowalls attempt to better insulate commercial buildings and improve air quality. They can also provide calming, relaxing benefits in a hectic commercial property atmosphere.

Those are just a sampling of the many recent advancements in green building initiatives. While they’re designed for the betterment of the environment, we think they’re improving the construction industry as well. At Catalyst, we view sustainable construction as a cornerstone of our processes and building methodology, and we think you should too. If you have an upcoming commercial construction project with an emphasis on green building, we’d like to help.


5 Best Practices for Sustainable Construction

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Adam Arndt
As the president of Catalyst Construction, Adam brings a unique understanding of the owner’s priorities for their building project and the responsibilities of the construction manager. For nearly 20 years, Adam has worked with owners to understand their mission, wants, and constraints, he helps find unique solutions to the problems that many mission-driven companies face.