Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Innovation and Technical Advances in Construction Industry, seen over the last decade

Innovation and Technical Advances in Construction Industry, seen over the last decade

With growth & innovation of industries in various sectors over the last decade, real estate and construction was no exception. Technical Advancement and innovation in technology is witnessed in various facets of construction industry right from concrete technology to Air Conditioning.
There have been various innovations seen over the last decade, some of which are exemplified below
1.Smart Dynamic Concrete (SDC): Smart Dynamic Concrete (SDC) is a concept introduced to the Asian market in the recent past. With SDC it is possible to achieve self-compacting properties using a lower amount of cementitious material without detrimental effects. The production of SDC is made possible by combining an innovative Viscosity Modifying Agent (termed VMA) with a Super plasticizer. This combination of admixtures is capable of delivering a mix that is highly stable and robust. The VMA also enables the concrete producer to achieve self-compacting properties with lower fines and paste contents without the risk of excessive bleeding and tendency to segregate.
As engineers, contractors and ready mixed concrete suppliers continue to learn about the benefits of SDC. Interest in the use of SDC is rapidly growing because it has the potential to deliver considerable savings to all parties concerned. Moreover, these savings are achieved without compromising the plastic and ultimate properties of concrete making SDC an attractive proposition.
Target performance - For this purpose a project to develop SCC (self-compacted concrete) mixes with fines content (material passing 0.1 mm sieve) of not more than 380 kg/m3 and possibly reduce it to 350 kg/m3 so as to be used in normal ready mixed concrete in place of concrete strength class 25-35 MPa was initiated. The need for extra fillers (100 to 150 kg/m3) is to be eliminated or reduced, as is its cost. A Viscosity Modifying Admixture (VMA) should maintain the homogeneity of the SCC and increase its robustness, without affecting the flows significantly (low yield value) and enhances plastic viscosity. The cement content in the mix is determined on the strength class or the exposure conditions for durability and the W/C. The remaining fines are provided by afiller. In the course of the project it became clear that conventional VMAs do not deliver the needed robustness in application against variations in w/c-ratio. A new type of VMA was developed.
2. Energy Efficiency VRV Air Conditioning: Latest invention in VRV (variable refrigerant volume) technology is Variable Refrigerant Temperature (VRT) which is more energy efficient with compact and light weight design and operated at a lower sound which increases seasonal efficiency and comfort. It is basically a customized VRV with automatic variable refrigerant temperature control. VRT maintains perfect balance in terms of top efficiency through most of the year with a quick reaction speed in the hottest days. The biggest benefit of VRT is its quick reaction to peak load to keep the set point by point by maintaining a balance between the load, discharge temperature, efficiency and indoor temperature.

3. Fire Safety in Building Façade:
Building façade can significantly affect the spread of fire:
Although many believe that façades have no or little impact on the spread of fire in buildings, a large scale test carried out by the University of Zagreb Faculty of Civil Engineering, Fire Safe Europe and the Croatian Association for Fire Protection (HUZOP), has revealed that façade fires can in fact spread very rapidly depending on the type of materials used. The spread of fire can be understood from the following photographs.

picture 1

The importance of choosing the right material:
Prof. Bjegović, PhD pointed out: 'Using the right material on façade is very important as has been witnessed nowadays. The test showed how the façade covered with EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) which is a type of cheaper combustible thermal insulation, nowadays extensively used, can behave devastatingly in a fire. However the façade using only noncombustible, stone wool insulation had minimal fire damage only to the finish layer, and even more importantly the fire did not spread onto the neighboring floors. This is particularly important factor in buildings where, in case of fire, the safe and quick evacuation of large number of people is paramount. This need to be taken into account both in new constructions and energy renovation projects, especially for public buildings such as shopping malls, schools, hospitals or care homes.’
Zero Carbon Materials for Sustainable Homes:
In today’s world, Zero Carbon Homes and energy efficiency is one of the most discussed subjects. Energy being the most challenging focus across globe, Zero carbon materials for sustainable Homes always brings our interest.
The UK government is committed to sustainable growth and the green agenda. This is demonstrated through various legally binding targets and standards, from which the Climate Change Act 2008 (CCA) is considered one of the most important. The Act mandates an 80% reduction in CO2 from the 1990 levels, which are used as a baseline, by 2050.
The Zero Carbon Buildings policy forms part of Government’s wider strategy to achieving the CCA target, while at the same time assists in tackling other important issues including energy security and fuel poverty.
Zero Carbon Policy
The policy, as set out today, requires all new homes from 2016 to mitigate, through various measures, all the carbon emissions produced on-site as a result of the regulated energy use. This includes energy used to provide space heating and cooling, hot water and fixed lighting, as outlined in Part L1A of the Building Regulations. Emissions resulting from cooking and ‘plug-in’ appliances such as computers and televisions are not being addressed as part of this policy.
This policy is well aligned with European Policy, specifically the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (recast) which requires all new buildings to be nearly Zero Energy Buildings from 2020 (nZEB), as described in Article 2 of the EPBD.
There are three core requirements which must all be met for a home to qualify as zero carbon:
  1. The fabric performance must, at a minimum, comply with the defined standard known as the Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard (FEES) and
  2. Any CO2 emissions that remain after consideration of heating, cooling, fixed lighting and ventilation, must be less than or equal to the Carbon Compliance limit established for zero carbon homes, and
  3. Any remaining CO2 emissions, from regulated energy sources (after requirements 1 and 2 have been met), must be reduced to zero.
Requirement 3 may be met by either deliberately ‘over performing’ on requirements 1 and 2 so that there are no remaining emissions, or by investing in Allowable Solutions.

Saikat Majumdar

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