Sustainability has become a keen focal point for forward-thinking businesses. Green environmental practices are becoming increasingly important to consumers and businesses. We seem to have reached a tipping point where environmental innovation means competitiveness. There are plenty of simple and far-reaching ways to go green, but the buildings we use are an apt starting point.
Use the following top tips to inspire your next green building or renovation:
It starts with procurement
Liaise with your building contractor and architect and procure sustainably sourced materials wherever possible. These materials are more frequently used and your builder and architect should be able to advise on the sustainability of the supply chain.
Utilise natural light
Make the most of natural light to avoid energy-intensive lighting. A range of design options are available but, these days, the use of performance windows and energy-efficient options mean your heating usage doesn’t have to go up to make your lighting usage come down.
Insulate and ventilate
Optimal insulation is central to a sustainable building. Adequate insulation removes the need for intensive heating. Maximise the effect of this by focusing on the building’s thermal mass capacity, allowing it to naturally retain heat wherever possible. Similarly, factor ventilation into your architectural plans to minimise the impact of unnecessary HVAC usage.
Clever sustainable plumbing solutions exist which allow you to recycle your water. One option is dual plumbing, which allows your wastewater to be treated for different applications within your building. Alternatively, greywater harvesting is another way to reduce the need for fresh, potable water. This gives wastewater new life for flushing toilets and in landscape applications.
Explore solar and renewable options
As solar technology grows in popularity, the initial investment in solar infrastructure is becoming less cost-intensive. Energy suppliers are also able to offer renewable options to support your green ambitions. Passive solar buildings are another way to use solar to power things like heating, cooling, and lights within your commercial building space.
Go green – everywhere
Living walls and roofs no longer hold the novelty they once did in the construction world. In fact, beyond adding a much-needed green element to urban spaces, they have tangible advantages too. They have the potential to have insulating properties, reducing the need for cooling and heating. They can also serve as catchment for rainwater.
Plan for the future
It’s hard to predict what will happen in the future, but there are certain measures you can implement today which are best practice for preparation for tomorrow.
You can’t innovate unless you understand behaviour. Once your building or renovation is done, make sure you monitor your energy and water consumption and develop an energy strategy around procurement and management going forward.
Keep equipment updated
The latest HVAC and other mechanical items tend to have technologies which boost efficiencies.
Keep equipment maintained
Well-maintained, properly-running equipment usually runs more efficiently.
Invest in staff training
Ensure your staff receive training on environmental awareness within the workplace. Through this, they will be informed on the impact of their behaviour on the building and so the environment – a critical step in generating awareness and mindfulness.
Map changes in the law
Regulations around sustainability in the workplace are going to change. Make sure your business is aware of statutory changes and take steps to ensure you are ahead of the curve and meet compliance requirements.
Work with energy experts
This will help you to stay updated on the latest technologies, regulations, trends, and innovations.
The benefits of green design:
- Your building will act as a buffer for increasing energy bills and contribute to general savings.
- Energy efficiency tends to increase the longevity of equipment.
- It is a fundamental marketing point for modern businesses and endows businesses with a competitive edge.
- With environmental policies forming a prerequisite for some contracts these days, this could see your business seal the deal.
- Green buildings will be the buildings of the future – and this means they will be incentivised. This means tax breaks, grants, and similar benefits.
- Sustainable environmental factors and their advantages (such as improved air quality and mood enhancement benefits of natural lighting) boosts staff morale and encourages green transformation on an individual level.