The environmental movement doesn’t have to be confined to recycling empty cans and reducing paper waste at the office. While these small steps contribute to making a big difference, sustainable building is allowing businesses of all sizes to reduce their costs and their environmental impact from the ground up – literally.
Also known as green building, sustainable building is the application of eco-friendly, resource-efficient construction processes designed to reduce the overall environmental impact of a structure throughout its lifetime. Construction and many of its operations can have can extensive direct and indirect impacts on the environment, the community, the economy, and even society.
Sustainable building seeks to reduce these impacts throughout the construction process and far beyond, and has several advantages such as:
Energy efficiency Sustainable buildings have unique construction and design features that enable them to be ridiculously efficient, especially in terms of conserving energy and water. In addition to having solar energy systems, sustainable buildings are typically designed to maximize natural lighting. Similarly, task lighting might be used instead of overhead lighting. Furthermore, sustainable buildings reduce water waste through the use of water-efficient plumbing fixtures and rainwater collection systems.
Health efficiency People who live or work in sustainable buildings enjoy better indoor air quality in addition to a number of other health and wellness benefits. Because sustainable building materials are free of cancer-causing substances and harmful toxins, the local community and the surrounding environment also benefit from green construction.
Cost efficiency Did you know that operating and maintenance costs can account for nearly 80% of the lifetime costs of a building? Reducing these costs by incorporating a solar energy system and other sustainability measures can drastically improve the overall cost efficiency of a building, especially for businesses that fall within the industrial and manufacturing sectors. Reduced operational and maintenance costs means big savings that can then be invested elsewhere, such as in higher employee wages or product development.
Material efficiency Waste not, want not is an old concept that can be applied to modern sustainable building processes. Without compromising quality or structural integrity, sustainable building processes utilize eco-friendly building materials, many of which are recycled or reused. For example, biocomposites such as flax, are commonly used sustainable building materials that are tough, durable, and renewable. The goal is to generate as little waste as possible throughout the building process, from sourcing material to the final stages of construction.
Economic efficiency And if all that efficiency wasn’t good enough, get this – according to the U.S Green Building Council (USGBC), the sustainable building industry is slated to directly contribute more than 1.1 million jobs in 2018, with no signs of slowing down in the future.
Sure, sustainable building might cost more upfront than traditional construction, but sometimes it’s worth spending a little cash in order to save a whole lot more of it the end – or in another words, sustainable building is a smart investment that will saves much more than it initially costs.
Even if your current space isn’t a sustainable building, GreenSpark’s commercial solar solutions can help your business reduce its operational costs and carbon footprint while increasing your cost savings. Learn more about exactly how much your business has the potential to save by dropping us a line and chatting with one of our solar team members.