The construction sector globally currently consumes more energy (34%) than the transport sector (27%) or maybe the industry sector (28%). It is additionally the biggest polluter, using the biggest potential for significant cuts to greenhouse gas emissions compared to other sectors, at no cost.
Buildings present an easy to access and highly cost-effective opportunity to reach energy targets. An eco friendly building is certainly one that minimises energy use during design, construction, operation and demolition.
The desire to reduce energy use during the operation of buildings is now commonly accepted worldwide. Changing behaviour could result in a 50% reduction in energy use by 2050.
Such savings are strongly relying on the quality of buildings. Passive buildings are ultra-low energy buildings in which the requirement for mechanical cooling, heating or ventilation might be eliminated.
Modular or prefabricated green buildings, designed and constructed in factories using precision technologies, might help achieve these standards. These buildings are better quality and much more sustainable than buildings constructed on-site through manual labour. These are potentially two times as efficient compared to on-site building.
However, despite support for prefab house there are numerous of hurdles in the way of a prefab revolution.
Factory production means modular green buildings are better sealed against draughts, which in conventional buildings can make up 15-25% of winter heat loss.
And factories have higher quality control systems, creating improved insulation placement and energy efficiency. Good insulation cuts energy bills by around half in comparison to uninsulated buildings.
Because production in the factory setting is on-going, as an alternative to depending on individual on-site projects, there exists more scope for R&D. This enhances the performance of buildings, including causing them to be more resilient to disasters.
As an example, steel workshop in Japan have performed adequately during earthquakes, with key manufacturers reporting that none in their houses were destroyed with the 1995 Hanshin Great Earthquake, as opposed to the destruction of many site-built houses.
Buildings constructed on-site probably can’t reach the same benefits as modular buildings. Case studies in the UK show savings of 10% to 15% in building costs as well as a 40% reduction in transport for factory when compared with on-site production. Factories also don’t lose time because of bad weather and possess better waste recycling systems.
Sorting waste at Sekisui House Ltd Recycling Centre. Karen Manley
For example, Sekisui House, a Japanese builder, carries a system for all those their construction sites where waste is sorted into 27 categories on-site and 80 categories in their recycling centre for top level value through the resources.
On-site building is accessible to the climate. This prevents access to the precision technologies needed to produce buildings towards the highest environmental standards. These technologies include numerical controlled machinery, robotic assembly, building information models, rapid prototyping, assembly lines, test systems, fixing systems, lean construction and enterprise resource planning systems.
For instance, numerical controlled machinery provides more precise machine cutting that can’t be matched by manual efforts. This, combined with modelling, fixing and testing 98dexppky helps guarantee that factories produce more airtight buildings, in comparison to on-site production, reducing energy leakage.
High-Tech Factory, Shizuoka, Sekisui House Ltd. Karen Manley, Author provided
Below 5% of brand new detached residential buildings around australia are modular green buildings.
In leading countries like Sweden the speed is 84%.
In Japan, 15% of all their residential buildings are modular green buildings created in the world’s most technologically advanced factories.
Globally, you will find a trend toward increased market penetration of green modular buildings. Yet their adoption in the Australian building sector has been slower than expected.
Constructing houses at your location is less sustainable. Grand Canyon National Park/Flickr, CC BY
However, we can easily still catch up. The most up-to-date evidence suggests that strengthening building codes and providing better enforcement is the most cost effective path towards more sustainable housing.
Australia doesn’t possess a great record here. Our building codes could be better focused, stricter, and certainly our enforcement might be a lot better.
Building in the future
Since the biggest polluter and a high energy user, your building sector urgently needs to reform for global warming mitigation.
There are actually serious legacy issues. Mistakes we made before endure during the entire lifetime of buildings. Building decisions we make today can be quite costly to reverse, and buildings continue for decades! In Australia, a timber building is probably going to last no less than 58 years, along with a brick building no less than 88 years.
Currently, potential building owners are funnelled toward on-site construction processes, regardless of the clearly documented great things about light steel villa. This is certainly reflected inside the low profile presented to modular housing inside the National Construction Code and a lack of aggressive and well enforced environmental standards. We clearly need better policy to aid the modular green building industry.