Innovation is a wide concept. It includes improvements in processes, products or services, and involves incorporating new ideas which generate changes to solve problems and challenges – even our own architectural glazing products are subject to evolution.
Companies that innovate are able to be more competitive, and industry wide innovation can yield far reaching results that can be hugely beneficial. Despite the importance of the sector to the wider economy, the construction industry hasn’t always been quick to innovate – the application of innovation within the industry is not straightforward, as the needs of construction projects are often diverse and ever changing.
New materials and energy, design approaches and advances in technology are set to create a wave of innovation in the construction industry. Raconteur’s 2015 report on the Future of Construction lists a number of the most significant and interesting innovations in recent years and the near future. As suppliers of architectural glazing to the construction industry, we belive it improtant to keep up to date with the latest innovations within the industry, and here are some of the teams favourites:
Concrete is the most widely produced and consumed material on Earth besides water. The material is commonly used in buildings, roads, and bridges, and is constantly seeing greater demand. Researchers at Bath University have been working on a self-healing concrete mix in a bid to prevent cracking, a longstanding issue faced by the industry. Self-activating bacteria embedded within the material produce limestone when coming into contact with water, plugging cracks to prevent water and oxygen corroding steel reinforcements.
Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) glazing can effectively turn an entire building’s exterior into a large solar panel. The technology features solar cells contained between sheets of glass that convert light into electricity, and, as the material is semi-transparent, also has the effect of reducing heat in rooms that feature PV over clear windows. Manufacturers of BIPV offer a number of variations of the material that provide different levels of efficiency, light penetration and insulation depending on the needs of the customer.
Kinetic Roads and Footfall
Kinetic energy is another area that has seen development in recent years. Currently there are a number of businesses working on technology that harnesses kinetic energy, both from footsteps and from traffic. For the latter, Italian start-up Underground Power has worked in co-operation with the Polytechnic University of Milan to develop a rubber paving that collects energy from cars as they brake, promoting sustainability of road traffic while improving road safety. Meanwhile, Pavegen are at the forefront of harnessing kinetic footfall, and have completed over 100 projects worldwide in various locations including stadiums, shopping centres, train stations and airports.
Modular construction – where a building is constructed in a factory controlled environment and ‘put together’ at the final destination – is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, US and China. The method offers a sustainable alternative to on-site construction and allows for projects to be completed incredibly quickly – last year, Chinese developer Broad Sustainable Building completed a 57 storey skyscraper in just 19 working days.
If you’d like to find out more about what Architectural Wallsz do, about our architectural glazing products and services, or would like to request a quote, please contact us on 0121 374 0070 or email email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!