Sustainable design, technological and construction practices produce buildings with a positive effect on the greater environment by using practices that decrease the negative facets of new structure. Techniques and criteria for all types of construction and retrofitting of existing buildings assist the development community in their attempts to minimize the short- and long-term impact of buildings on the environment, including human health. Many of the criteria have been developed from the U.S. Green Building Council and their LEED program, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design designations for residential and commercial buildings.
The site design is the first step in making certain that a building can be sustainable. The architects and engineers use modeling techniques to position the building to take advantage of sun and prevailing winds. The site design includes efficient use of the property for parking, for the building, and leaving open space to make a natural environment for the building’s occupants and visitors.
Energy and water Conservation
Among the most essential aspects of a sustainable commercial building is its use of materials and designs that contribute to water and energy conservation. The engineers and designers supporting the sustainable buildings take advantage of low flow plumbing fixtures, utilize landscapes that do not require a great deal of water, and if the building is big enough, recycle the grey water. The architects of sustainable buildings position the building on the site in order to take advantage of passive solar heating and cooling methods, to cool the building in the summer and apply sunlight in the winter to warm it. Sustainable buildings can use solar panels to generate some of the energy used within the buildings. They also utilize state-of-the-art heating and cooling equipment (HVAC), which is frequently the most costly recurring cost for commercial properties. The design team uses computers to track the HVAC system to make sure that it’s running at 100 percent efficiency. They use sophisticated modeling methods to make sure that the HVAC distributes the conditioned atmosphere evenly, so there are no hot spots or cold spots. The buildings also utilize natural daylight as much as possible and LED and CFL light to conserve energy.
When buildings are defined as sustainable, they have an obligation to utilize materials that have a minimal impact on the environment and landfills. The wood that’s used in these buildings is often certified timber, which means it comes from a forest in which environmental practices lead to the health and long-term productivity of their property. These forests use responsible harvesting methods that do not ruin habitats, utilize clear-cutting techniques or lead to slope erosion. The sustainable commercial buildings utilize surface floors from renewable resources that can be replaced quickly, like bamboo products for floors. Designers may look for local substances that do not need long transport, plus they look at methods to reuse all of the trimmed leftovers out of the components used to construct the building.
Indoor Air Quality
Sustainable buildings highlight using products that do not have dangerous off-gases from the paint or floors in the building. The contractors use products that are low in volatile organic solvents (VOCs), which decrease indoor contamination significantly. Once assembled, the building may use cleaning products that do not include harmful or hazardous chemicals that leave physical residues or VOCs. They work with interior designers to select furniture and fixtures that do not emit VOCs, completing the aim of having an environmentally sustainable and safe environment for all of the building’s occupants.
Sustainable Design Components
Besides using environmentally aware construction methods and materials, a sustainable building has design elements that lead to ecological health. The building may have a secure place for bicycle storage and showers so the occupants can bike to work. They can design parking lots for quick ingress and egress, cutting down to the fuel that’s burned while waiting to leave the area. Architects can assemble places to easily recycle the products utilized in the building, cutting back on the waste buildings generate. They might utilize chutes on each floor that require the newspaper, glass, aluminum and plastic into a central recycling storage space.