The Environmental Impact of High-Rise Residential Buildings

The global impact of buildings means that a top priority is to create more sustainable high-rise residential buildings. Advanced analysis and design methodologies allow the construction of increasingly more efficient high-rise buildings. 

The move towards energy-efficient and sustainable high-rise buildings is gaining momentum every day. Although they can accommodate more people, high-rise residential buildings are proportionally more resource-hungry than lower-rise buildings. In high-rise buildings, the structure is a large portion of the overall cost, and hence, the building materials and construction process can significantly influence its overall efficiency and sustainability. 

The structural materials used in high-rise buildings are typically one or a combination of concrete, structural steel, and composite systems. The functional demands of high-rise structures require the use of durable materials such as High-Performance Concrete and Self-Compacting Concrete. High Volume Fly Ash Concrete represents an emerging technology for highly durable and resource-efficient concrete structures. While the trend in the development of higher strength steel and concrete is not stopping, the use of new materials with superior performance, such as engineered timber, is gaining significant momentum.

Concrete waterproofing admixtures eliminate the need for conventional external waterproofing membranes and saves time during construction. These admixtures transform concrete into a water-resistant barrier by becoming an integral part of the concrete matrix. This is important for high-rise buildings as faster construction means less cost involved.

From an engineering perspective, as high-rise buildings get taller, their design becomes increasingly influenced by factors that are much less significant for shorter buildings. The structural systems of high-rise buildings must carry vertical gravity loads, as well as lateral loads, such as those due to wind and earthquakes. 

The lateral stiffness is a major consideration in the design of a high-rise building. The precise limit of deflection and flexibility must be calculated. Serviceability of the building, especially, requires that these deflections do not affect elevator rails, doors, glass partitions, nor prevent dynamic motions to cause disturbance to the occupants and sensitive equipment. The cumulative deviations due to creep and shrinkage can also cause distress in the high-rise structure, especially in the upper regions of the building. This is one of the major differences between high-rise buildings with respect to low-rise buildings.

The foundations of high-rise buildings must support very heavy vertical loads. During construction, it is usual to shore the freshly placed floor upon several previously cast floors. The construction loads on the supporting floors due to the weight of wet concrete and its formwork will greatly exceed loads of normal operational conditions. These loads must be calculated considering the sequence and rate of construction. 

Mivan technology is a state-of-the-art aluminum wall formwork that is an excellent replacement to the conventional construction technology with significant advantages of quality, speed, and requirement of skilled resources. The structure is designed with load-bearing walls and slabs. Then the whole assembly is shuttered and poured monolithically giving it a very distinct advantage in terms of structural stability. The benefits of Mivan technology include faster construction and completion due to lightweight aluminum form, uniform quality of construction, and close to zero wastage.

Another growing trend is the offsite fabrication of high-rise buildings. As labor costs escalate relative to material costs, solutions involving prefabricated or manufactured structural components and building modules are gaining popularity. There is increasing interest in the construction of high-rise buildings from fully modular systems.

Last updated on October 23, 2021

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