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Sustainable construction trends to look out for in 2023

Sarah Kauter, managing director of Construction PR, provides an insight into what look to be the most popular “green” trends to look out for this year, while sharing her advice as to how best you can keep on top of industry trends yourself

The last year proved to be one of the most challenging periods for the construction industry in recent memory. Straight from a global pandemic, businesses were plunged into a cost-of-living crisis; energy costs rose exponentially, and many commonly used materials within the industry experienced shortages and delays in transportation.

As we continue into 2023, however, the industry does look set for a positive year, with the construction sector as a whole forecasted to reach $10.5 trillion in value by the end of the year, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2% between 2018 and 2023. The main driver of this growth? Sustainable construction.

Ensuring you are doing all you can to keep your business on top of the latest industry trends has always been an essential component of success, and those companies who fail to sufficiently invest enough resources into the most promising ones are often left behind at a severe disadvantage. Yet, keeping the UK government’s 2050 net-zero target in mind, and with an almost endless number of ways to incorporate sustainability within your construction brand, where do you begin?
2023 Green Construction Trends

Green building and net-zero design
In line with the government’s net-zero strategy, an estimated £90 billion is expected to be invested across the green building sector by the end of the decade, providing businesses with the support and reassurance they need to reinforce the UK’s ambition of a low-carbon economy. Launched in October 2021, the strategy has already seen £26bn invested in green industries, with 56,000 new jobs created in the meantime – a figure expected to rise to 440,000 by 2030 – something which the construction industry desperately needs.

Environmental consciousness is becoming a key aspect of the purchasing decision amongst an increasing number of existing and prospective customers; greater pressure is being placed upon developers to conform to their changing demands, and incorporate sustainability across their projects and developments. Whether that involves switching to eco-friendly materials, incorporating renewable energy sources, or locally sourcing what materials you do use, placing sustainable building practices at the heart of your construction activities will play a key role in determining success for years to come.

Modular building
Technological development within the modular building sector has enabled the construction industry to shift a number of what are considered “key” components of the building process offsite. Not only did this prove essential in maintaining productivity throughout the pandemic, but it also plays a major role in driving sustainability across the industry – reducing waste and carbon emissions that would otherwise be generated on-site. Whilst modular design isn’t a new trend by any means, it is well positioned to become one of the most popular approaches to construction within the building industry, with the global market expected to be valued at $157 billion come the end of 2023.

Living building materials
Living materials utilise microorganisms to replicate the functions of living organisms within the production of construction materials, enabling them to self-replicate, heal and repair cracks, absorb emitted carbon, and even grow and reproduce in ideal conditions. Whilst being a relatively new process, living building materials are already being applied across a number of projects – calcifying bacteria, for example, enables certain varieties of cement to heal themselves, whilst mycelium-based composites are sometimes used as a replacement for timber, foam, and plastic insulation.
Despite these mentioned benefits, however, advancements in living building materials are still in their early stages, and whilst many show potential to be effective on a larger scale long-term, further innovation remains necessary, to not only make them more financially viable, but also finetune their environmental potential.

How can you keep on top of industry trends?
Perhaps the most crucial way of keeping up to date with the industry is through networking.
Whether that’s attending industry events to observe what new materials your competitors are trialling, or connecting with like-minded companies on LinkedIn, for example, to gauge the activities or actions of industry leaders, communication is key when following trends. Don’t feel you have to keep on top of everything by yourself!

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