Energy economy is our priority. We strive to construct environmentally conscious buildings without compromising on construction quality. Our architects focus on reducing the energy demand of buildings by embracing better insulating measures, low energy lighting, and proper application of resource-efficient processes to design buildings that are truly green.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, provides a model that covers the significant issues associated with green building. The U.S. Green Building Council developed the LEED rating system to evaluate the sustainability of buildings, creating a unified model for developers and engineers. LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, creating innovative buildings that are resource efficient and sustainable, reducing environmental stress. The buildings are designed to use less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. LEED for Building Design and Construction (LEED BD+C) provides a framework for building a sustainable green building, enhancing the experiences of both occupants and visitors.
An ideal passive design is about achieving a building that does not require the services of mechanical appliances like heating or cooling systems and associated fossil fuel consumption, relying instead on renewables for energy. By following the principles of passive design, considering the orientation of a building with respect to its location and harnessing site-specific resources like rainfall, solar, and wind, passive design can take the building a long way in reducing energy consumption and reducing the ecological footprint of the building. The most effective passive designs are based on a building site’s wind patterns, terrain, vegetation, solar exposure, and other environmental factors.
Discarded construction materials from a demolished or previously constructed building are often valuable commodities that can be recycled or reused. Use of recycled aluminum, wood, and glass products should be considered. This also means that concrete and asphalt that would otherwise be discarded gets recycled or reused, resulting in saving enormous amounts of energy, time, and money.
To achieve better thermal protection and energy efficiency from longer-lasting, environmentally friendly building materials, more projects are beginning to employ newly developed insulations, such as insulation made from soy, which provide significant benefits and contributes to green building performance. Careful choice of insulation ensures achievement of desired thermal resistance to reduce heat transfer through roofs, walls, and slabs, making it a priority to choose the most effective R-value per inch.
Sunlight is the cheapest method of lighting your building, using no electricity and reducing carbon emissions. The intensity of daylight is often more than ten times the typical lux values required for indoor lighting, so access to a relatively small amount of daylight can light a large space if an appropriate distribution and diffusion system is in place.
From the perspective of health, productivity, and sustainability, the space inside a building must have access to natural light as the primary source of daytime illumination to maximize energy savings while reducing peak energy demands. Sunlight also has a positive impact on the mental and physical well-being of occupants, helping to regulate sleep cycles and increase focus. When a building is designed and planned with natural lighting in mind, windows can make the most of the available light, even on cloudy days, while minimizing harsh lighting in the mornings and afternoons. Smart windows can also be installed to tint automatically based on the current light available, further lowering energy costs by reducing the amount of energy needed to cool the space.
Lighting accounts for around 22–40% of energy consumption on commercial campuses. By replacing traditional incandescent lighting with efficient CFL or LED lighting, we can reduce electricity consumption and reap the benefits of a much longer product life. These lighting technologies last longer and use less energy than the incandescent bulbs that previously dominated the market. Several new lighting technologies, including halogen incandescent, compact fluorescent, and LEDs, are currently responsible for providing energy savings of up to 75 percent compared to traditional incandescent bulbs.
Several new technologies have emerged to help make the part of the building most exposed to sunlight and the elements as green as possible. Cool rooftops, coated in specialized reflective paint or constructed with reflective tiles or shingles, can keep rooftop surfaces up to 50 degrees cooler in the sun. These coverings protect the roof from UV, chemical, and water damage and reduce energy bills by putting less strain on air-conditioning systems and HVAC equipment. It also improves indoor comfort for spaces that are not air conditioned, such as garages or covered patios.
Garden rooftops are another alternative, covered with live vegetation for better thermal performance of the roof and helping to improve the surrounding air quality. Garden roofs facilitate the use of rainwater for rooftop vegetation, enhancing the insulation properties of the roof and keeping the building cooler.
Rainwater can be caught and stored for irrigation and plumbing. Rainwater is free of salts and acids, and the purity and softness of collected water helps prevent scale on piping and appliances. Harvesting rainwater for reuse is inexpensive and not only brings down water costs, but eases stress on public water sources. Water tanks are used to collect rain and groundwater, sustainably maintaining the integrity of building infrastructure and, in some states, even providing tax benefits for campuses equipped with water collection systems.
When renewable technologies are applied appropriately, 100 percent of needed energy can come from wind, water, and solar power. Solar collection can be used for generating electricity, but also for heating and lighting. Solar power is stored in specialized batteries and is complementary to wind energy, which tends to reach its highest production at night. Installing renewable energy solutions also adds value to the building, and most systems pay for themselves within a few years of installation.
Sustainable construction is achieved by accommodating and working within guidelines set out in part by the LEED certification program to create environments dedicated to energy efficiency and comfort. Passive design principles, environmental technologies, and material recycling promise to bring down costs in all aspects of construction and maintenance while lowering utility costs into the future. Buildings designed for energy efficiency and sustainability promise to use the latest in technology and building practice methodology to create a unique, green space that perfectly complements the surrounding environment.
Panache Development & Construction, Inc. © 2017