As the demand for green construction continues to increase and concerns about the planet’s resources mount, companies have found creative ways to make commercial building designs more sustainable by cohesively blending green and industrial design elements. From living walls to green barriers, here are some of the most popular and innovative green construction trends.

Living Walls

One up and coming trend right now is living walls. Living walls are walls covered in either compost or plants and shrubbery. As a design feature, they promote recycling of organic material and can help bring a touch of nature into urban settings. Some buildings also have living roofs, where they plant large rooftop gardens. Both can help companies adhere to an economic model that eliminates waste by reusing resources. One example is a new building project that the City of London Corporation is currently working on. The building will feature a five-story wall made from recycled aluminum and compost. The recycled compost will also be used for planting additional greenery.

Green Barriers

Green barriers are another important trend right now. The idea of a green barrier is to surround buildings that produce a lot of waste such as schools and factories with plants to help mitigate air pollution. Barriers can be made from trees, bushes, or fences covered in ivy and other plants. Some designs incorporate multiple layers of plant barriers. In Norway, a furniture manufacturer, Vestre, is about to start construction on a new factory that will be surrounded by 300-acres of forest. In addition, the roof of the factory will contain 1,200 solar panels.

Carbon Neutral Designs

Many businesses want their new construction projects to have carbon neutral designs. To accomplish this, designers use numerous tactics, including renewable energy sources, smart lighting, sustainable building materials such recycled steel, low-carbon concrete, and laminated timber, energy-efficient HVAC systems, and pay-it-forward strategies designed to offset emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Some companies want to take it a step further. For example, Snøhetta, a Norwegian design firm, plans to make all their building absorb more carbon than they emit by 2040.

In the coming years, sustainability will be the most significant challenges construction firms will have to contend with. As businesses strive to keep the planet clean for future generations, design elements such as living walls and green barriers are going to become more prominent.

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