Environmental progress is not confined to recycling and reducing paper waste. Yes, these are small contributions that make a difference; however, sustainable building gives businesses of all sizes a chance to reduce costs and their environmental impact.
Sustainable building seeks to reduce harmful impacts throughout the construction process and beyond. It applies eco-friendly processes and operations to help the community, climate, and the economy. Improvements from sustainable building include energy-efficiency and waste management.
What Is Sustainable Building?
Sustainable, or green, building refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life cycle. This begins in the planning and design phase and is followed through in construction, operation, maintenance, and renovation.
Sustainable building requires the contractor, architects, engineers, and the client to work together at every stage throughout the building process.
Several features can make a building sustainable.
- Efficient use of energy, water, and other resources
- Use of renewable energy, such as solar power
- Pollution and waste reduction measures, and the enabling of re-use and recycling
- Improved indoor environmental air quality
- Use of materials that are non-toxic, ethical, and sustainable
- Consideration of the environment in design, construction, and operation
- Consideration of the quality of life of occupants
- A design that enables adaptation to a changing environment
Cost Advantages of Sustainable Building
Sustainable building improves our quality of life by preserving natural resources. Any building can be designed and built as a green building, whether it’s a home, an office, a school, a hospital, a manufacturing facility, or any other type of structure.
Climate conditions, building type, culture, and economic and social priorities all shape a contractor's approach to green building. It delivers measurable benefits for building owners, occupants, and the public from lower operating costs, improved indoor air quality and reduced energy consumption.
1. Decreased Operating and Maintenance Expense
Reducing the operating and maintenance costs of a building can improve its overall cost-efficiency. Sustainability measures, such as using solar energy, can lower operating costs in industrial and manufacturing facilities.
Reduced operational and maintenance cost means big savings that can then be invested elsewhere. For example, businesses can pay higher employee wages or increase product development, while homeowners have extra money to apply to their other household expenses or to spend on fun activities.
2. Utility Savings
Green buildings save water and energy, reduce carbon output, and bring overall cost savings on utility usage. Whether it’s a home or commercial building, there are ways to save on water and energy consumption. Ultra-low flow valves and water-saving restroom fixtures can be installed during construction or remodeling to reduce water use by 40 percent.
Commercial building owners and managers continue to invest in making their existing properties more sustainable and efficient. For homeowners the use of high-efficiency appliances and fixtures help them save on monthly water and electric bills. Dishwashers, washing machines, and toilets are now manufactured with sustainability and efficiency in mind.
Even water-conserving landscaping is used in green buildings. The use of native plants requires less water. Smart irrigation controllers and low-flow sprinkler irrigation systems can help owners with cost-savings.
3. Reduced Construction Costs
Most people assume that going green comes with a financial burden. However, there are clear and measurable cost benefits of green buildings for both developers and households.
With green building, fewer resources are required to complete the project. They also have a great return on investment because the value is significantly increased.
There’s no need for environmentally friendly construction to cost more when you apply cost-effective strategies from the beginning. Green building does not always include expensive structures. Simple solutions to save on construction costs can be to use recycled materials.
Rather than constructing a new building, owners can repurpose the framework of an old building which is often the most financially viable option. Historic buildings can be preserved to cut down on construction costs. There are plenty of tax benefits available to those who build green, plus the increased value for rental and resale.
The Trusted Green Builder
At RT Construction, we can renovate your existing building or construct a new facility that conserves water and energy. Whether it’s a home or a commercial building, we can help save you money and improve the environment.Our team of green building experts has the knowledge and tools to make your dream a reality. We know what materials to use and equipment to install to ensure your building provides a better atmosphere for its occupants.