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. 

Going Green with Commercial Construction

The environment is always a consideration in any type of construction project but if you want your commercial construction project to be labelled “green” then there are guidelines that you have to follow to qualify.  Green construction really isn’t that different from a regular project, you are still going to need to have skilled tradesmen onsite and both require detailed planning.  The difference between the two is that green construction tries to keep the effect on the local environment to a minimum.  Going green with commercial construction does mean adhering to different rules, let’s look at what sets green construction apart.

Energy Efficient Systems

During the construction process you will be required to install the most energy efficient systems possible.  That includes things like your HVAC system along with lighting and plumbing as well. Most of the commercial HVAC units that are on the market today use far less energy than they did a decade ago.  The building will also need to be properly sealed to keep your HVAC system efficient.

Reducing Waste During Construction

Construction uses a lot of materials and generates a great deal of waste at the same time.  If you want to maintain your green certification then the construction project will have to use fewer materials and create less waste.  The waste that is generated should be sent for recycling rather than ending up in a landfill.  You should also use recycled materials whenever possible throughout the project.  The idea is to reduce our carbon footprint throughout the project.

Water Conservation

Conserving water is always a big part of green construction, both during the building process and after the building is complete.  The plumbing needs to be installed with that in mind.  That includes low flow shower heads, toilets that use less water along with taps that operate on sensors so they are never left on.  There is also the option of turning wastewater into some type of fertilizer removing the need for wastewater management.

Incorporating Solar

The roof is a prime piece of the project that can help make it greener.  Solar panels can be installed to help meet the energy needs of the building post construction.  That helps reduce the need for non-renewable energy source.  For the building owners it can also reduce the energy costs of running the building afterwards.  Excess energy can be sold off to the local power company making the project pay for itself.

There are plenty of builders that don’t embrace the new green construction guidelines but they are the way of the future.  We need to do all that we can to ensure there is an environment left for our children and grandchildren.