Last year, Earth experienced extreme winter temperatures from the La Niña. Commercial building owners noticed an increase in utility costs and carbon footprint expansions. Individuals may improve their savings and sustainability this winter by enhancing the efficiency of company buildings.
By reducing energy-related emissions, businesses can abide by new green infrastructure regulations. They may also improve their consumer appeal, gaining a leg up on their competition. There are six ways sustainable builders can create energy-efficient commercial buildings.
Major Energy Loss Causes
Construction professionals can identify a building's major energy loss features and regions to target emissions effectively. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and lights consume the largest amounts of power in commercial structures. HVAC devices consume nearly 35% of a building's energy supply, limiting its efficiency.
Most generated global energy comes from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. These sources release greenhouse gases during the consumption phase, creating sustainability challenges. Another emission-enhancing cause of energy loss is incandescent lighting systems.
Lights consume about 17% of a commercial building's energy supply. Individuals can reduce excessive energy usage by updating old systems and insulating rooms.
1. Weatherize Doors and Windows
In the winter, heat escapes buildings through cracks and gaps. Individuals can weatherize a commercial building's doors and windows to prevent HVAC-related energy loss. Bordering a frame with weatherstripping can create a barrier between indoor and outdoor temperatures.
Individuals may apply the strips to doors and windows after cleaning and drying their surfaces. The material should fit snugly against the internal border, compressing when the door or window shuts. Weatherstripping will effectively reduce a building's utility costs by minimizing HVAC run times.
Builders can also install revolving doors in buildings to enhance energy efficiency. The feature allows individuals to enter while keeping a door closed at all times. Revolving doors are about eight times more energy efficient compared to conventional structures.
After weatherizing a building, individuals can add smart technology to reduce energy loss from appliances. Smart thermostats also improve HVAC efficiency and decrease utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
2. Install Smart Thermostats
Autonomous thermostats connect to conventional HVAC systems, maintaining energy-efficient indoor temperatures. They use the Internet of Things (IoT) to access Wi-Fi connections. Smart thermostats read local weather predictions in real-time, adjusting indoor conditions and relying on outdoor temperature differentiations.
Utilizing natural weather patterns to support indoor temperatures reduces an HVAC system's energy consumption. The autonomous thermostats also connect to motion sensors, adjusting temperatures based on a room's occupancy levels. They can turn a system off in a vacant building, helping individuals save money outside operational hours.
Smart thermostats also connect to a building owner's smartphone, helping them control indoor temperatures remotely. They can additionally program their devices through their smartphones, setting the thermostat on a consistent schedule. The IoT device's various energy reduction features help minimize the operational costs and emissions associated with a commercial building.
3. Increase Natural Lighting
Builders may also add natural-light-enhancing features to commercial structures, decreasing energy waste from incandescent bulbs. Adding skylights can improve a building's access to natural lighting. Installing south-facing windows also enhances indoor illumination without producing glare.
Individuals may further improve a building's energy efficiency by installing solar windows. The devices contain transparent solar cells, converting sunlight into emission-free energy while providing natural lighting. When buildings source a portion of power from off-grid sources, they may additionally decrease utility costs and emissions.
4. Building Up Rather Than Out
Construction professionals can also develop an energy-efficient commercial building using space optimization techniques. Building a structure up instead of out decreases electricity and material waste. When individuals generate taller, narrower buildings, they reduce the envelope space.
Lessening the envelope improves an HVAC system's efficiency, preventing interference from outdoor temperature differentiations. Workers in commercial buildings can also improve on-site energy and space efficiency by stacking materials for storage. When individuals stack up, they increase floor space and decrease energy waste from HVAC and lighting systems.
Companies may use boom lifts to support energy-efficient floor spaces. The technology helps workers reach materials stacked up to 120 feet on average. Building up effectively reduces energy loss and conserves natural spaces surrounding commercial structures.
5. Use Modular Construction Methods
Another technique for developing an energy-efficient commercial building is modular construction. The construction method uses off-site building tactics to improve a structure's insulation, envelope, and seal. Modular building techniques also use less energy because workers can develop multiple projects in one place.
They additionally reduce material waste, improving efficiency levels by reusing damaged or unused components. All building materials remain in the construction facility, reducing transportation emissions. Once professionals develop each module, they deliver the parts to the building site.
When the parts arrive, construction professionals put the entire project together, tightly binding each portion. Researchers found that modularly developed buildings are more energy efficient because they experience less loss of conditioned air.
6. Add Smart Lighting Systems
Smart lighting systems are similar to the thermostat technology mentioned above because both devices use IoT. The lights connect to motion detection sensors, shutting the system down in vacant rooms. Additionally, the smart technology connects to a building owner's smartphone or tablet, helping them control indoor lighting remotely.
A significant portion of energy waste comes from individuals unintentionally leaving systems running. When smart devices autonomously turn off the lights, it takes the pressure off a building's occupants. Builders can also connect the systems to light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, further reducing energy use.
LED bulbs achieve a 90% efficiency rate on average, making them 80% more efficient compared to conventional incandescent lights. They also last nearly 10 times longer than other bulbs on the market, reducing manufacturing energy waste.
Starting With a Sustainable Mindset
When construction professionals develop a building with non-sustainable materials, the structure takes on a portion of the material emissions, expanding its carbon footprint. Individuals must utilize low-impact building components and machines to create a truly energy-efficient commercial building. Recycled, non-VOC (volatile organic compounds), and low-emission materials can improve the efficiency of a structure.
Electric heavy machines may also reduce energy waste on a construction site, improving a building's sustainability. Engineers are developing cranes, excavators, and forklifts without tailpipe emissions, enhancing conservation efforts. After sourcing eco-friendly materials and construction implements, professionals can start creating energy-efficient buildings.