Sustainable Construction: Reducing and Reusing
Sustainable construction or otherwise searched as:
Green building,or High performance building,
or green construction.
The World Building Council for Sustainable Development says buildings account for 40% of worldwide energy use – which is more than transportation.
Sustainable construction has become BIG business with loads of incentives for businesses to develop new technologies and products to help buildings acquire the necessary green standard codes.
While BOSS Controls exists to provide energy and operational savings, we find ourselves reading other blogs and articles about sustainable construction, and thought that we would share a short list (of a rather exhaustive one) on green advances in commercial building construction that give way to some innovative sustainable construction materials.
3 Really Cool Green Innovations in Sustainable Construction
- Green Roofs and Biowalls
Green building advances don’t just focus on the building’s structure or systems. A lower tech way to “green” a building is by adding a green roof and/or a living wall.
Green roofs aren’t new. But, green roofs that we’ve seen in the past (take the ones in Babylon, for instance) have been simply aesthetically pleasing, not functional like they are now. Today’s green roof makes a commercial building more environmentally friendly by insulating the building and reducing heating and cooling costs. They are still stunningly beautiful, too!
Biowalls, or living walls, reflect solar radiation and improve air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, and absorb rainwater that would otherwise be runoff. The cool thing about biowalls is that they can be watered with greywater, or water that’s already been used.
- Dual Plumbing Systems
This plumbing system, also known as a dual piping system, is designed specifically to conserve water. It’s a step further past the federally-mandated low-flow toilets and uses water that’s unsafe for drinking, but is safe for processes like landscape irrigation or flushing toilets.
The dual plumbing system divides water into two types: potable and reclaimed, which was once waste or sewage. That may sound a bit gross, but the water is treated to remove any solid waste and is free of harmful bacteria before it’s used.
While the water used is recycled, there are some disadvantages to this method: it’s costly to have more than one plumbing system. Also, not every city can support reclaimed water use.
A less expensive alternative is to use greywater that’s generated within the building. There are a few ways this can be done: 1) require two different plumbing systems, 2) collect rain to fill toilets or irrigate plants, 3) install special sink/toilet combinations that allow the water from hand-washing to fill the toilet for flushing.
- Recycled and Sustainable Insulation
A commercial building has to be properly insulated for it to be considered energy-efficient. But, when we think of building insulation, we think of that pink, itchy fiberglass. This isn’t exactly a sustainable construction material because the fiberglass releases irritating and potentially harmful fumes.
The solution? Recycled and sustainable insulation.
There is a company that creates rolls of insulation that looks similar to the pink insulation we are used to, but it’s actually blue…because it’s made from old denim. Yes, denim! The result is amazing – no fumes and it’s not itchy to the touch. Plus, it’s fire retardant.
We’ve also seen fire retardant insulation made from newspapers and recycled plastic milk bottles.
Sustainable development doesn’t end when construction is over. Make sure your building is operated and maintained properly to assure optimum performance. You can easily do this with the BOSS Energy Management System. BOSS is the first cloud-based commercial solution designed specifically for the needs of small-to-mid-size organizations.
BOSS Controls helps entire industries run leaner and greener – from business, to healthcare, to higher education, to municipal and government facilities. The BOSS Energy Management System, powered by Atmospheres™, is an easy to install, plug-and-play solution allowing you to automate and control every plug load in your commercial facility from one interface. Plug loads include appliances such as your organization’s computers, water fountains, appliances and window ACs.
Before the BOSS energy management system, managing plug loads in large facilities like hotels, malls, and mixed-use retail has been expensive and impractical, with manual plug timers or high cost proprietary solutions. The BOSS Energy Management System can save your facility thousands of dollars in operational and utility costs annually.