Climate change is getting worse, resources are becoming more scarce, and markets are often in flux. All of these changes mean that people need to be more careful about what they consume. And consciousness of consuming applies everything- from every-day items to construction. There are a host of green building strategies. Buildings can be built to be more friendly to wildlife, and use renewable energy, for example. There are also cutting-edge options becoming available, like photovoltaic cells in windows, or energy efficient appliances.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
As is often the case, old adages are surprisingly apt. If you remember this from grade school, then you might remember the most important of the three: reduce. Reducing what you consume prevents it from ever going into the product supply chain in the first place. This means the resources used in fabrication, transportation, and preparation are never consumed. In this way, reducing consumption has the most positive benefits. Not using something in the first place never requires raw materials to be sapped from the environment.
Recycling and reusing items is a great way to help the environment and save money. But they pale in comparison to the benefits of reducing the use of goods and services in the first place.
Reducing your intake of materials is not only good for the world as a whole, but also your wallet. When you consume less, you spend less. The same applies to consumer goods as well as construction.
Building with less
There are two main strategies when it comes to building more efficiently: the first is using less building resources, the second is making buildings that use less energy.
Energy efficiency and cost savings
Energy efficiency isn’t just good for being more “green,” it’s wise economics. A building is a large, expensive, and long-lasting investment. Buildings that are energy efficient provide better returns on that investment.
Any investment is risky, and a resource-wise building is a clever way of ensuring that your building lasts into the future and continues to provide good returns. Globally, construction and buildings are responsible for 60% of electricity consumption, 12% of water use, and 40% of waste, and 40% of materials usage. On top of the resource use, buildings take up over half the land area in cities. When buildings are built to use less energy, there are less costs that the city and its residents have to bear. Every 1$ spent on energy-smart construction saves 2$ spent on future energy supply spending.
Climate Change and energy efficiency
West Coast fires growing out of control, Midwestern derechos, and hurricanes hitting further and further inland are all symptoms of more extreme climate change.
Energy-efficient buildings are more equipped for a future of severe climate change for two separate reasons.
1) Buildings that don’t consume excessive resources require less of the natural environment. A well-insulated building consumes less natural gas for heating, thus resulting in less carbon emissions and resource drain.
2) Buildings that don’t require as many resources are more prepared for uncertain scenarios. Severe storms, floods, and more might decrease the resources available to urban areas periodically. Urban areas might have to get used to not having a consistent supply of electricity or natural gas thanks to extreme weather. If a building can generate it’s own electricity with solar panels, then running out of electricity won’t be as serious of an emergency.
Energy-efficient buildings are more equipped for climate change, and they are also one of the cheapest ways to curb its effects.
Each year, over 6 million deaths are caused by air pollution. Outdoor air pollution from factories, coal-powered plants, and smog cause about 3 million deaths. Another 3.5 million deaths are thanks to indoor pollution, namely burning fired indoors. In developing countries air pollution is one of the main long-term threats to the health of the population. A recent UN report stated that air pollution hurts the poorest the most. Poor countries typically have lacking to no waste-removal systems in place. Garbage often sits around or is burned, worsening air quality. Adding to that, developing countries often have a lot of construction, which raises more dust particles into the air.
Energy efficient building will provide a twofold benefit to developing nations. A building that uses less resources won’t need as much energy from coal plants. Thus waste is reduced in energy production. Indoor pollution is seriously mollified by smart resource use as well. A building that has proper heating and ventilation doesn’t require indoor fires. Not having indoor fires is huge in improving the health of the people living and working inside. Simply put, using buildings with better energy efficiency will result in healthier people and less deaths, particularly in the developing world.
It’s the wave of the future
Popular buildings might be cheap, and low-cost for the time being. But buildings that focus on resource efficiency are going to be what survive in the future. Most developed and developing nations have started at least some building trends using energy efficiency. It’s not uncommon to find solar water heaters and solar panels on rooftops. Better insulation methods, recycled materials in building, and high quality building is the future of construction. These methods lead to healthier people, more resilient buildings, and buildings that need less resources to function.
Make your building ready for the future
If you have a a construction project in mind, head to Reliable Commercial. We are construction contractors is a highly-professional company with a team of over 200 and 35 years of experience. No project is too big for us, and with our experience, no project is too complex. We stay informed, so that we are up to date on the latest trends in building and construction. Feel free to send us a message today to ask about any construction project you may have. In the mean time, if you’d like to figure out what you can start doing today, check out this list of no-cost and low-cost energy-saving measures- no commercial contractors needed.