The material science innovations building a greener future

How can companies square their ESG commitments with the need to build new office spaces for hybrid working? Here, we explore innovations in construction to make future workspace more sustainable

The carbon emissions produced by the construction of new buildings is a major concern for architects and designers. The materials we use in construction as well as those produced by the specialist equipment and vehicles onsite all make a significant contribution towards global warming.

But many offices spaces are now feeling outdated in the new world of work and aren’t meeting the needs of a hybrid workforce. So how can companies address the changing expectations of their staff by providing more tailored office spaces without damaging the environment?

It’s a good design question and, as ever, a work in progress. But new innovations in technology and materials science might provide the answers.  A series of innovations in construction that are helping make the office more efficient, more sustainable and more exciting. Here’s one as an example:

3D printing for concrete

Concrete is a staple of the construction industry but poses many problems for environmentalists. The use of the material generates large amounts of CO2 and is difficult to reuse once set. However, ETH Architects, in collaboration with Zaha Hadid Architects, has constructed a system for 3D printing concrete – it allows the design team to reduce the amount of concrete they use, thereby cutting emissions.

Having been used in the construction of a load-bearing bridge which can be easily dismantled and safely rebuilt in a new location, this material innovation offers flexibility and malleability without compromising the integrity of the structure. Could 3D printing be the solution to overuse of concrete within corporate construction? Potentially it could.

Read more about other sustainable innovations in the field of construction in an extended article in our Innovation Zone here.

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