Here’s How to Improve the Sustainability of a Building
Did you know that 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions come from buildings? If there’s one place to focus sustainability efforts, its buildings.
Buildings make up where we live, work, and play.
To help the environment, property owners must take seriously how they build and maintain their buildings.
So here are seven ways you can make your buildings more sustainable:
- Build with sustainable building materials
You can start by using sustainable building materials.
For example, you could adopt low-impact materials like cellulose insulation, which is made from repurposed newspapers.
Or you could install cool roofs. These are made from light-colored and reflective materials in order to restrict heat absorption. They deflect sunlight to keep a building cooler and prevent overheating.
- Install renewable energy systems
Installing renewable energy systems is another way to reduce your building’s carbon footprint.
Renewable energy systems include solar panels, wind turbines, or even geothermal systems.
A geothermal heat pump, for example, accesses heat hundreds of feet below the earth’s surface, which can be used to warm a building while producing little to no greenhouse emissions.
- Use LED light bulbs
One easy way to make a building more sustainable is to use LED light bulbs. LEDs use up to 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
So even though they’ll cost you a little more in price, LED bulbs are well worth the investment. In fact, they pay for themselves over time by lowering your electricity bill.
- Reduce water consumption
There are many ways to reduce your building’s water consumption.
For example, you could build a rainwater harvesting system. Most collect rainwater in barrels and then direct the water through an irrigation device or filtration system so you can use the water for watering, washing, bathing, or even drinking.
Other ways to reduce water consumption include installing low-flow plumbing fixtures and touch-free faucets, which keep you from wasting water in the sink.
You can also inspect and repair cooling towers to make sure they run efficiently and don’t waste water either.
- Install smart appliances
Why not update your buildings with smart appliances? Smart appliances include smart thermostats, doorbells, alarm systems, and security cameras (among other things).
All of these can be automated and controlled remotely, which is what makes them “smart.” By automating a building’s utilities and other appliances, you can increase energy efficiency. For example, you never have to worry about leaving the light or heat on.
And if you ever need to make a change while you’re not onsite, you can fully control smart appliances from a phone or tablet on the go.
- Perform preventative maintenance
Next, you can perform preventative maintenance on building materials and equipment to make them last longer—a key aspect of sustainability. Extending the lifetime of a building helps to reduce its overall carbon footprint.
To keep up with regular maintenance, create a maintenance schedule and stick to it. You can use a software to do this and have it send you automated reminders and alerts when something needs done. That way, you never lose track of needed maintenance or repairs.
- Clean with green cleaning materials
Finally, use green cleaning materials when maintaining your building. This provides for a cleaner and safer environment for everyone.
Look for the EPA’s Safer Choice label to get the best cleaning materials for the job.
Wrapping it up
Whether you own a residential home or a large commercial building, it’s up to you to do your part in creating a more sustainable future. Go over the tips above and find one you can implement today. You, others, and the environment will be glad you did.