Saving energy and money: the importance of energy efficiency in the building sector
Today there is an increasing talk about energy efficiency, a concept that has become a mainstay in several areas, including modern building planning.
Here, when talking about energy efficiency, the emphasis is on the increasing need to achieve the same energy performance using fewer resources.
A philosophy that therefore embodies the increasingly important ideals of sustainability, innovation and savings. In a world progressively aware of energy consumption and its effects on the environment, the building sector plays a key role.
Benefits of energy efficiency in the building sector
Energy efficiency brings with it profound environmental benefits. Every kilowatt hour saved translates into a reduction in CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases. At a time when climate change is at the centre of the global debate, any initiative that contributes to its mitigation becomes crucial.
Reducing energy consumption also decreases the consumption of natural resources, depletion, and this leads to a more sustainable life cycle for our planet.
The world of construction is constantly evolving and new technologies aim to make buildings more and more efficient.
Thermal insulation, for example, is nowadays guaranteed thanks to the use of innovative materials capable of guaranteeing excellent performance with reduced thicknesses.
Heating and cooling systems have also radically changed: the latest generation of heat pumps, for example, offer efficiencies that were unthinkable just a few years ago.
Furthermore, the adoption of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind or geothermal, is becoming increasingly common, helping to further reduce the environmental impact of buildings.
And let’s not forget the importance of home automation and energy management systems: the ability to monitor and optimise consumption in real time makes our homes and offices real smart buildings.
Energy efficiency and materials
Energy efficiency in buildings is not only a question of advanced technological installations or good practices in energy management.
Consideration must also be given to the construction materials used. There are several building materials that can impact the energy efficiency of a building or structure.
For example, concrete is a material that can respond brilliantly to the need for energy efficiency.
This material, widely used in the construction of houses, buildings and structures in general, has a high thermal capacity. This means that it can slowly accumulate and release heat.
Thermal inertia makes it possible to reduce temperature fluctuations within buildings, thus reducing the need for additional heating or cooling.
During the hottest hours, the concrete absorbs heat, keeping the interior cooler, and during the night, it releases the accumulated heat, helping to keep the interior warm.
In addition, there are special types of concrete designed to offer even greater thermal insulation.
It should also be emphasised that the longevity and strength of concrete reduces the need for frequent repair and replacement, which in turn would require additional materials and energy.
Mixing plants Blendplants can be used for the production of concrete, structural concrete and coloured concrete.
The use of efficient and technological machinery also contributes to energy efficiency.
Mixing plants Blend Plants enable the mixing of concrete, even recycled concrete, while minimising waste and CO2 emissions.
What is important is that there is continuous innovation, ensuring that technologies and materials are used in a way that maximises the benefits in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability.
Today, it is impossible to ignore these concepts, since it is nature that demands it and there are also European laws.
The European Union has introduced a number of laws and directives on this subject. The most important of these is the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which lays down requirements for the energy certification of buildings, the regular inspection of heating and cooling systems, and the promotion of nearly zero-energy buildings.
The directive requires all new buildings to be near-zero energy buildings and requires member states to establish methodologies for assessing energy performance.
In conclusion, the energy efficiency of buildings can be improved by acting on several aspects: from the use of machinery and materials and their life cycle, to the use of new technologies and construction techniques to reduce consumption and increase performance.