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Sustainable innovation is the process in which sustainability considerations including environmental and economy are taken into account from idea generation to research, development, and commercialization. Since construction emit significant quantity of CO2 into air, numerous attempts have been made to make used materials and construction process more environmentally friendly.

Several materials have been developed which potentially play significant role in building construction in future. For instance, cigarette butt bricks. transparent wood, hydrogel, super-hydrophobic cement, breathe bricks, bamboo-reinforced concrete

1. Cigarette Butt Bricks

The addition of cigarette butt to the mixture of bricks is a construction innovation thorough which more environmentally friendly product can be manufactured and dumped cigarette butts are declined.

Not only does the addition to cigarette but cut brick production costs but also resulted in lighter bricks, with better insulation properties, reducing household heating and cooling costs.

The percentage of cigarette butt addition is based on the purpose for which bricks are constructed. This is because high percentage of cigarette butts would lead to the reduction of brick dry density and compressive strength.  

Cigarette Butt Bricks
Fig. 1: Cigarette Butt Bricks
Cigarette Butts
Fig. 2: Cigarette Butts

2. Transparent Wood 

Transparent wood is one of innovative construction materials which possibly shape construction in the future. It is environmentally-friendly and an alternative to plastic and glass. Transparent wood is produced by treating and compressing wood strips. In production process, lignin is replaced by polymer to make the wood transparent.

As far as transparent wood strength is concerned, it has the same strength of lumber whilst being far lighter. Finally, transparent wood could be utilized in home construction and bring more light into the house, consequently reduce the need for artificial light which can consume a lot of power

Transparent Wood
Fig. 3: Transparent Wood

3. Hydrogel

Rosiak and Yoshii define hydrogel as a crosslinked three-dimensional polymeric network structure, which can absorb and retain considerable amounts of water.

The hydrogel has the ability to cool a room down that is why it is placed between wall panels. So, it is can be concluded that, hydrogel is environmentally friendly material and reduce energy cost used to cool down buildings.

Layered Hydrogel between Wall Panels
Fig. 4: Layered Hydrogel between Wall Panels

4. Super-hydrophobic Cement

Super hydrophobic cement is produced by modifying the structure of cement. It absorbs and reflect lights which makes it an environmentally friendly materials and an alternative to street lighting.

Super hydrophobic cement could be an astonishing solution to light up roads and buildings without any electrical equipment.

It is claimed that such type of cement can radiate up to 12 hours of light provided that it is exposed to sunlight during the same amount of time.

Super-hydrophobic Cement
Fig. 5: Super-hydrophobic Cement

5. Breathe Bricks

Breathe Brick is a masonry system which is designed and constructed to constitute and be part of ventilation system of buildings. It filters polluted outdoor air so that it becomes healthy enough to bring directly into occupied spaces.

It is reported that, breathe brick system removes 30% of fine particles and 100% coarse particles and hence make the air in the room healthier.

Breathe Brick
Fig. 6:Breathe Brick
Breathe Brick Wall
Fig. 7: Breathe Brick Wall

6. Bamboo-reinforced Concrete

Bamboo is another material which can be used in certain application instead to steel bars. bamboo is certain limitations which prevents its wider application for instance expansion and construction issues.

Not only does bamboo need lower cost to produce readily available in many tropical and sub-tropical locations compare with steel bars but also it consumes large quantity of CO2 as it grows, therefore making it more sustainable than steel.

Read more on Bamboo Reinforced Concrete:

Bamboo Reinforced Concrete – Properties, Mix Proportion, Design and Construction
Bamboo Reinforced Concrete
Fig. 8: Bamboo Reinforced Concrete

About Madeh Izat HamakareemVerified

Madeh is a Structural Engineer who works as Assistant Lecturer in Koya University. He is the author, editor and partner at theconstructor.org.