Extreme weather events will prevail if the planet continues on the current climate trajectory. Initiatives worldwide are already tackling existing urban heat islands. As 38% of carbon emissions are generated by the global building sector, planet-conscious material innovation is necessary (Unep, 2020).
- Global sand shortages are sure to endure, given demand for the material is to increase 45% by 2060 (New Scientist, 2022). NTU Singapore researchers have devised a new concrete mix that replaces sand with upcycled glass, which can be effectively 3D-printed into weight-bearing structures.
- Dutch company Respyre has similarly concocted a new form of concrete. After hardening, the bioreceptive solution remains porous and retains water. Also including nutrients, the material enables moss to grow on its surface. The concrete can be used for original developments or added to façades of existing structures, keeping the host building cool and protected from the elements and purifying ambient air.
- Surface design can help boost buildings’ energy efficiency. A new optofluidic system, created by the University of Toronto researchers, emulates krill, which can change their shell pigmentation for sun protection.
The optofluidic cell features a layer of mineral oil sandwiched between two transparent sheets of plastic. Introducing water into the cell triggers a bloom of colour, controlled via a digital pump. If used on building surfaces, the amount of natural light and heat allowed to penetrate could be modulated, leading to a 30% reduction in electrical energy use.
Dig deeper into how biodesign is paving the way for the next generation of materials, geared towards sustainability, optimum performance and healthier ecosystems by downloading your sample report: The Biodesign Landscape 2022.
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