Solar panels and water heaters, grass-covered roofs, water-saving appliances and more are becoming commonplace in modern construction. Ecofriendly building strategies are a benefit not only to the environment, but also to the people that pay for them. Owners of the buildings save money in the long-term, as they don’t have to pay as much for electricity and heat. Their buildings generate the power they need on their own. Simply put, green building is resource-efficient and easy on the wallet over time.
But what are some things people can do to make their construction more wildlife-friendly? Another question you might have reading this could be: “Why does it matter?”
Why It’s Important
We no longer live in a mostly-unexplored world. It’s amazing to think about how the world was different thousands of years ago. Nowadays, the world by and large is being changed by people. Whether it’s human-exacerbated climate change or ever-present microplastics, human fingerprints are everywhere you look. Almost everywhere in the world, wildlife is dealing with human encroachment. We are running out of wild, primal nature. The effects can be seen everywhere. Insect and fish populations have plummeted thanks to human action. Biodiversity is also on the decline. In fact, there is a name for the human-caused mass extinction event that is happening right now: the Anthropocene Extinction. Yes, like the mass extinction event that killed off the dinosaurs, there is one happening presently, and it’s because of us.
If we want the natural world to go on and survive, we are going to have to learn to live peacefully with it. Building ecofriendly is a great way to use less resources and thus have less impact on the world. We can also make our construction more friendly to wildlife itself. Fortunately, there are some great ways to make it so your building is less harmful to animals.
What Can We Do?
One of the main causes of death for birds in the US is flying into windows. The propensity of glass in urban construction only makes it worse. It’s been estimated that between 365 million and one billion birds die from flying into glass every year in the United States alone. Although high-rises kill the most birds per building, homes and other 1-3 story buildings account for 44% of bird deaths.
A great way to prevent this at your home or business is to install external insect screens. These minimize reflection from the glass. Many collisions are caused when birds see a reflection in the glass that looks like an escape route. For example, a bird might fly into a window that reflects a yard thinking that the window is actually a path to that yard. External screens not only make windows less reflective, they also provide some cushioning during impact. This makes it less likely the bird will injure itself badly or die when there is a collision.
Making your glass bird-safe is one of the easiest and most effective things that you can do to make your building safer for wildlife. Birds exist throughout the entirety of the US, so there is nowhere that won’t benefit from it.
Other ways to make your glass bird safe include the following:
- Etched Glass – minimizes reflection and makes glass more visible.
- UV Glass – invisible to the human eye, but very visible to birds.
- Facades – covers a large glass section of a building.
- Narrow windows – thinly-spaced, narrow windows allow in plenty of light while being visible to birds.
If there’s one way you can make your building better for wildlife, bird safe glass is it.
General Solutions for Wildlife-Friendly Building
Avoid Light Pollution
Light pollution is a big problem. It may seem like a minor inconvenience to most people, but it is dangerous to many animals.
In the Southeastern US, newly-hatched turtles often don’t make it out to sea thanks to light pollution. The hatchlings use moonlight reflected on surf to make it to the ocean. Bright buildings confuse them, and they wind up going the wrong way.
Migrating birds are also drawn to light. So less light pollution means less impact on birds as well.
Don’t forget you’ll have a much better view of the night sky.
Install Native Flora
Grass isn’t a plant…it’s an industry. It sucks up water, requires constant maintenance, and the chemicals it’s often treated with are dangerous. Not only does native vegetation require less upkeep, it’s beneficial to the local fauna. Local animals are adapted to the local plants thanks to millions of years of evolution.
Avoid Building on Wetlands, Rivers, and Streams
Wetlands are hubs of ecological activity. They tend to have high biodiversity and are also places where migrating animals rest. Additionally, they are often homes to specially adapted animals, like beavers, that can’t live in other environments.
It’s not just the animals who benefit when you don’t build on wetlands though. These areas are also flood plains. Wetlands, rivers, and streams often flood seasonally. Thanks to unusual weather catalyzed by climate change, seasonal flooding is harder to predict than ever.
Smaller buildings have less resource requirements. They take less space from the natural world. Not only are they cheaper, but their impact on the natural world is less, in almost every way.
Renovate or Remodel Instead of Building New
Simply put, less resources are used in remodeling/renovation than a totally new construction. It’s a way of preserving existing space — you won’t need a new plot if you already have a building.
Your Ecofriendly Builders
At Reliable Commercial, we strive to be the best we can. As construction contractors, we are efficient, cost-effective, and top-quality. Our over 35 years of commercial contracting experience has made us the best at what we do. We can help you build a green building, remodel yours to be eco-friendly, and much more. If you have any questions about how we can make your building less harmful to wildlife, send us a message today.