Smart building: Time for sustainable construction

The United Nations warn that in 2050, the global population of people living in large cities will have increased from 54% to 64%, thereby adding 2.5 billion people to urban areas. Given this situation, the need to create more sustainable and energy efficient buildings becomes essential.


17 September 2019 |

As in many other sectors, the world of construction is undergoing a process of great change. Environmental awareness and the policies being applied by the European Union with the aim of reducing pollution and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN compel all those involved in the construction process to adapt to these new times. Manufacturers, architects, interior designers, technological centres, clusters, and government agencies work together to promote a new kind of much more efficient and environmentally friendly construction.

Just this week Madrid is hosting the leading trade fare dedicated to the concept of Smart building: the exhibition Rebuild, which in its second year will host over 8,000 professionals and 3,500 participants. It will be a unique opportunity to delve into one of the revolutions that will shape the coming years, discover the recent advances in construction and reflect upon its future.

What is Smart Building?

Sustainable construction is a concept that is clearly booming for energy efficiency reasons, but it is also a positive means of generating wealth and social well-being. This type of building involves not only the selection of appropriate materials and construction processes, but also the urban environment and its development. It is based on the proper management and re-use of natural resources as well as energy conversation.

Sustainable construction develops buildings with the aim of increasing their useful life and focuses considerable effort on improving their energy efficiency. This is achieved by various means, which we differentiate as passive measures and active measures.

Among the passive measures, we find ways of using natural resources to minimise energy demands. In this field we could use, for example, inverted roofing with high density insulation (a type of roof that is usually flat, and where the thermal insulation protects the waterproof layer); cross-ventilation to naturally regulate the inside temperature, or a logical layout which positions the living rooms with an orientation guaranteeing sunlight during winter.

On the other hand, we have the active measures, which are those that are focused on reducing the energy consumption of the building by utilising efficient systems, such as renewable energy or the effective use of available resources. For example, it is possible to use aerothermal heat pumps that generate low CO2 emissions; electrical lighting systems using LEDs; communal lighting controlled by timers or motion sensors, or the installation of solar panels.

In Withfor, we have a new development (ref. BCN748_1) with Energy Certification A (the greenest). Take a look at it here.

Sustainable construction increases the value of properties

As David Martínez, director of the Rebuild 2019 exhibition, puts it: “We want to turn construction into the driving force of the economy and create a more competitive sector thanks to its industrialisation and digitalisation” and with this in mind he adds: “It is a collective effort that requires political support and incentives”. In this vein, the European Union (in order to comply with the Kyoto Protocol and the law 2012/27/UE) has set the target that by 31 December 2020, countries have practically zero energy consumption in their buildings, this is why the member states have implemented diverse laws to encourage Smart building.

According to the Inmodiario website, in Spain green building will enhance real estate values by up to 20%. Experts on the matter, calculate that an initial investment of 2% in the design of a sustainable building, will end up generating a 20% saving on the total construction costs throughout the building’s life cycle. Likewise, the operating costs are reduced by 9%, this increases the value of the property and therefore improves the return on investment.

Considering a building’s operation, sustainable buildings consume 26% less energy, they spend 13% less on maintenance costs, produce 33% less emissions of greenhouse gasses and occupants report a 27% higher level of satisfaction.

So, we are sure that sustainable construction is a trend that is here to stay. That is why, in keeping with the values that define us an ethical estate agency, Withfor prioritises and gives more visibility to housing developed according to sustainable criteria. One such building, for example, is the Melcior de Palau which was built under Smart building criteria, including the air exchange system with energy recuperation and water coils for air conditioning, among others.

We invite proprietors who opt for sustainable construction to join this effort. At Withfor you will always find a partner for the management of your properties, because we are convinced that the future of the sector will undergo a paradigm shift with regard to energy that will result in greener cities, with greater economic reward within the sector and which generate social well-being.

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