Green building is something that more and more homeowners and home builders are looking to employ, and for good reason. Not only are more people aware of the need for sustainable living than ever before, but implementing green building practices will end up saving you money! Green building techniques are improving every day as well – just check out the innovation of self-repairing concrete.

self-repairing concrete

Source: Trilogy Partners

According to the EPA, the use of bricks and insulation uses up a lot of resources. In fact, both residential and commercial building contributes upwards of 40 percent of landfill wastes, with roughly 40 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions being linked to the construction industry.

Thankfully, new technology such as self-repairing concrete could help cut down on those numbers. Self-repairing concrete is created with an engineered bacterial that releases a calcium carbonate when mixed into the concrete as part of its waste process. This material will then fill in cracks and holes within the concrete.

Self-repairing concrete is just one of many green building innovations. For more information about green building and how you can implement it into your home design, be sure to contact us at Trilogy Builds today.


Green architecture, also called sustainable building, isn’t complicated and doesn’t require expensive or unusual materials. Houses, offices and schools can be built using locally produced materials in a way that isn’t high-tech. Buildings consume 30 percent of our fresh water and 25 percent of all of our wood products, so it makes sense to practice green architecture and save our resources.

  1. Heliostats

    • Heliostats are an arrangement of mirrors that use preprogrammed sequencing software to track the sun. The mirrors reflect sunlight from a large roof-mounted circular tracking mirror to a secondary mirror or mirrors, and is then directed inside a building. The sunlight looks as if it’s provided by electrical means. Architects have only lately begun using the mirrors as light and energy sources since the cost of machining specialty optics has come down in price.

    Green Roofing

    • A roof can and should do more than just keep the rain out. Architects today can design roofs to collect water for gardens, supply energy for electricity and even be a habitat for plants and animals. Solar roofing, also called a photovoltaic system, can provide an infinitely renewable source of energy. A solar roof can be used to charge batteries for use on cloudy days or as a back-up electricity source.

    Passive Solar

    • Your entire home can be designed to make use of the sun’s energy. A passive solar home doesn’t use any type of mechanical devices like pumps or fans to move the solar heat; instead it’s built to take advantage of your local climate. The size, location and glazing of windows are a major component in collecting and storing solar energy. Roof overhangs and placement of trees or other shading devices like awnings help prevent excessive heat buildup inside the home.

    Earth-Sheltered Homes

    • Earth-sheltered homes are not considered as radical as they once were; they’re increasingly seen as energy-efficient, comfortable and weather-resistant homes. In an earth-shelter designed home, temperatures are more stable and therefore more comfortable. Because an earth-sheltered home is largely surrounded by earth, it needs less maintenance than a traditional home; painting and caulking aren’t necessary. With earth-sheltered homes, moisture penetration can be a problem, and the initial construction costs can be higher.

      Source: eHow Catherine Lugo, eHow Contributor updated: April 01, 2011

Robert Gluck | Advocates are challenging the global building sector to cut the carbon footprint of concrete and other products by 30% by 2014, and 50% by 2030. Edward Mazria, the American architect behind the influential 2030 Challenge to zero out fossil fuel use from all buildings, is turning to a new target: carbon-heavy construction materials. The “2030 Challenge for Products,” unveiled in February, challenges the global building community to cut the carbon footprint of concrete and other building materials by 50 percent by 2030, with an interim target of 30 percent beyond the average by 2014.

Executives eager to get their newly “green” products to market faster are embracing the effort.

“Moving these products into the marketplace has been difficult,” said Jeff Davis, an executive at  Houston, Texas-based U.S. Concrete, a maker of ready-mix concrete that has developed a product with a 30 percent lower carbon dioxide footprint. “Hopefully, the 2030 Challenge for Products will accelerate this process, challenging designers and specifiers to accept the advancements in concrete technology.”

Mazria, executive director of the nonprofit Architecture 2030, says the initiative builds on his 2030 Challenge, launched five years ago. That push was adopted by some of the sector’s biggest forces, including the American Institute of Architects and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, and was endorsed by President Obama, the nation’s mayors and many governors.

So far, supporters of the new challenge include some obvious allies: The Green Standard, Southface Green Building Services, BuildingGreen and the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF), a collaboration of construction and design firms.

Kathrina Simonen, an architect and structural engineer involved with CLF, told SolveClimate News that the effort will “leverage a significant established network to motivate action.”

The premise behind both 2030 challenges is that the world has just 20 years to cut energy consumption from the building sector to levels needed to avoid dangerous climate change.

Each year in the United States, buildings consume nearly 50 percent of total energy and contribute 47 percent of national greenhouse gas emissions. Most power use is in operations — lighting, heating and cooling. About 5 to 8 percent of yearly energy consumption comes from building materials and construction.

However, when the full lifecycle of the sector is considered — from manufacturing and transporting the products to constructing and operating the building for two decades — the percentages shift, says Mazria.

“About 60 percent of the total energy a new building would use over 20 years is for building operations,” he told SolveClimate News, “and about 40 percent is the materials in the building.”

Initiative to Impact All Product Manufacturing?

Experts say that cutting carbon emissions from building materials requires green improvements in three sectors: Factories must adopt more-efficient manufacturing processes and cleaner energy generation; transport must be cleaner-burning; and buildings must be built for low-carbon building products.The hope is that these changes could trickle across the entire manufacturing industry, said Francesca Desmarais, director of the 2030 Challenge for Products.

“That’s why we decided to look at taking on and addressing the building products, because it will also influence the entire product manufacturing sector,” she told SolveClimate News.

“Going forward [with the products challenge] will have a positive rippling effect,” Mazria said. “Once you start looking at this entire process, you begin to see things that you never even imagined.”

They also sought to speed and streamline efforts underway.

“Many people were doing good work in the product sector, but they were moving at a snail’s pace because of the complexity and variety,” Desmarais said. “We’re doing this to coalesce the movement and to get moving quicker.”

‘We’ll Know in 12 to 24 Months’ How Well It’s Working

Architecture 2030 set down benchmarks and developed protocols and standards to meet its carbon-reduction targets of 30 percent below each product’s average through 2014, increasing to 35 percent in 2015, 40 percent in 2020, 45 percent in 2025, and 50 percent by 2030.

But how exactly will the complex carbon footprints of building products be calculated? Mazria said it took a year to decide.

Initially, there were two options — “cradle-to-gate” impacts, from mining of the raw materials through transportation and manufacturing, and “cradle-to-grave,” which counts post-manufacturing greenhouse gas emissions, through installation of the product, covering all the energy used before it heads to the trash bin.

According to Mazria: “We had all sorts of discussions with industry experts on what this should be and decided on cradle-to-grave as the benchmark.”

“The industry is supportive now that they know what they’re counting,” Desmarais said. “Ours is a holistic approach, and as the entire sector coalesces around the benchmarks, we’ll know in 12 to 24 months how well everyone is moving in the same direction.”

Industry Not Keeping Up with Advancements

Some experts say that just making environmental impacts of building materials known is a fundamental first step in stoking demand for climate-friendly products.

Without that demand, “manufacturers will not even invest in the research required, nor publish the results” on the CO2 associated with their products, said Simonen of the Carbon Leadership Forum.

Simonen says her research is focused on the carbon accounting of concrete. She develops models that help ready-mix plants to compute and report the footprints of their different mixes. “Concrete is a unique material,” she said. “Its composition is to a great degree specified by structural engineers, and thus the design team can directly impact the manufacturing processes.”

Producing cement, the main ingredient of concrete, accounts for as much as 5 percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide.

Davis of U.S. Concrete said some of his firm’s recent projects have been manufactured using new technology that can cut the product’s carbon footprint in half by adding fly ash, slag and natural pozzolans into the mix, among other changes.

So far, though, industry hasn’t been able “to modify or change specifications at the same rate of technology advancements,” Davis said, though he’s hopeful Mazria’s challenge will change this.

Project to Generate ‘Transparent Carbon Info’

Also on board is the Healthy Building Network (HBN), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that tracks health impacts of the country’s buildings.

The network’s Pharos Project provides environmental information on a range of materials such as paint, carpet, flooring, acoustic ceilings and insulation.

Tom Lent, policy director for the organization, told SolveClimate News that the 2030 Challenge will expand HBN’s work as evaluator of building products.

“HBN has long been concerned about the significance of climate change emissions in the building product manufacturing sector,” Lent said. “But a lack of useful data and consistent guidelines for carbon calculations has hampered efforts to assess [products’] carbon footprints.

“This initiative has the potential to generate the type of credible and transparent carbon information needed to fill an important gap in our understanding.”

However, he warned: “[It] will be critical to make sure that carbon improvements do not come through the use of toxic materials at the cost of human health.”

content by SolveClimateBy Guest Writer at SolveClimate Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:30pm EDT

With the advent of increasingly innovative green technologies, architects are now more than ever able to fully maximize their sophisticated artistic visions, while simultaneously minimizing the negative environmental effects of their structures. As climates and resources shift, environmentally-conscious architecture is beginning to produce more and more complex, sustainable, and awe-inspiring buildings, signifying that green architecture is the wave of the future from both a creativity standpoint, as well as out of ecological necessity. In fact, in the most extreme and inventive cases, architects are now not only working to preserve the natural environment, but actually to positively affect, alter and improve it.

In its most basic form, green architecture signifies building designs and practices which predominantly utilize recyclable and renewable materials to create structures that operate on a minimal amount of energy. Efficient building models are able to run off of solar, wind, and sometimes water-powered energy generation and take up as little land as possible in order to preserve or encourage green space.

If you’re interested in more architecture inspiration, these posts will amaze you:

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A massive and trendsetting example of green architecture is the Hearst Tower in New York City, which in 2006 was the first building to become certified with an LEED Gold rating.

The towering skyscraper, which is built on top of the 1928 Hearst International Magazine Building, can boast that it was constructed out of 90% recycled materials and currently uses 26% less energy than is required by today’s standard building codes.

An even more space-age like recent example – one which dominates another skyline – is the Bahrain World Trade Center.

The complex’s two towers are connected by giant wind turbines, which are capable of providing up to 15% of the buildings’ total energy consumption.

And it’s not just about the skyscrapers. While plenty of private clients now choose to construct homes, offices, and schools out of recyclable materials, outfitting them with solar panels and energy-saving appliances, some properties go one step further, opting to adopt “green roofs.” This design choice is exactly what it sounds like: soil and grass-covered roofs that provide insulation for the home, give back the green space claimed by the building itself and, in the most sophisticated of cases, help to maintain the ecology for surrounding wildlife.

A stunningly simple residential example of this can be seen in the OS house built in Spain by NOLASTER Architects.

The art department at Nanyang Technological University offers an even more whimsical model.

This, however, is only the beginning. As green technology advances, so too do architects’ visions for its usage. Some, like Vincent Callebaut Architects’ “Lilypad Project”, which proposes ocean-based eco-city islands that run on collected rainwater, will most likely remain pure fantasy.

Others, like Sheila Kennedy’s “Soft House”, that makes use of solar-harvesting textiles, may simply be too costly to ever be put into mass production.

The ideas come in all shapes and sizes, from skyscrapers filled with agricultural farmland to single-family homes that run off of energy produced by the household’s own inhabitants and objects.

CK Designworks in Nanjing, China, has recently unveiled their design plans for a remarkably large eco-city development slated to begin construction shortly. And while some projects are focused on preserving natural resources and finding alternative energy sources, others like the Living Mountain, dream up the creation of entirely new micro-environments.

In this particular proposal, inhabitants will survive the growing desert landscape by building cities inside of massive, mountainous skyscrapers. While creating protection from the uninhabitable outside, the structure will also work to pull water from the region, cycling it inside to produce an entirely new climate and ecology.

One thing clear in all these plans, visions, proposals and dreams is that green architecture provides not only new challenges, but new opportunities for designers. It is an inspiring and growing field full of imagination and innovation, one which puts firmly in the architect’s hands the exciting responsibility of envisioning and constructing a new look for the future.

Source: by Maria Nemenman

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