For business owners and construction professionals alike, sustainability is becoming non-negotiable in many industries. Both residential and commercial consumers are looking for more sustainable building practices. Green establishments additionally generate more business because of current eco-consumerism values.
Modular building is not a new technique, but modular construction techniques and design approaches are being used in more creative ways to create sustainable outcomes for commercial properties. From conception to construction, here’s how modular approaches are redefining office buildings.
The Link Between Modular Construction and Green Building
Green construction develops new structures with limited environmental impact. It conserves natural resources and protects biodiversity. One method of eco-friendly building is modular construction.
Professionals develop sections of a structure within a facility when practicing modular construction. Compared to traditional “stick-built” construction, off-site construction reduces material waste, limits air pollution, and improves the efficiency of a building. Workers can additionally complete a job in nearly half the time compared to on-site construction.
When a homeowner decides to renovate their house, modular construction workers can remove a structure section more easily than with traditional building techniques. In the building facility, they may disassemble the module and collect excess materials for reuse. The construction style significantly reduces waste and the exploitation of raw materials.
Modular construction also improves localized air quality. Inside the factory, devices can collect and filter emissions, limiting atmospheric pollution. When office owners construct their buildings modularly, they shrink the carbon footprint of, and reduce the pollution associated with, their business.
1. Sealing the Building Envelope
Office buildings use a significant quantity of energy and release 826 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Most of the electricity demands derive from heating, cooling, and lighting the building. After all, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems generate 441 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually in the U.S.
Modular construction — with a green building mindset — specifically targets high-emission functions, improving an office’s energy efficiency. This is because in construction, modularly produced offices can achieve an airtight seal with the greater quality control that occurs in a factory construction setting. Reducing hot or cool air loss decreases the energy needed by an HVAC system.
2. Reducing Transportation Emissions
Developing buildings off-site additionally limits transportation emissions. When workers practice on-site construction, they engage in more driving than modular workers. In America, the transportation sector generates 29% of all carbon emissions.
Centralizing the building process in a factory setting and transporting these modules to the worksite makes the entire project more efficient. Construction teams can say goodbye to major building delays and coordinated transportation, and the companies that occupy these office spaces can tout the lower carbon footprint of their building’s construction as a sustainability win.
3. Getting Creative With Modular Design in the Office
Of course, modular concepts don’t just apply to the construction of the building. Modular building designers also place environmental protection at the forefront of their design. Designing office spaces to embrace flexibility allows companies to rearrange layouts and take advantage of prefabricated systems that make green initiatives easier to achieve.
On a conceptual level, flexibility prevents wasteful practices down the road. Modular office concepts take advantage of movable walls and layouts to make renovating and adjusting an office space more efficient as time passes. Rather than investing in resource-intensive construction projects to remodel office space, designers are allowing companies to reimagine their workspaces as they grow.
Other modular design systems let business owners get even more granular. Modular systems, particularly lighting, are improving the sustainability of an office with centralized controls. Modular lighting fixtures optimize efficiency and limit emissions. They rely on light-emitting diode (LED) technology, which lasts 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. If buildings in the U.S. adopted modular lighting, we could reduce emissions by 1,800 million metric tons.
The key to any modular design is efficiency. Centralized systems and flexible approaches allow organizations to adapt their needs and manage their energy usage over time. Offices are getting more creative with using this approach to lay out and maintain their buildings.
4. Surface Waste Reduction
Outside of greenhouse gas emission reduction, modular buildings also make offices more eco-friendly by eliminating surface waste. The construction industry generates 600 million tons of debris and pollution annually in the U.S. It produces double the amount of surface pollution than the municipal solid waste industry.
Few construction companies recycle their excess materials during the building process. They additionally allow toxic runoff to leave the site, polluting rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Over time, the large quantity of waste causes adverse environmental effects.
Fortunately, the modular building style significantly reduces waste through recycling and repurposing materials. Rather than throwing away damaged or used products, sustainable builders use them on another project. When multiple projects occur under one roof, builders can swap and reuse materials with ease.
Researchers predict the U.S. has nearly 62 years of landfill space remaining. Modular construction can enhance the sustainability of the building industry, protecting natural areas and limiting pollution.
Modular Building is Improving Commercial Properties
Many builders may adopt the modular construction method in the future, improving their eco-conscious image and preventing climate change. The sustainable structures improve a builder’s and office owner’s utility costs, enhancing energy efficiency.
When we enhance the sustainability of office buildings, we can significantly reduce national greenhouse gas emissions. Without excessive atmospheric pollution, the environment may begin to recover. Consumers can promote the transition to green building practices by opting for modular construction over on-site, stick-built construction.