Many construction industry professionals are anticipating 2024 climate change and how it will affect the sector. Energy efficiency challenges have persisted throughout the last year. Naturally, those events raise questions about what the future will entail.

Summer 2024’s Climate Change Progression

Almost every country and industry faced numerous challenges during the summer of last year, dubbed the hottest season on record. Although some believed it couldn’t get worse, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a one-in-three chance that 2024 will be even warmer.

Last year, climate change brought forth extreme heat waves, drought and wildfires in multiple states. Parts of Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico tied their all-time high temperatures, and Phoenix maintained a nighttime temperature above 90 F for consecutive days. Extreme weather events last year amounted to over $1 billion in losses and 464 deaths.

Considering those events, you can expect the 2024 climate change impact to bring more severe weather conditions and hotter temperatures. The effects occurred last summer due to El Nino, a regular climate event that warms the oceans and triggers dry conditions on land. However, with the unpredictability of the weather, it may be on a tighter timeline this year.

Key Energy Efficiency Challenges to Overcome

While 2024 climate change looms, construction contractors and specialists must stay vigilant of how those conditions will affect power usage. Extreme heat can raise obstacles in building new structures. Energy efficiency is also necessary to fight the emissions crisis and stop global warming.

Increased Energy Consumption

The construction sector is known for its high energy consumption due to components and processes. It is responsible for 36% of global usage and is expected to increase to 50%. Building professionals must juggle their goals while managing their power consumption amid calls to improve efficiency.

The International Energy Agency reminds governments to double energy efficiency progress to meet the Net Zero Roadmap. China, France, Indonesia, Japan and the United Kingdom are the leading countries that have consistently boosted their energy intensity by 4% or more over the last five years.

Energy Security

Energy demands grow higher as the temperatures rise. Many residents and commercial businesses rely heavily on their cooling units, placing pressure on power stations. Construction projects cannot be put on hold, so all building components and processes are subject to the availability of power sources throughout the season.

Last year,  the U.S. power grid provided 15 million megawatt-hours of electricity throughout 48 states. Despite the higher risks of blackouts, outages and shortages were not evident. However, grid operators and electricity users are encouraged to keep their guard. Energy security was primarily maintained thanks to weather analysis and preparation.

Demands for Insulation

More construction clients are likely to seek insulation solutions as temperatures rise. Preventing the loss of hot or cool air is imperative to ensure maximum thermal comfort in buildings. It can also raise the energy efficiency levels of a structure since insulation can also keep outdoor air and temperatures out.

Most state and local building codes already have minimum insulation requirements, such as tackling air leakage through vents and air ducts. Construction companies’ primary energy efficiency challenges are developing more modern insulation solutions and installing them in new projects.

Structural Integrity

Extreme summer temperatures can affect structures. The heat can make buildings deteriorate over time. You must also be wary of utilizing materials that cannot handle high heat. Construction professionals must look toward energy efficiency to maintain structural integrity.

In conjunction, construction professionals should also seek protection for electrical systems when designing structures. Exposing wires or circuit breakers to the summer heat can cause surges and potential fire. Avoid testing its resistance. Instead, focus on reinforcing the system for proofing.

Tackling Energy Efficiency in the Construction Sector

Energy efficiency challenges increased in the past ever since the climate change conversation came more to light. Luckily, construction professionals can incorporate proven solutions into their projects.

Energy-Efficient Construction Equipment

Technology has provided the construction sector with plenty of handy tools, such as automated controls and efficient engines in equipment. Utilizing this machinery throughout your projects can minimize energy consumption while delivering the same quality and results. Zero emissions can also make your construction company more marketable to clients.

Green Practices On-Site

Energy efficiency is more than just the building tools available. Each professional should uphold green policies while operating on a construction site. For example, turn off equipment that’s not in use. Shutting down lights in areas where work is completed or postponed is also crucial to conserving energy.

Renewable Energy

Utilizing renewable sources like solar or wind in your construction project can empower professionals to minimize emissions and improve energy efficiency. Plus, they are an abundant source that gives your crew power security. Using these sources also encourages construction clients to integrate them into their project design.

Passive House Design

Passive house design is a key construction design focusing on maximum thermal efficiency for minimal heating and cooling. Consider factors such as the airtightness of the home through different insulation solutions. There’s also the matter of sizing and positioning, ensuring the house faces away from more heat-prone spots.

Energy-Saving Windows

Energy-saving windows are recommended for their durable and high-quality materials. Plus, installing and sealing them correctly can elevate the home’s sustainability. Check R-values to measure a window’s resistance to heat flow in the long run. You can also assess the U-value to gauge its energy efficiency.

Repurposed Materials

Recycling materials can help regulate the amount of waste the construction industry produces. For example, steel dust from past building and demolition projects can be recycled into bricks or concrete. This process can minimize energy consumption and reduce emissions in the long run.

Modern Lighting Systems

Visibility is essential when working on a construction site. You can make this greener by adopting more modern lighting options. For example, LED lighting lasts 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. It also operates well on minimal energy. You can suggest clients use this tech to save energy, too.

Boosting Energy Efficiency Through Projects

Climate change in 2024 is expected to ramp up during the summertime. Construction professionals can join the fight by identifying energy efficiency challenges and promoting sustainable solutions to regulate consumption and reduce emissions.