How can we make our Buildings Green?

Global warming has been a major problem for years, and it’s only escalating. There are plenty of reasons for this increase; industrial emission of Greenhouse Gases is a major one. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, industries contribute to 20%+ of total emissions. They are also massive energy consumers, which is why companies are setting sustainable goals. For instance, companies have been switching to Green Buildings (certified by the Green Building Council), a term that’s been coined in the early 2000’s. So, what are green buildings? We’ll explain in detail! 

What are Green Buildings? 

Green buildings are buildings that are designed, constructed or operate in way that reduces the negative impact on the environment while creating a positive impact on the same. This is done by using energy and water efficiently, including renewable sources, constructing with alternative building materials to save on natural resources while minimizing on-site grading, and recycling construction waste. They are less harmful to the environment than standard buildings.  

  1. These eco homes and offices maximize on natural light. 
  1. They use low volatile organic compound materials like paint, furniture, and flooring. 
  1. Highly efficient HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) systems. 

However, not all green buildings need to be the same, this can vary from countries to regions basis various climatic conditions, environmental, social and political policies.  

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot more that goes into making a sustainable building design and implementing it. We’ll take you through Green Building Elements and what it takes to make such superstructures. 

Elements of a Green Building 

The term “Green Building” has quickly been associated with greater employee productivity, lower overhead costs, and stronger people retention. It’s no wonder that brands such as IBM, Toyota, Bank of America, and many more are in transition or have already made the switch to Green Buildings. But what really goes into making one? Let’s find out! 

  1. Expertise
    An experienced set of experts will assess the existing situation correctly and ascertain the way forward based on the clients goals. They will examine the site, interior plans, and budget to help build the perfect property.
    a. It is imperative to have the right team members with enough ‘green’ experience on board.
    B. This includes architects, engineers, contractors, and consultants aware of this sphere.
    C. They will make sure the right quantity of materials is procured within the budget.
     
  1. Location
    If you want a building to be truly green, you must choose a sustainable site. All modes of public transport must be easily accessible from the site, among other things.
    a. Where you can build vacant lots, redevelopment sites, and brownfields.
    B. Where you can’t build parks, farmland, heritage sites, or near wetlands.
    C. This ensures the construction doesn’t contribute to environmental degradation.
     
  1. Calculations
    Calculations must be perfect in order to carry out a successful green building construction within budget. Missing out on even one component can change the entire dynamic of the situation.
    a. Mathematics is the cornerstone of every successful green building project.
    B. One must assess the cost to benefit ratio and make decisions accordingly.
    C. For instance, installing a solar panel for lighting has a high initial cost but savings are huge.
     
  1. Site Planning
    The correct site planning strategy can help you benefit manifold with respect to building orientation. For instance, if the building is made in a way that maximizes sunlight intake, savings on lighting bills will be significant in the future.
    a. Site planning must be done well if you want the building to get LED Certified. 
    b. This helps minimize the amount of on-site infrastructure like parking lots and earthwork.
    C. The result: lower construction costs and infrastructure footprint. 
     
  1. Landscaping
    Landscaping is a cost-effective green tool that can be incorporated in many ways – from walls to the roof.
    a. This is a superb way to reduce costs and beautify the property.
    B. Trees can be planted in front of walls exposed to maximum sunlight.
    C. A green roof also helps absorb sunlight and reduces AC expenditure.
     
  1. Windows for Green Design
    Windows are a fantastic way to allow natural light into the property. This ensures maximum light during the day and heat during winters.
    a. The more the windows, greater the sunlight, and lower the light usage.
    B. Buildings can be designed in a way that sunlight isn’t blocked by staircases or restrooms.
    C. Windows with low emission glazing can be installed to minimize internal heat from sunlight.
     
  1. Technology to the Rescue
    Technological advancements in green building is rapid. This ensures optimization of light and ventilation, among other things.
    a. Green building technology is something that helps conserve energy and increase savings.
    B. Highly effective HVAC systems that don’t use ozone depleting substances can be installed.
    C. LED Lights can be installed for better lighting and reduced energy bills.
     
  1. Water Management
    Water is a natural resource that’s getting depleted at alarming rates. The demand and supply gap has caused a surge in water prices as well.
    a. Firms need to focus on water conservation due to its rising scarcity and cost.
    B. Retrofitting equipment, installing waterless urinals, and irrigation systems are an option.
    C. Install WaterGator to remove air from water flow and reduce water bills for more savings.
     
  1. Non-toxic Materials
    Many employees face health issues such as the common cough, cold, and allergies due to substances used in building materials. This means they have to take days off from work, thereby hampering business. The quick solution:
    a. Alternative materials create a healthier and safer work environment for employees.
    B. Strawboard made from wheat and zero-VOC paints are examples of such materials.
    C. This should lower allergy symptoms and drop the number of cough and cold cases.
     
  1. Construction
    How one builds is as important, if not more, than what one builds. If clean air, maximum natural lighting, and minimal environmental damage is the goal, here’s what to do:
    a. Being greens starts from the construction process. Coordination must be seamless.
    B. Recycle construction waste to avoid pollution and reduce costs drastically.
    C. Coordinate wet and dry activities to avoid contaminating dry materials and mold growth. 

There are plenty of Green Building benefits. Constructing one is a daunting task that takes a long time, lots of planning, and the right team. It might not always be possible to build a new structure. You can, however, renovate your existing building and make it greener. How, you ask? 3 ways. 

How to make your existing building Green 

Most buildings that need to be revamped and refreshed are older structures built a couple of decades ago. This means that traditional lighting methods, older plumbing, and primitive HVAC systems were used. Upgrade your property with the below methods and see a drastic change: 

  1. LED Lights for up to 75% energy savings
    LED Lights have become a norm since the late 2000’s due to their low energy consumption and eco-friendliness. They’re now more affordable than ever, and have widely been adopted across corporates, residences, and industries. How and why?
    a. Replace all existing light fixtures with LED Lights.
    B. They have a 50,000 hour + lifespan, consume less energy, and are eco-friendly.
    C. Suitable for indoor and outdoor lighting, so can be installed throughout the property.
     
  1. Watergater for up to 35% reduction in water bills
    The Watergater is an ingenious device that helps reduce water bills by assisting in correct water meter readings. It needs to be fitted on the pipe just before the water meter, and is beneficial to industries with high water bills.
    a. This is a one-time investment that can be installed by a licensed plumber.
    B. Once fixed, it removes all air within the water flow and slashes water bills.
    C. It comes with a 10 year warranty, so problems, if any, will be dealt with by the company.
     
  1. HVAC for better quality Air
    HVAC means heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. This is one system that provides the quality and temperature of air you desire within the premises. 
    a. HVAC systems use fresh air from outdoors to provide heating and cooling inside buildings.
    B. Temperature control and removal of smoke, moisture, and odor are handled by the system.
    C. They last for years if maintained well, thereby reducing your replacement expenses. 

Now you know what it takes to build or renovate a green building, but who can you trust to provide excellent service? Here’s how you should go about things. 

Benefits of Green Buildings 

Green buildings offer a plethora of benefits to people, as well as the environment. Not only does it act like a magnet for buyers but also helps in reducing environmental degradation. Let’s take you through all the benefits in detail: 

  1. Increased Savings
    One of the major benefits of going green is a surge in savings. For instance, installing LED Lights is a fairly simple task; the investment, despite being more than that of traditional lights, will slash energy bills by at least 50%, thereby increasing recurring savings. This enables businesses to spend the money where required.
     
  1. Tax Rebate
    Using environmentally friendly technology helps in reducing the load on nature while slashing costs for businesses, albeit a major investment. Most Governments recognize this, and provide a tax rebate of up to 30%, which is astronomical! Just think about the great things companies could do with such large sums of money.
     
  1. Helps Build the Economy
    Sustainable ways of building are a relatively new concept, but is increasing in popularity! It’s created plenty of jobs that weren’t heard of a decade ago. Upgrading to green buildings and strategies will help sustain and expand the industry, thereby providing a solid foundation for newer verticals in the economy.
     
  1. Attract Clients and Employees
    The new generation or millennials are inspired by forward thinking companies. The best way to appeal to them is by adopting an eco-friendly way of work as it’s a matter of pride to work for, or with a company that’s socially and environmentally responsible. This is equally lucrative while pitching for business as prospective clients will be proudly associated with such companies.
     
  1. Brand Recognition
    Establishing your company as an eco-friendly one will do a world of good to your brand! People will associate a sustainable way of working with it, and this will be extremely beneficial in keeping it on top of clients’ minds.  

Since you now know the various benefits of going green with buildings, we’re sure you’re interested in knowing about some companies that have already done so. Any guesses? Take a look! 

Companies that have adopted to Green Buildings 

Companies have been moving to Green Buildings since the early 2000’s. They want to stress on the needs of being eco-friendly and lead from the front. Here are some of the most well-known brands to have done so: 

  1. Walmart
    It was in 2005 that Walmart opened its first Green store. Energy efficient methods of operation and more recycled materials in construction were two main elements. Over the next few years, they’ve started using solar and wind energy as well, thereby moving closer to the destination of becoming a truly green brand.
     
  1. Hewlett-Packard
    The IT giant, Hewlett-Packard, is one that’s constantly innovating. We’ll they’ve hopped onto Green buildings as one too! They use a photovoltaic solar power system to generate electricity and reuse wastewater for landscaping purposes as well. In addition, materials used to make the building were primarily recycled and preferred parking is provided to low emission vehicles.
     
  1. Starbucks
    One of the most popular coffeehouses globally, Starbucks started going green as early as 2000. The company has opened innumerable stores using green construction and design. This includes cabinets made of recycled materials, low-flow water fixtures, efficient lighting, and non-toxic paint. 

They’ve done it. So can you. How? Check the paragraph below! 

Way Forward 

If you’re in the horticulture industry and want to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ – and even when it doesn’t – grow lights are an ideal option to ramp up your work. While everything mentioned above gives you a fair idea about grow lights and their benefits, we’ll be happy to get in touch with you to solve any queries. If you’ve already made the decision of going ahead with this service, we provide you with a FREE audit and proposal! Get in touch with us on info@enersavings.com or call us on (+1) 800 874 3470 

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