May 26, 2014

Construction Materials’ Journey Towards Sustainable Building Technology

Construction and building technologies have evolved through ages, since the time immemorial. The earliest materials used in construction of houses were stones, mud, thatch/leaves, and timber. These materials had not been much successful in keeping a dwelling long lasting and safe in adverse environmental conditions like heavy rain, storm, or flood. Using them in their original form was the main cause that they were not proven durable for developing sustainable d wellings. Consequently, with a quest to make houses durable; man took the first step towards technology and began manufacturing of construction materials. Being an external energy source, then fire was mainly used to design and develop burnt bricks.

Building Technology

Throughout the development of civilizations, our ancestors became familiar with the use of external energy sources by which natural materials could be turned into highly durable construction materials. Being successful in new building and construction materials technologies, they started using burnt bricks, lime-based products, metal products, and so on. Using these materials in the construction sector seems the first step towards new technologies in developing highly durable and sustainable housings.

Revolution in Building Materials :

Building TechnologyInvention of the Portland cement in 1824 brought a great revolution in the construction industry. And the tremendous progress in the field of construction materials led us towards steel and plastic materials in the 20th century. In the modern era, we are using a number of well manufactured construction materials such as brick, cement, steel, well polished stone, ceramic products, aluminum, plastic products, paints, and many others. This long journey of construction materials resulted us the world class technologies and emergence of sustainable building concept in the 21st century.

Sustainable Building Technology:

Sustainable building concept is completely based on utilizing natural resources and well manufactured construction materials that could make a building highly durable and long lasting. Along with durability, environment safety is one of the key factors behind adopting sustainable building technologies. Sustainable building technologies are developed keeping the following principles on top priority:

•    Energy conservation
•    Minimum use of high energy materials that may include highly explosive materials or energy resources
•    Reduce the possibility of any damage to environment
•    Minimize transportation
•    Maximize the use of local materials and resources
•    Maximum use of local skills
•    Use of industrial and mine wastes in the manufacture of building materials 
•    Priority to recycling of building wastes
•    Utilization of renewable energy resources like sun light, wind energy, etc.

Building Materials & Sustainable Buildings:

Quality of building materials plays vital role in the development of durable and environment-friendly buildings. Therefore, materials to be used in the construction work are carefully chosen by sustainable building experts. They don’t compromise on building materials and thus selecting them after extensive research.  Whether condition and possibilities of natural disasters like earthquake, flood, Cyclone, etc. are always kept in mind that help finalize the building materials to be used in construction process. Some of reliable building materials that are used in sustainable buildings are as follows:

•    Stabilized Mud Blocks
•    Fine Concrete Blocks
•    Rammed Earth Blocks
•    Mud Concrete Blocks
•    Steam Cured Blocks
•    Soil Lime Plaster
•    Tile-work Roof
•    Ribbed Slabs
•    Ferro cement
•    Filler Slab Roofs
•    Reinforced Brickwork
•    Lime Pozzolana Cements
•    Rammed Earth Foundations
•    Composite Beam & Panel Roofs
•    Ferro Concrete Roofing Systems
•    Unreinforced Masonry vaults and Domes
•    Composite Mortars for constructing masonry
•    Containment Reinforcement to protect from earthquake.

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