The construction and building industry is a significant contributor to CO2 emissions. Between building operations, materials, and construction, it’s responsible for almost 40% of global greenhouse gas (GHG).

The construction industry is constantly evolving. Engineers, architects, and scientists have been working together to create new materials and technologies for the industry. Not only are these better for the environment, but their sustainability increases the lifespan and durability of the buildings built with them.

Awareness of our carbon footprint is becoming increasingly important; innovation has become pivotal in paving the way towards a healthier, brighter future.

Here are three developing materials and technologies to keep watching in 2022.

Bendable Concrete 

Concrete is a staple in construction. It is comparably inexpensive but also brittle and susceptible to cracking and breakage. This material, used in almost every building project, is worthy of innovative consideration.

Bendable concrete, more formally known as Engineered Cementitious Composite (ECC), is made with all the standard components of conventional cement (except coarse aggregates) and then infused with polymer-derived fibers such as steel fiber, ordinary fiber, polyvinyl alcohol fiber, and plastic fiber. This process increases the concrete’s tensile plasticity, strength, and strain capabilities. The fibers are also infused with carbon dioxide, which reacts with water (from rain or flooding) to “self-heal” micro cracks.

ECC has a higher initial cost, but the maintenance and repair cost is much lower, proving its ultimate economic sustainability. Bendable concrete also incorporates the reuse of industrial waste, and its durability decreases overall CO2 emissions.

Mass Timber 

Mass timber has multiple names: man-made wood, composite wood, engineered wood, and manufactured board. Created by mechanically bonding different types of softwood together, mass timber is a prefabricated option that is sustainable and eco-friendly. Though wood is considered weaker than other materials and is a more significant fire hazard, this engineered wood is panelized and laminated, providing both strength and fire resistance.

Cross-laminated timber, laminated strand lumber, laminated veneer lumber, glue-laminated timber, and nail-laminated timber are all types of mass timber.

While steel and concrete leave a large carbon footprint, mass timber can significantly reduce biogenic carbon emissions. In addition, the use of mass timber speeds up building processes and reduces waste.

Trash and Salvaged Materials 

Repurposing and reusing materials is not a new idea. But the idea of repurposing is also catching on in the construction world.

Architects and builders are discovering more and more ways to reuse and recycle materials — both from previous worksites and otherwise. Supplies and materials from tear-down sites, scrap metal, recycled glass, recycled paper, and cardboard turn into practical and efficient materials for construction. For example, recycled paper and cardboard can become high-quality cellulose insulation.

However, plastic bottles (or trash!) have also come on the scene as sustainable recyclable. So, while we’ve been recycling plastic for a long time, we can now use them to create polyethylene terephthalate (PET) core materials. Their longevity, strength-to-weight ratio, and thermal capabilities make PET core materials perfect for carpets, insulation, exterior cladding paneling, stuffing, and even car parts. In addition, they emit a low amount of CO2 gases.

At Gillmann Services, sustainable materials and an eco-friendly focus is something we’re proud to stand behind. In addition, we’re dedicated to supplying quality talent to our customers with an additional emphasis on manufacturing, mining, and marine construction. Remember, “We Work for You!” So, contact us today!