Sustainable Building Practices
Sustainable Building Practices in the Construction Industry
Florida Tech Prepares Graduates on Current Design Methods
Florida Tech construction management students can choose sustainability courses for their technical electives and obtain a minor in sustainability without taking any additional credits beyond the program requirement. Students interested in sustainable construction practices will want to choose this area of study to learn how architects are designing energy efficient homes and commercial buildings with sustainability in mind.
Natural light, rooftop solar panels, smart windows that block UV rays, and advanced energy-efficient HVAC systems and water heaters are all part of sustainable building methods. These methods also include what the industry calls low-impact building materials that use less energy. Examples include recycled materials, locally sourced composite lumber, biodegradable natural paints or modular components.
From the production of materials to the building process, the construction industry is responsible for 40 percent of the energy consumption in the United States (or 19 percent worldwide), according to a study by the U.S. Department of Energy. Construction companies are turning to renewable energy to create more environmentally friendly building practices. The construction industry continues to update its priorities to include green, net zero and sustainable building practices.
A focus on sustainable building methods gives Florida Tech students a chance to learn about the current topics in the industry including:
- Minimizing the carbon footprint
- Sustainable construction materials
- Recycled building materials
- Maximizing environmental conditions for light and ventilation
to reduce energy use
- Solar and wind power
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- Water Technologies: reuse, conservation, rainwater harvesting,
on-site sewage treatment
- Storm water management with landscaping
- Low-emittance windows and smart glass
- Cool roofs: solar reflecting and thermal reducing
Sustainable building construction technologies are constantly being developed and made more affordable for wide-scale distribution as the demand for green building increases. The U.S. Green Building Council estimates that in 2015, 40% of new home construction will be green structures. Professionals trained in sustainable construction methods and products will be in highest demand with construction firms and homeowners. Additionally LEED certification, the most popular and widely used green building rating system, is referenced in project specifications for 71 percent of projects valued at $50 million and over, up 13.2 percent over 2014.
While commercial, educational, healthcare and retail projects have led the way in green sustainable building, data centers, hotels, warehouses and distribution center are expected to be the next segments of the industry to focus on sustainability, as well as renovation projects.
As building codes shift, certification credentials change, consumer demand increases, and architects, engineers and designers get more creative, the introduction of new and exciting green building solutions will result in the creation of high-performance, low-energy, healthy buildings that not only change the construction business but address greenhouse gases, climate change and natural resource management. Students at Florida Tech have an opportunity to explore sustainable building practices and prepare for the next generation of the construction industry.