Different Ways to Build Green

Building green is excellent for the planet. In more ways than one. You can start by doing your part to lower your carbon footprint through effective installation methods. Various schemes offer project and building managers the opportunity to turn their construction into a sustainable entity. These schemes are creative too. From green roof designs to waste management solutions, you can find ways to build better for the environment.

Install Cooling Roofs to Lower Energy Consumption

Roughly 90% of the roofs in America are made from heat-absorbing, no-reflective material. Instead of reflecting the sun’s rays away from the building, the roof will absorb them. That will make the average roof about 90 degrees hotter than normal outside temperatures. In metropolitan cities, these concrete commercial buildings are notorious for upping the average temperatures. In the day it can climb about five degrees hotter. Cooling roofs are made from various materials like single-ply membranes, foam, and coatings. They can reflect on average 65% of the sun’s energy. An average roof can only do about 5%-15%. Using a cooling roof lowers the internal temps, improves air quality, reduces energy consumption, and sometimes gets you a discount on your utility bills.

Use Green Roofs to Add Vegetation & Improve Air Quality

Commercial buildings are typically constructed with flat roofs making them perfect for green roof installation. As previously mentioned, traditional building materials absorb enough heat that they can soar to average an additional 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Green roofs offer a lot of shade and evapotranspiration making the building cooler. They are made from multiple layers starting from a membrane bottom layer that separates the vegetation from the building. The plants are located on the topmost layer, and there is a network of drainage systems throughout for proper filtration. Not only do they reduce energy consumption, but they are aesthetically pleasing, increase your market value, and generate LEED certification points.

How Apply Smart Landscaping Techniques for Better Runoff

Whether large or small, parking lots need effective drainage and runoff. Standing water is dangerous for drivers, and it deteriorates the asphalt at a much quicker pace. Adding smart landscaping allows building owners to minimize flooding, improve aesthetics, and create a greener space. Landscaping is a natural solution to all of the above, but to work effectively, it needs to be constructed from bioretention. Bioretention is a landscape element made from composite-rich materials and trees. The outermost layer is mulch and dense vegetation. These attributes work in tandem to absorb storm water. They are most effective when they are covering at least 5% of the parking lot.

Properly Document the Efficiency of a Building Through Effective Commissioning

Commissioning is another portion of the LEED program that builders must obtain a superior rating in order for their building to be considered green. At its core, commissioning is a process. Through proper testing, designing, and installation project teams and facility managers can reduce operating and energy costs while simultaneously providing occupants with a comfortable atmosphere. During the initial installation, all aspects of the property should be in great working order. With regular use, problems populate, and issues with air quality and energy consumption materialize. Implementing a strong commissioning strategy at the beginning assists in lowering the chances of energy use skyrocketing. These issues are harder to rectify in older designs. Areas up for review include plumbing, mechanics, and electrical.

Conduct Energy Audits

Energy audits provide a lot of insight into aspects of the building where improvements can be made. We’re talking energy-saving strategies that can cause financial impacts on how the building is operated. Professional auditors walk-through the building inspecting different equipment or techniques that contribute to the energy structure. They’ll look at the heating system, ventilation, and perform an air infiltration test to check for air leaks. Air ducts are a common cause of inefficiency when the HVAC is running. If it’s not inspected regularly, the energy use can rise as high as 40%. That means almost half of the air that should be circulating through the building is leaking out somewhere.

Have a Plan for Specialty Waste Disposal

Not only is paying attention to your waste disposal going to help make your building green, but it will help get you that critical LEED certification. Most people don’t realize that there are different kinds of waste. Because not all waste is created equal, it needs to go to different disposal sites. Waste control has been around for decades, but the management is making a huge shift. Some materials don’t composite like others presenting life-long issues for our planet.

Most construction and demolition waste are highly recyclable. Sometimes it’s even reusable.  During the construction you can build a waste management plan that will:

  • Conserve landfill space
  • Lower energy use
  • Reduce waste sent to landfills
  • Conserve the number of trips needed to the landfill

The LEED program thinks so highly of the impact of proper C&D recycling that anyone who wants the certification must achieve a 50% standard. If you can get those stats up to 75%, you can earn an even higher rating.

LEED Program Compliance in Alabama

One of the best ways to maintain this industry standard is working with a waste management company like PBS with years of experience following the strict guidelines. At PBS, we can help with container placement and removal responsibly. Our roll-off dumpsters comply with the LEED program. Over the years, we’ve helped many projects in Alabama track and streamline recyclables.

For more information, contact PBS Services today.

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