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Energy Efficiency in Construction Industry

According to the United States Department of Energy, the construction industry both commercial and residential modernized, at the same time, energy efficiency has gained great importance. As the concept of energy efficiency emerged within the construction industry, individuals and firms have since explored ways on how to achieve optimally efficient construction using lesser costs, while preserving the environment.

So what’s the fuzz about energy?

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Going back to our discussion regarding energy…

Growing Demand for Energy

According to Bartoletto’s study in 2012, the demand for energy started surging since the industrial revolution. Over the years, energy became a crucial commodity, even considering it as one of the factors in determining a country’s success in terms of economy.

While Calautit and Hughes’s study in 2016 states that the demand for energy is predicted to continually increase as the population also increases. For instance, in the construction industry, the worldwide demand for comfort in building infrastructure is growing, and installation of comfort features in buildings demands for a greater supply of energy.

Not yet convinced? Well, the world energy consumption is 12,267 Mtoe, and this amount has doubled since the 1970s. Also, over the years, energy consumption has significantly increased in Asia and the Middle East, and in countries like China and the former Soviet Union.

Energy Consumption and Environment

However, most often, development is preceded by sacrifices, in the same way, that the tremendous demand and consumption of energy have posed negative effects on the environment and human health. In the long run, the concern regarding the environmental impact of energy consumption has gained international concern. For instance, in 2009, the European Council adopted the “Climate Action and Renewable Energy”, the agreement requires participating states to reduce greenhouse gases emissions up to 20 percent.

Energy Efficiency and the Environment

As energy consumption consistently increases, so as pressure from different environmental sectors. Since industrial progress requires large sums of energy consumption, energy efficiency is one of the solutions seen to balance industrial progress and environmental preservation.

Due to the growing environmental concerns, energy efficiency methods have emerged worldwide. Different production sectors and industries have adopted measures to promote energy efficiency. One important industry is the construction industry.

In 2016, the study of Calautit and Hughes sites that the construction industry alone comprises 40% of the world’s total energy consumption, making it one of the most important industries to undertake energy efficiency methods. Also, according to the study of Petri, Kubicki, Rezqui, Guerriero, and Li in 2017, Europe’s construction industry alone encompasses 40% of Europe’s energy and carbon dioxide emissions.

What are the major trends of energy efficiency in the construction industry?

Resource Conversation

Resource conservation is a popular key basic technique in energy and material efficiency. Why? For instance, resource or material production greatly consumes non-renewable energy, and the consumption of non-renewable energy can cause greenhouse gas emissions. In which case, preserving resources is a key basic strategy in implementing sustainable construction practices. Not only does it help with construction costs, it also significantly helps in preserving depleted energy resources.

Not only that, the study of Ruuska & Hakkinen in 2014 mentions how resource conservation is one of the major requirements in most construction-related regulations over the world, most of them integrating energy efficiency strategies in construction practices. For instance, in Europe, Construction Product Regulation requires resource conservation as part of their basic requirements in preserving building life spans and promoting sustainable construction strategies.

Also, the study of Akadiri, Chinyio, and Olomolaiye in 2012 states that conservation and efficient usage of energy should be present in as early as the beginning of building plans. For example, resource conservation through proper appropriation and recycling of resources. These techniques enable lesser energy consumption and promotes minimal impact to the environment.

Energy Efficient Thermal Materials and Design

Satisfactory thermal cooling in buildings is one of the primary requirements in building construction, however, thermal features in buildings usually require huge energy consumption, making thermal energy efficiency a must in building design. Thermal energy-efficient strategies may vary such as air circulation and passive cooling techniques.

The study of Zachariadis et al. in 2018 sites examples of energy-efficient thermal materials known in the construction industry such as solar thermal water heating, geothermal materials for air heating and cooling, solar thermal collectors, roof insulation, and energy-saving light equipment.

There’s more! Energy efficiency in construction can also be implemented through architectural design. The study of Lavaf Pour in 2011 sites methods such as minimizing heat absorption through interception and reflection. These methods rely on environmental advantages such as correct positioning of trees on the building layout for heat absorption and appropriate choice of colors for roofs that prevent heat absorption respectively.

However, the study of Pisello, Bobker, & Cotana in 2012 says energy efficiency in terms of architectural design is not always effective, actual building performance and thermal zone function are far from the estimations in the design phase. They conducted a study on the university campus of Baruch College in Manhattan, particularly its multipurpose buildings. Although Baruch College has excellent design and construction interventions in terms of energy efficiency strategies, there were still energy waste outcomes because of thermal condition demands.

Solar Energy Efficiency

One of the most popular energy efficiency trends is solar energy efficiency. The study of Sharma, Jain, & Sharma in 2015 defines solar energy as a kind of energy source that is either naturally or synthetically obtained through energy conversion without using non-renewable energy.

Thermal conditions such as heating, cooling, and passive procedures which induce natural or hybrid ventilation are important in constructing sustainable buildings. These conditions can be achieved efficiently through utilizing solar energy materials that promote energy efficiency. The study of Omer in 2012 also sites other ways such as solar cells manipulation that is usually done during energy conversion. Another is the installation of solar chimneys which can create indoor airflow and thus reduce air-conditioning demand.

However, solar energy can be challenging in terms of cost, materials, and climate. The costs for setting up a solar panel alone is already expensive, while installation and usage of solar energy can be impeded by climate conditions as solar panels are usually affected by outdoor climate conditions.


It has been established that energy consumption poses a threat to the environment, and the construction industry is one of the largest energy consumers in the world. Hence, energy efficiency methods in the construction industry has emerged. Three of the most popular trends of energy efficiency in construction are: resource conservation, energy-efficient thermal materials and design, and solar energy efficiency. These trends undertake techniques that balance costs, efficiency and preservation of the environment.

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Akadiri, P. O., Chinyio, E. A., & Olomolaiye, P. O. (2012). Design of a sustainable building: A conceptual framework for implementing sustainability in the building sector. Buildings2(2), 126-152.

Bartoletto, S. (2012). Patterns of Energy Transitions The Long-Term Role of Energy in the Economic Growth of Europe. In N. Mollers, & K. Zachmann (Eds.), Past and Present Energy Societies (pp. 305-330). Transcript Verlag.

Calautit, J. & Hughes, B. (2016). Sustainable Buildings: opportunities, challenges, aims, and vision. Sustainable Buildings, 1, 1-4.

Lavaf Pour, Y. (2011). Passive low energy architecture in hot and dry climate. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences.

Omer, A. M. (2012). Built environment: Relating the benefits of renewable energy technologies. International Journal of Automotive and Mechanical Engineering5, 561-75.

Petri, I., Kubicki, S., Rezgui, Y., Guerriero, A., & Li, H. (2017). Optimizing Energy Efficiency in Operating Build Environment Assets through Building Information Modeling: A Case Study. Energies, 10, 1167.

Pisello, A. L., Bobker, M., & Cotana, F. (2012). A building energy efficiency optimization method by evaluating the effective thermal zones occupancy. Energies5(12), 5257-5278.

Ruuska, A., & Häkkinen, T. (2014). Material efficiency of building construction. Buildings4(3), 266-294.

Sharma, S., Jain, K. K., & Sharma, A. (2015). Solar cells: in research and applications—a review. Materials Sciences and Applications6(12), 1145.

Zachariadis, T., Michopoulos, A., Vougiouklakis, Y., Piripitsi, K., Ellinopoulos, C., & Struss, B. (2018). Determination of cost-effective energy efficiency measures in buildings with the aid of multiple indices. Energies11(1), 191.

Originally posted 2020-04-21 04:29:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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