LATEST NEWS

Bones Are The New Player in Green Building Construction Game

Turns out, the real sinister culprit in the pursuit of sustainability—the actual production of concrete and steel.

By James L. Knobloch January 4, 2017

When it comes to “going green” with construction, there might be a new player in the game, and the method might surprise you. The proposed cure for environmentally damaging, traditional steel and concrete construction is bones.

Now, before we upset any vegans, the bone is artificial, created at the University of Cambridge with funding from the US Army Corps of Engineers. Turns out that while much of the world has been concerned with green buildings, there’s a more sinister culprit in the pursuit of sustainability: the actual production of concrete and steel. The means by which the concrete and steel used to build the vast majority of urban dwellings create a massive carbon footprint – even more than air travel, for example.

RelatedNew Deconstruction Methods Replace Noisy And Toxic Building Demolition

On the other hand, synthetic bone—created, like actual bone, from a mix of mineral and protein—requires very little energy to create and is also environmentally friendly. And if that isn’t sci-fi enough for you, chew on this: though not possible just yet, researchers hope to one day imbue artificially constructed bone with the ability to self-heal, just like the real thing, and potentially ushering in a new era of architecture, building and construction.

Rethinking the planet’s climate and carbon emission woes has experts looking at the problem from a different angle. Instead of focusing energy towards “greening” traditional construction methods, direct that energy to finding better construction means altogether. One of the people leading this charge is Dr. Michelle Oyen, a bioengineer with Cambridge’s Department of Engineering.

“What we’re trying to do is to rethink the way that we make things,” said Oyen. “Engineers tend to throw energy at problems, whereas nature throws information at problems — they fundamentally do things differently.”

RelatedConstruction For American Dream Megamall In New Jersey Is Back On Track

The resulting artificial bone is strong, durable, rigid and hard from the mineral, tough and fracture-resistant from the protein. And yes, a potential game changer for environmentally friendly cities of the future. For those of you that understand science-speak, the material is created by templating’ hydroxyapatite, a mineral form of calcium apatite, directly onto a substrate of natural collagen.

So, eco-friendly bone buildings for everyone, right?

Not so fast, says Oyen.

“…the construction industry is a very conservative one,” she says. “All of our existing building standards have been designed with concrete and steel in mind. Constructing buildings out of entirely new materials would mean completely rethinking the whole industry.”

Still, Oyen seems optimistic:

“But if you want to do something really transformative to bring down carbon emissions, then I think that’s what we have to do. If we’re going to make a real change, a major rethink is what has to happen.”

James L. Knobloch

ABOUT THE AUTHOR James L. Knobloch

ABOUT THE AUTHOR James L. Knobloch

A creative professional with a sharp tongue and a big smile, taking on city living one slightly-veiled sarcastic comment at a time. Born and raised just outside of New Orleans, James is a living testament to his own mantra, “Southern hospitality is a privilege, not a right,” giving his work a unique, dry humor meets charm perspective.

  • AGORAFY
    Avocado toasts are the reason why millennials can’t afford a home, says one Australian real estate developer. #AvocadoToast #Millennials https://goo.gl/TBCPnv
  • AGORAFY
    Five years on since Superstorm Sandy, Queens’ coastal peninsula is in the midst of a development boom. #Development #Rockaways https://goo.gl/BRKRrD
  • AGORAFY
    It turns out, renters can’t get enough of good ol’ no-doorman-no-frills apartments. Too bad developers aren’t building any. #Doorman #LuxuryRentals https://goo.gl/pdnbo6
Developers Jump Aboard The Trend To Revamp Transit Hubs And Remake Cities
Never has the often used marketing term, “close to transportation” been more important when attracting home buyers. These days it’s not just homes that are…
Millennials Are Fueling The Current Sizzling Real Estate Market
Ever wondered why the hosts of home improvement shows seem to be getting progressively younger, along with the fresh-faced couples getting their new properties made…
The Best Cities For Recent Grads To Rent – Without Blowing Their Entire Paycheck
What’s next post graduation? For most, the logical answer is to find a job. After the excitement of finishing your studies and the big celebration,…
Luxury Knows No Limit In Malaysia As A Deluge Of New Developments Hit The Market
The amount of newly constructed high-end real estate in Malaysia is almost as abundant as the lush vegetation which covers the tropical landscape. Despite vacant…
Don’t Call It A Commune – Upscale Co-Living Is Attracting Major Development
What may have once been referred to as a commune is today termed a co-living space. The big news that it’s not hippies with hemp…
It’s Official—New York Is Now The Most Expensive City In The World To Build
As if you didn’t already know, it’s expensive to build in New York City. Not just expensive but now officially the most expensive place in…
An Ultimate Destination For The Most Comprehensive Real Estate Data, Agorafy Prepares To Launch Nationwide
In the coming days, Agorafy will be entering a new chapter. It is the beginning of a new growth cycle in real estate technology with…
A New Beach Front Condo Building Slated For the Rockaways Amid A Slew Of New Development
Proving that New Yorkers are the masters of reinvention, particularly when it comes to real estate, a new millennial-friendly condo tower is due to rise…

TOP 10