As per available statistical data, the building sector globally is an energy consuming area. Pollution from construction is also significantly higher than compared transport or industries. Buildings provide an easy access and is a cost-effective solution to reach energy targets. A green building is one that minimizes energy use during the process of construction and demolition (when done).
In prefabrication, factory production entails that modular green buildings are better protected against droughts, which in traditional construction can account for 15-25% of winter heat loss. Also, factories have improved quality control systems which in turn leads to better insulation placement and energy efficiency. Proper insulation helps reduce energy bills by up to half compared to uninsulated buildings. Because production in a plant is ongoing, rather than based on individual on-site projects, there is more scope for research and development. This improves the environmental standards of the buildings, thereby making them less prone to natural disasters.
Buildings that are constructed on site can hardly achieve same benefits as modular buildings. There are case studies in UK which shows that savings of up to 15% has been achieved in building costs and a 40% reduction in transportation cost, as compared to on-site construction. Manufacturing in controlled environment also leads to less time lost due to changing weather conditions. Factoring also have better waste recycling systems.
The process of construction on site often leads to delays due to bad weather. Accuracy is also comparatively limited, due to little or no access to modern machinery, technology and automation systems. This prevents buildings to be built to the highest environmental standards.
Some modern construction technology include numerical controlled machinery, robotic assembly, building information models, rapid prototyping, assembly lines, test systems, fixing systems, lean construction and enterprise resource planning systems.
For instance, numerical controlled machinery offers precise machine cutting, the accuracy of which cannot be matched by manual labor. This, coupled with other modern technologies ensure that prefabricated buildings are energy efficient as opposed to brick and mortar construction.
Builders and construction companies are still more inclined to traditional construction. The lack of enforcement of stringent environmental standards is another reason for relatively less adoption rate of prefabrication technology. However, there is little doubt that factory based construction is the more energy efficient way of getting buildings made. Prefabrication, even though a budding concept in many parts of the world, has had its credibility of producing green buildings already established and documented.