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Construction Material Innovations for 2020

March 11, 2020

The construction industry has seen a lifetime of building material innovations, from the sturdy marble used in ancient structures to the steel in skyscrapers and bridges. In recent years, most building materials have been extracted from nature, which results in high construction costs and inefficiencies. However, advancements in technology have given us new building materials that are just as capable of creating lasting structures but are more eco-friendly and cost effective. 

New Austin construction projects built with these innovative materials will be better equipped to handle architectural challenges, too. Here are the latest construction building materials that may very well change the way that Austin commercial builders build.

Light-Generating Concrete

Luminescent houses and buildings — it sounds like something from a fantasy movie. But in recent years, it has become a reality. Of course, traditional cement does not allow light to pass through. But when scientists use certain additives with the raw material makeup of cement, they prevent the formation of crystals that normally occur during the production of cement. This results in a material similar to glass, which allows light to pass through. 

The concrete absorbs sunlight during the day — much like a solar panel — and releases that light at night, creating an illuminated surface. Even on cloudy days, the cement can absorb enough energy to glow for up to twelve hours at a time. This eco-friendly lighting technique can be used to illuminate buildings, walkways, and bike paths without relying on electricity.

Hydroceramic Brick

We Austinites are used to sweltering summers, just as long as we have the steady help of our AC units to get us through. But there’s a new way to keep buildings cool — and it’s not only more environmentally friendly but saves a bundle on HVAC costs, too. 

Hydroceramic bricks are essentially self-cooling walls. Made from two layers of ceramic, fabric, and hydrogels, these bricks can absorb 500 times their weight in water. On hot days, they release the water, dropping the temperature down by an average of six degrees Celsius. A cooler space without a spike in the energy bill? Sign us up!

Prefabricated Laminated Timber 

Thanks to prefabricated timber, it’s possible to use wood in new construction without causing unnecessary environmental impact. Prefabricated, solid engineered wood panels offer extreme strength, design versatility, and low environmental impact, which makes them preferable to traditional choices such as concrete, masonry, or steel. Prefabricated timber is also lightweight and easy to install, making it the wood of the future in construction.

Self-Healing Concrete

A new concrete that repairs itself once exposed to heat has the potential to save Austin contractors a lot of time and labor — which means you save, too. Designed with water-activated bacteria, self-healing concrete produces calcite to heal cracks. This results in reduced infrastructure maintenance and greenhouse gas production, and therefore a more environmentally friendly method of building. 

Modular Bamboo

Bamboo was made for building. It’s one of the most naturally sustainable materials out there — in fact, it grows up to four feet per day, and once harvested it can regrow without needing to be replanted. Because it’s two to three times stronger than steel, it makes a perfect construction material for building earthquake-resistant buildings. It’s also pliable enough to create new architectural forms while remaining sturdy enough to reinforce steel bars.

Looking for Austin Commercial Builders for Your Project?

Here at Paradisa, we provide superior architectural, design, and construction services for your next development, retail location, industrial facility, or office building. Whatever styles you love, Paradisa is ready to partner with your company to design and build a commercial property that reflects your mission. Contact us to start planning your Austin construction project today!

Header image courtesy of Material Transformations.