Sustainable buildings function with a minimal detrimental effect on the environment.
Did you know buildings consume a third of the world’s energy supply and are responsible for 20% of the global pollution? They are big numbers and the reality is they could double by 2050.
You only need to look at the news to understand that our planet is facing significant challenges. From rising Co2 emissions, melting glaciers, unseasonable weather and threat to wildlife. As business owners, we should look at practical changes that can help us to reduce our personal impact on global warming.
Sustainable buildings – the solutions
Sustainable buildings are the future, but the UK ranks almost bottom in this sector, according to data published in 2016. Across the globe, sustainability is becoming a focus in the construction of offices, hotels and retail outlets, with 46% of all respondents expecting to build commercial buildings with high environmental standards in the next few years.
The sustainable construction movement AKA ‘Green Building’ is to create structures and processes that are environmentally friendly and efficient in every part of the construction life-cycle of a building from design, development, operation, maintenance, renovation and eventually deconstruction.
The materials used in sustainable projects are:
- Natural, renewable sources created sustainably.
- They are acquired locally to reduce the energy costs of transportation.
- Recyclable with minimal waste opportunities.
Examples of green building materials:
- Timber from sustainable forests.
- Non-toxic, reusable, renewable, recyclable products such as flax, concrete and clay.
- Recycled stone
- Recycled metal
It is essential that water can be recycled throughout a sustainable building. Installing a rainwater harvesting system will re-use water for everyday tasks such as toilet flushing. Using water-efficient appliances in kitchens and bathrooms, such as spray taps or low-flush toilets will reduce the amount of water required for the day to day running of a building.
If you already own or lease a building, what can you GO GREEN with what you’ve got?
Encourage energy awareness.
Create awareness around your energy saving goals, and let occupants know how they can both help reach them and benefit from them.
Look to reduce heating and cooling needs. Focus on insulation to make it as airtight as possible and consider heat control film is to block ultraviolet rays and reduce summer heat and in turn the requirement for air conditioning. Consider investing in heat recovery ventilators. This is a system that uses outside air to heat the inside of your building.
Upgrading to LED lighting can help you reduce your energy use by 75%. LEDs have a lifespan of 50,000 hours – that’s 50x more than a traditional light bulb – meaning a typical LED, when active for 12 hours per day, has a lifespan of over 11 years.
Building occupiers should be encouraged to consider practising green processes such as recycling and reusing materials to remain sustainable after construction. Consider providing on-site WEEE recycling cages, food waste and paper/plastic recycling points.
Through our network of clients and suppliers, we can advise and consult on all issues of waste management and recycling, saving you money and improving your green credentials.
Contact us to find out more
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