Building with green materials

If you plan on starting construction soon on a new commercial building, you may be looking around for some ideas for ways to make the building more environmentally friendly. There are quite a few things you can install during the construction of the building that can even save money and reduce waste. While you may not achieve net zero status with these tips, you can still get plenty of benefits. Let’s look at 4 tips to make your new commercial building green and clean. 

 

1. Install low-e windows. 

 

Low energy windows, known as low-e windows, are one of the hottest green innovations on the market. The windows have a special coating that helps to regulate the amount of heat from sunlight that comes in and stays out. The windows depending on the type, will only do one of two things, allow in heat from sunlight while keeping out cold air, or keeping cold air inside while preventing heat from entering. While that might sound disadvantageous for either type, you should install them strategically throughout the building to maximize the amount of natural heating you can get during daylight hours. 

 

2. Low flow toilets should be in every restroom. 

 

Low flow toilets allow you to prevent water waste in your building while lowering the costs associated with water usage. Low flow toilets use just enough water to efficiently flush the bowl. Likewise, you should also install electronic faucets that detect when the water isn’t being used anymore as to reduce water waste even more. Also make sure to consider installing blow drying systems instead of paper towel dispensers for clients to dry their hands with.   

 

3. Lighting concerns. 

 

Lighting will be a very important part of any commercial building, no matter what the intended usage is. You should consider two things when deciding how the building will be lit. Try to install natural lighting sources, such as skylights, whenever possible. Skylights can cut down on the amount of power being used during the day dramatically. Auxiliary lighting and night time lighting should carry Energy-star certification, to ensure that they use the least amount of power as possible. Try installing LED bulbs whenever and wherever possible, as these use very little energy and put out low amounts of heat. 

 

4. Try to use recycled and reclaimed materials whenever possible. 

 

Often, green solutions focus on energy and water usage and reduction. However, another area that you can incorporate green methods into is recycled, reclaimed, and salvaged materials. For recycled materials, things like insulation, interior decorations, and even landscaping materials make use of old clothes, rubber, paper, and wood. Reclaimed materials like wood boards and sheet metals can be used to make flooring and interior walls with. Salvaged materials, which are typically surplus unused goods, can even be used to reduce costs. You can find things like roofing supplies, lumber, paint, concrete, and metal at far cheaper prices than normal. All of these items help reduce waste in the ecosystem while also contributing less to natural resource degradation. 

Energy Efficient Buildings

The rising costs of energy along with the demand for greener technologies has been felt across all industries even commercial construction.  Everyone from the Department of Energy, construction manufacturing and the construction industry itself are looking for ways to build more energy efficient buildings.  Energy efficient buildings save money and that makes corporate shareholders happy when they get to keep more of their profits.  It also allows us to compete globally while at the same time reducing the amount of pollution spewed into our atmosphere.

Residential home builders have been working with recycled building materials and building homes that are Energy Star Efficient for decades now.  Builders know what the market wants and that has allowed manufacturers to come up with some innovative products to allow for greener and better built homes.  It has taken a bit longer for the commercial construction industry to catch up, but that is slowly changing and more commercial properties are being built with solar panels and other renewable energy sources.

Green Construction on the Rise

The number of energy efficient commercial properties such as office buildings and even manufacturing plants has seen tremendous growth.  According to the EPA green commercial construction has increased by 27% over last year.  These buildings have all earned the Energy Star label with many of them using up to 40% less energy than a comparable building with regular construction.

That may not seem like such a big deal but you have to take into account that commercial buildings make up half of our energy consumption in the entire country.  Reducing that amount of energy or converting it to renewable energy sources is a big step forward in the fight against climate change.

Manufacturing Sector

Business and commercial interests are motivated by the bottom line more than doing good for the environment and that is what has prompted this shift more than anything.  In the manufacturing sector there are more than 35 factories that have earned the Energy Star and that has allowed them to save money.  If you combine all of the commercial buildings and factories that have an Energy Star rating and combined their savings it would add up to $1.5 billion dollars each and every year in savings. The better news is that it reduced CO2 emissions by 25 billion pounds.  It is a win-win for the shareholders and the public as well.

Green construction will be the future of the construction industry.  With the amount of savings from energy efficient buildings alone being so high it will fuel innovation for years to come.