The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by an increased focus on environmental sustainability and workplace safety, and the growing importance of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics. In the last three years alone, there have been over 425,000 patents filed and granted in the construction industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environmental sustainability in construction: low carbon heat insulating concrete. Buy the report here.

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However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

80+ innovations will shape the construction industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the construction industry using innovation intensity models built on over 232,000 patents, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, self-healing concrete, atmospheric water harvesting, and recycled concrete fillers are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Vacuum insulated glazing (VIG), eco-friendly HVACs and recycled waste-based cements are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is wall surface temperature controls, which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the construction industry

Low carbon heat insulating concrete is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Low-carbon heat insulating concrete is designed to be a thermally efficient building material with reduced environmental impact. It achieves this by using materials with lower environmental footprints while maintaining effective insulation properties. This concrete type contributes to lowering the carbon footprint of buildings, aligning with sustainability goals. As the construction industry aims for environmental responsibility, low-carbon concrete addresses the significant greenhouse gas emissions associated with traditional cement production. Techniques involve incorporating supplementary materials such as fly ash or slag to minimize cement usage. Effective thermal insulation is achieved by incorporating lightweight aggregates or introducing air bubbles through air entrainment techniques. Despite reduced cement content, durability and performance are maintained through careful material selection and mix design. Continuous research explores innovations in mix designs, advanced materials, and production processes to further improve sustainability and performance. In the pursuit of net-zero carbon emissions, low-carbon heat insulating concrete emerges as a crucial component in constructing more sustainable, resilient, and energy-efficient buildings.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 390+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of low carbon heat insulating concrete.

Key players in low carbon heat insulating concrete – a disruptive innovation in the construction industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.  

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’. 

Patent volumes related to low carbon heat insulation concrete

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Halliburton 236 Unlock Company Profile
Gebr Knauf 215 Unlock Company Profile
Holcim 99 Unlock Company Profile
POSCO 77 Unlock Company Profile
Taiheiyo Cement 74 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 66 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Osaka Cement 65 Unlock Company Profile
Sika 59 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 52 Unlock Company Profile
Nichiha 52 Unlock Company Profile
Schlumberger 52 Unlock Company Profile
Omya International 46 Unlock Company Profile
HeidelbergCement 43 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Mitsui Construction 40 Unlock Company Profile
James Hardie Industries 38 Unlock Company Profile
China State Construction Engineering 38 Unlock Company Profile
Jungheung Construction 33 Unlock Company Profile
State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council 32 Unlock Company Profile
Geopolymer Solutions 31 Unlock Company Profile
Denka 28 Unlock Company Profile
Albemarle 25 Unlock Company Profile
CelluComp 24 Unlock Company Profile
Yara International 22 Unlock Company Profile
Seven Group 21 Unlock Company Profile
Etex 21 Unlock Company Profile
Weyerhaeuser 21 Unlock Company Profile
ShreddedTire 20 Unlock Company Profile
Far Eastone Telecommunications 20 Unlock Company Profile
Paper Excellence 20 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung C&T 19 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsui E&S 19 Unlock Company Profile
Kemira 18 Unlock Company Profile
Ash Improvement Technology 18 Unlock Company Profile
Berkshire Hathaway 17 Unlock Company Profile
Ruredil. 17 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Electric Power 16 Unlock Company Profile
China Communications Construction Group 16 Unlock Company Profile
Hanil Cement 16 Unlock Company Profile
Active Minerals International 16 Unlock Company Profile
Parjointco 15 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President Enterprises 15 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 15 Unlock Company Profile
Dow 14 Unlock Company Profile
JFE 14 Unlock Company Profile
Adaptavate 13 Unlock Company Profile
Vicat 13 Unlock Company Profile
Tokuyama 13 Unlock Company Profile
The Chugoku Electric Power 13 Unlock Company Profile
Criaterra Innovations 13 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 13 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Halliburton filed the most patents that relate to low carbon heat insulation concrete, with Gebr Knauf and Holcim following closely behind.

Halliburton is a leading oilfield service company making strategic investments in low-carbon heat insulating concrete to mitigate its carbon footprint and environmental impact. Specializing in serving the upstream oil and gas industry, Halliburton covers the entire reservoir lifecycle, from hydrocarbon identification to geological data management, drilling, formation evaluation, well construction, completion, and production optimization. The company provides comprehensive solutions, including cementing, stimulation, intervention, artificial lift, well-bore placement, and completion services to upstream oil and gas companies. With production facilities in the US, Malaysia, Singapore, and the UK, Halliburton has a global presence in North America, Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, US, Halliburton is committed to environmentally responsible practices and sustainability in the energy sector.

In terms of application diversity, CelluComp leads the pack, while Mitsui E&S Holdings and ShreddedTire stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, CelluComp held the top position, followed by Yara International and Paper Excellence.

CelluComp, situated in Fife near Edinburgh, Scotland, is a pioneering company dedicated to the advancement and market implementation of sustainable materials. At the core of these operations is the development and commercialization of Curran, a groundbreaking material derived from the extraction of nanocellulose fibers sourced from waste streams, notably sugar beet pulp, a by-product of the sugar industry. CelluComp’s team of scientists and business professionals ensures that Curran exhibits exceptional mechanical and rheological properties, making it highly versatile for various applications. These include but are not limited to fiber-based barrier packaging, paints, coatings, inks, personal care products, home care items, paper, food applications, concrete, drilling fluids, composites, and numerous other potential uses. CelluComp is dedicated to the innovation and application of sustainable materials, contributing to a more environmentally conscious future.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) in Construction.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.