Over the last decade or so, green building has taken the design and construction industry by storm. While it is now all the rage to build a home with solar panels and other sustainable elements, going green in the commercial sector has a number of benefits as well.
In the past, the higher upfront costs of green building were a deterrent for some businesses, but many of these solutions have become much more affordable. Now green building practices have become preferable for long-term cost savings as well as promoting a healthy environment.
If your company is thinking about “going green” with its next commercial building project, you are making an excellent choice. While you might pay a few percentage points more in building material costs, you can reduce your energy costs by as much as 30% with energy-efficient strategies. Here are seven things to consider in your building design when you go green.
1. Location, location, location.
As a business or government entity, you may or may not be able to choose your building site. If you can choose the site, pick one that already has easy access to roads, parking, and even public transportation.
Other essential considerations are the orientation of the building on the site. To optimize the use of natural elements, you should orient the building so that you make the most of your available daylight but also consider heat and cooling costs. For example, a west-facing building in a warm climate will keep a building cooler.
2. Sustainable Materials.
If a green commercial building is your goal, you should also aim to use eco-friendly or environmentally conscious products. Whenever possible, each part of your building, such as walls, roofs, insulation, flooring, and countertops, should be environmentally-friendly. Ask your design-build partner about options to use renewable materials in your project.
3. Proper Insulation.
If you want to save on energy costs, pay close attention to insulation. Using metal as a construction material is an excellent start as these buildings will keep out the elements. But, heating and cooling costs can also account for up to half of your monthly power bill if you don’t have the right level of insulation. Your design-build contractor can help explain your options.
4. Energy Efficient Equipment.
When you choose equipment and appliances for your commercial building, make sure that they are ENERGY STAR rated. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides an ENERGY STAR rating to products, such as HVAC systems, appliances, and other machinery. Buildings that are not ENERGY STAR-rated can use as much as nine times more energy than those considered the most efficient.
Controlling the amount and type of light that your building uses is another way to save energy costs and create a green commercial project. Choose ENERGY STAR windows and also consider using skylights to bring in even more natural light. When you do add artificial light to the interior, choose LED or CFL lighting that will last longer and be more energy-efficient.
6. Optimize Water Efficiency.
Most commercial structures need access to water. Depending on your needs, you can create a system that is environmentally-friendly and sustainable. For example, you can use a gray water plumbing system and re-use gray water for your landscaping needs. Your building can also landscape in a way that reduces the need for excess irrigation.
Other choices include installing a tankless water heater. You can also have a rainwater harvesting system installed to collect the rainwater from your roof to be reused for landscaping, toilets, or industrial purposes. Speaking of toilets, installing low-flow toilets and faucets in your building can also cut down on water costs.
7. Install Solar Panels.
Solar power is a renewable and clean source of energy. Your next commercial project can harness the power of the sun for its energy needs with some strategically-placed solar panels. These can be installed on your building’s roof or off to the side. Be sure to look for any local, state, or national incentives that can help with these costs.
K-Con Building Systems Can Help Your Company Go Green
Green construction is not only good for your company’s pocketbook but also its reputation. An energy-efficient building is also more comfortable to work in while using less overall energy. If you are ready to explore going green for your next commercial project, K-Con can help.
Our experienced design-build team will work with your company from concept through completion. We have successfully delivered more than 650 contracts to both government and commercial clients throughout the U.S. Contact us now to discuss your project, and we’ll tell you about our quick turnaround for preliminary pricing and drawings.