Ecological innovation has contributed to sustainable development, especially in the developing world, but remains a challenge due to the prices of eco-friendly products, says Frans Pienaar, Chairman of Inyatsi Construction, a construction company involved in building infrastructure in Southern African countries.
“Materials and specifications for civil engineering and construction projects change with the times and the industry is forced to adjust to using new materials and processes. The impact of ecological innovation on building methods requires us to use more efficient and ecologically sensitive equipment and materials. It has become the norm and if you do not use it, you become obsolete.”
Pienaar, explains that the extraordinary benefits of highly energy-efficient building products are negated in practice, due to suppliers and manufacturers making undue profits out of new innovations in the environmental field.
“The cost of solar heating systems, for example, does not reflect the cost of the materials or the technology involved. As long as there are so few innovators and manufacturers in this industry, it will take unnecessarily long to realise the benefits of using new technology. Simple technologies and materials are sold at exorbitant prices because contractors are required to implement them,” he says.
Pienaar, suggests that governments can assist the industry by regulating the prices of new technology aimed at sustainable development to prevent abuse by manufacturers. “The commercial application of knowledge to develop products and processes that contribute to sustainable development, must not price itself out of the market.”