Technology continues to advance, offering new means and methods for constructing smart, energy-efficient buildings. One of the best ways to gain a greater understanding of how technology can help homes and commercial facilities operate is looking at other examples that are already completed or in progress.

Three recent examples of smart, energy-efficient construction point to how technology can help in residential and commercial construction.

Wanliu House Project
Scientific planning is one of the first steps in constructing green homes. This is the case for the Wanliu House located in China. It went through more than 30 rounds of planning processes in order to achieve a balance between living comfort and land saving.

The Wanliu House uses recycled water to irrigate green areas, which saves 50% of water consumption compared to traditional gardens. It also uses solar photovoltaic power supply for lighting the underground garage, which will save 20-30% of the use of the home’s intelligent pre-set systems.

The home achieved LEED Platinum certification, which covers seven categories including site selection, water use efficiency, energy efficiency and atmospheric environmental protection, materials and resource use efficiency, indoor environmental quality, innovation and design processes, and regional advantages.

This is in line with the move toward increased green building in China. By 2020, the proportion of energy-efficient buildings in residential developments in China will exceed 60%, according to the 13th Five-Year Plan of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

Energy Facility
Electric generation facilities are often at the heart of sustainability initiatives—and one new example is using clean natural gas to power a region.

One example comes from Bechtel, which recently completed the Carroll County Energy Facility. The 700-megawatt natural gas-fueled combine-cycle power facility will supply electricity to up to 700,000 homes in the region.

This particular region of Ohio has seen the retirement of more than 700-megwatts of conventional coal-fired generating capacity, and has made way for natural gas to provide a cleaner form of energy.

Bechtel provided the project management, engineering, procurement, construction, and startup services, which used advanced emissions-control technology. This helps to make the structure an efficient plant.

Solar Cell in Office Buildings
Will the industry one day build self-sufficient buildings? Skanska is beginning to embrace new solar cell technology that will cover office buildings in the future.

Skanska will apply printed, flexible, perovskite photovoltaics, which is a crystalline material that has the potential to replace silicon. This technique allows customization of the shape, color, and size of the module, depending on particular needs, and installs them anywhere on a building. This means energy can be harnessed from anywhere on a building—not just the roof.

Skanska has conducted advanced research on the technology, with initial implementation tests planned for 2018 in Poland.

With this technology in place, energy-independent office projects are becoming more of a reality, as solar cells are integrated into building facades.

These are just a few examples of how new technology is helping build more energy-efficient projects in homes, buildings, and energy plants.

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