Sustainable Design

Green building, also known as sustainable design, seeks to balance the effects and impacts that construction sites have on the three P’s; people, planet, and pocketbook, with an integrated approach to design solutions.

The main goals and objectives to green building is to reduce waste of critical natural resources such as water, energy and raw materials, as well as building environments that are both safe and productive.

The concept of green building also encourages the renovation of existing buildings and sites rather than building brand new. This is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly measure.

Make your New Construction Site or Existing Building/Home Greener with These Tips

Consider Using Recycled Materials: There is a recycled version of just about any building material that you can think of. Utilizing recycled building materials include both postindustrial and postconsumer materials. Some of the many recycled materials that you’ll find include: cement, steel, wood and more.

Green Insulation: Ensuring that the building or home that you’re insulating is properly insulated will save countless dollars by cutting the energy costs to heat your home or building by about 15-to-20 percent, according to the government’s Energy Star web site. You’ll also want to take into consideration the type of insulation that you use to shield out the elements.

Traditional fiberglass insulation is unsafe to breathe in and touch during installation, so why would we want to fill our homes and buildings with this stuff? The hottest new green insulation alternative trending right now is shredded newspaper and recycled denim. This new alternative also seems to rate better when compared to fiberglass insulation during performance tests.

Green Flooring Options: Increasingly popular green alternatives to hardwood floors right now include bamboo and cork flooring. This is due to their fast-growing nature. Traditional woods used in hardwood flooring such as maple, oak and pine take on average up to 120 years to reach full maturity, whereas bamboo typically grows in only 4-6 years and cork grows in about 9. The installation process for these types of wood produces less air-pollutants and does not require any toxic adhesives.

A Tankless Water Heater: A tankless water heater will save loads of energy thanks to the fact that it only produces heat if the hot water tap is turned on. There is no wasting of energy in the standby mode that traditional hot water heaters have. Tankless water heaters come in various prices and sizes. You can easily supply hot water for an entire house or building, or simply get a smaller hot water heater for just one appliance. The choice is yours.

Green Consumer Watchdogs

Green consumer watchdogs around the world meticulously seek to encourage greener building and less waste. Consumer watchdogs aim to ensure that the construction industry contributes to sustainability by meeting government targets and standards.

Because the construction industry is also a major resource generator, it is important to find balance with sustainability by designing greener, building greener and managing waste more effectively. While the construction industry is a major resource generator, it is also a major producer of waste, which is why it is crucial for action to be taken by these watchdogs.

With all of that said, there is progress being made and there are initiatives to improve waste problems by recovering energy. Recycling waste to energy is a cost-effective viable alternative and solution to the reduction of carbon emissions.

GreenBuild, the United States Green Building Council, recently held their annual conference in Philadelphia and the focus of this year’s conference was on health. It seems that health is a green building mandate that has received little attention and recognition. Health focus in particular was of indoor air quality and on leveraging healthy building materials.

So when moving forward your next construction project, please consider all of this information and go green as best as you can by doing whatever you can to improve indoor air quality, make use of recycled materials and reduce carbon emmissions.