As leaders of municipalities across the country prepare for climate change, more developers and building managers are using green building techniques to reduce their negative impact on the environment. But green building methods aren’t limited to new construction. People are using green building techniques to restore old homes, revamp office buildings, and do much more.
5 Green Building Techniques
This guide offers tips for implementing green building techniques to help improve your sustainability efforts. If you’re wondering what green building techniques are, they refer to any building practice aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions, improving water and energy efficiency, using eco-friendly building materials, improving indoor air quality, or combining any of these efforts. Put them to use in your buildings.
1. Consider Your Environmental Impact
The first step in sustainable building is to consider your impact on the environment. Poorly constructed buildings often waste energy, they’re costly to heat and cool, and they contribute to climate change. Buildings account for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, but you can reduce your footprint by making simple changes.
Planning with your building’s carbon footprint in mind can inform everything from your initial design to the final furnishings and fixtures you use. The green building industry encourages using materials made from post-consumer recycled materials. Think about using local providers to reduce the environmental impact of shipping and lower your contribution to the negative effects of climate change.
2. Utilize Green Building Technologies
Technology is improving modern buildings in multiple ways. You can make your home or office building smarter with tools that let you control lighting, appliances, and even security features from your smartphone without being on-site. Technology is also helpful when you want to take a greener approach to building.
Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems have come a long way. These systems can run on renewable energy, like solar and wind power, making them more efficient and less costly to operate.
When you install a newer HVAC system, you may be able to link it to air-quality monitors and smoke detectors, making your building safer for occupants and visitors. These systems allow you to detect potential problems with the system earlier so you can fix them in time.
If you’ve ever walked through a green building, you may have noticed windows that maximize the amount of natural lighting. Green building practices are aimed at energy efficiency, and natural light is more efficient.
But there will be times when you have to use artificial lighting. In this case, you can improve your energy efficiency with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). These bulbs last longer and use less energy than traditional bulbs.
If you’re using LED lights, you can also install a dimming system that allows people to use only the light they need, cutting costs and lowering energy usage.
Heating and cooling are big contributors to climate change, and green building methods aim to reduce this impact. You can install smart thermostats that are connected to the Internet through Wi-Fi. You can control these smart thermometers with your phone, adjusting the temperature as needed.
Instead of leaving the heat on a higher temperature or the air conditioning on a lower temperature all day, you can set them to adjust themselves throughout the day for optimal heating and cooling. Program the thermostat to heat certain areas of the building that are used most often, conserving energy in places that aren’t. Some smart thermostats will learn your energy usage habits and adjust accordingly.
3. Make Sure Your Buildings Are Energy-Efficient
If you’re following green building practices, you may have an idea of your building’s current energy efficiency. But if you’re renovating an old building, you should do an energy audit to see how you can improve.
You can weatherize doors and windows to reduce your energy costs. Use natural lighting as much as possible to cut down on your electricity usage. Improve your insulation and upgrade the HVAC system if you’re in an older building.
Green technology is not limited to new builds. If you’re renovating a building, switching out the HVAC system with a newer model and adding smart thermometers can improve your energy efficiency.
4. Use Recycled and Renewable Materials When Possible
Choosing materials and finishes is one of the funnest parts of construction and renovations. You can create a building that speaks to your style and needs. But take it a step further and consider how your materials may impact the environment. Choose recycled and renewable materials when you can.
Popular renewable materials include bamboo, cork, adobe bricks, and stone, among others. If you’re interested in a more classic look, try recycled materials like reclaimed wood, barnwood, and recycled plastics and glass.
If you want carpeting, use durable wool. Wool emits fewer volatile organic compounds than synthetic rugs do. Also, ditch the wall-to-wall carpet for smaller carpet tiles. That way, if one part is damaged or worn out, you don’t have to replace the whole thing.
5. Prioritize Natural Ventilation and Solar Energy
Solar energy is one of the most popular green techniques because this resource is renewable and abundant, and it doesn’t cause pollution. If your building allows for solar panels, make maximum use of solar energy.
Additionally, make sure that your building is well-ventilated. Wind is the most common source of natural ventilation. Take advantage by installing windows that can open to air out the building. However, in some office buildings, open windows aren’t practical. In this case, think of installing ceiling fans and other types of natural ventilation. And use an indoor air-quality monitoring system to keep an eye on airborne contaminants.
Go Green Today
Now you know the answer as to why you should use green building techniques. Using green building techniques reduces your building’s environmental impact. It may also make your building healthier by helping improve its indoor air quality. Take the next step by installing an indoor air-quality monitoring solution in your building.
Attune’s IAQ monitoring solution is easy to install and helps monitor air quality in real time. This system can help you identify potential energy leaks or problems with your HVAC system early. When your building isn’t ventilated properly, indoor pollution tends to rise. You can monitor these pollution levels before they impact people in your building.