Modern civil engineering has sustainability as one of its main goals due to the ever-growing environmental crisis. Unfortunately, UN reports that despite the gradual improvement of sustainable development, the progress is not fast enough. Sustainable civil engineering innovations are key to success in saving the planet and halting its gradual environmental collapse. Some of the projects initiated today show great promise, though each faces some serious challenges.
3 Sustainability Innovations in Civil Engineering That Make a Difference
1. Green Rooftops
Improving the quality of air in urban areas is one of the main goals of sustainable civil engineering in 2018. Green roof projects are abundant and versatile as every country puts its own spin onto this solution. Singapore is the world leader in this niche due to its advanced Green Building Masterplan, which has recently been upgraded, as reports Channel NewsAsia.
Green roofs do not only provide cleaner air and enhance biodiversity in cities. They can provide some measure of stress relief and serve as great ‘sponges’ for rainwater reducing runoff.
Multiple benefits provided by green roofs come with some very serious challenges. High cost of both setup and maintenance of these systems is a major issue. So is climate which further complicates maintenance.
2. Plastic Roads
The idea of plastic roads originated from India and now it’s one of the most promising sustainability initiatives due to the staggering level of plastic pollution. However this project has an additional bonus, it’s not only ‘green’ but also helps improve the durability of roads. PSR Solutions rightfully states that sustainability is one of the main trends in civil engineering. But today sustainability and resilience go hand in hand. In the light of recent natural disasters and their increasing frequency, the matter of building resilient infrastructure has become most pressing. Waste plastic roads are one of the civil engineering innovations that combine these two characteristics.
The projects of waste plastic roads that are currently under development in the UK and USA focus on producing tiny balls made from waste plastic and mixing them with traditional road components. This should produce more durable and permeable roads.
Unfortunately, this development is currently stumped because engineers are trying to find a way to negate the hazards of plastic deterioration and resulting toxicity.
3. Floating Homes
Eco-friendly floating homes are one of the less popular sustainable innovations in civil engineering. But this project has tremendous potential in locations that meet specific geographical criteria, namely have the space to build floating homes. This particular solution should help manage overpopulation of the cities. Modern floating technology also has the power to affect floodwaters thus reducing the damages caused by natural disasters.
Floating homes are most popular in Asia, where they existed for millennia as a traditional form of village dwelling. The floating homes of today utilize waste plastic, Styrofoam, and concrete in their structures. They are deemed ‘unsinkable’ and can withstand a lot of damage from the elements.
The main challenge of adopting this innovation is its destructive effect on water ecosystems. With the oceans already suffering from pollution to the point of environmental crisis, in some areas, a major blow brought by mass-construction of floating homes can have disastrous consequences.