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How to Bring Sustainability into Building Design and Construction

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Last Updated on April 1, 2022 by Sukhen

The construction industry is not really synonymous with sustainability, but that can change. With new technologies and new knowledge, it’s possible to improve the eco-friendliness of the building design and construction. Here are just some of the most effective ways new buildings can be made sustainable yet comfortable and practical for human use.

Hire commission experts

If you want to have peace of mind, hire a commissioning authority who will ensure the building is designed, built and ready to perform according to the operational requirements. And paying for envelope commissioning is key since no matter how good the mechanical part of the operation is, if the envelope is not up to standards, the system won’t function optimally.

Use low-impact materials

Making construction materials uses a lot of water and energy, but there are low-impact materials that come from recycling and repurposing. Replacing conventional materials with recycled, reused or reclaimed ones will reduce the footprint of the building and minimize toxicity.

Boost insulation

The better the insulation of a building (wall, roof and floor insulation) the better it will be in energy use and heat retention. Plus, insulation also boosts acoustic properties which is important both for commercial and residential buildings. And insulation needs to be done well the first time since fixing it later will cost money, time and resources and cause serious disruptions. It’s impossible to hear that someone over-insulated their home or office.

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Use the building’s thermal mass

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Stone, brick and concrete are materials that add to the thermal mass in a building that allows it to absorb warmth from the sun during the day and release it during the night, maintaining a comfortable internal temperature. Use thermal mass to your advantage so you can allow the building to regulate temperature without relying on electricity and gas. This can reduce resource consumption and make your property more eco-friendly and cost-effective.

Consider waste management

Reducing construction and live-in waste is becoming easier than ever with the sophisticated tools we have available. For instance, just one garbage compactor can make building waste more manageable and eco-friendly thanks to smart disposal. These units come in different sizes suitable for everything from homes to commercial buildings and they make your operations greener, your premise more hygienic and your waste management easier and cheaper.

During the construction phase, it’s important to identify materials that can be recycled, reused and repurposed to reduce waste. Lastly, it’s possible to reduce waste by performing good calculations that will ensure all ordered materials get used.

Employ natural light

Maximizing natural light in your building by using windows, roof lights, sun pipes and domes, etc, can maximize your energy efficiency and minimize your need to rely on electricity. Since windows and doors have an important role in creating the building’s shell, make sure to invest in performance timber doors and triple-glazed windows to boost your thermal performance. Modern performance furniture has great efficiency and their solar gain can be used to head the building and reduce your heating bill. Make sure to hire experts in fitting windows and doors to ensure lasting building performance and comfort. Buying cheap and cutting corners when hiring contractors will cost you and the environment in the long run.

Choose renewable energy sources

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One of the easiest and most effective ways to achieve sustainable building is to use alternative energy sources and incorporate solar, wind and hydro energy into the design. These additions can reduce your electricity and fuel requirements and boost your energy savings. Another renewable source you can incorporate into your design is proper ventilation structures that will reduce your need for AC and fans. People in hot climates like Australia’s will love access to great natural ventilation all year round.

Practice inter-company sustainability

If you own a building company or want to become an investor, make sure to actively pursue sustainable practices and seek LEED certification. You can also make connections with like-minded professionals, encourage your community to recycle and train your employees to practice sustainable practices at work and home. Partnering with other companies that practice sustainability can do wonders for your PR and give you new ideas on how to improve your own sustainability and become even greener.

To sum up, the main benefits of sustainable building and design in the construction industry are reduced carbon emission, reduced noise pollution, better cost savings, faster construction and minimal waste. While all companies and investors want to reap these benefits, the change to sustainability can’t happen overnight. We still require research, innovation and creativity, as well as great support from stakeholders. Slowly, we will all embrace sustainability in construction, otherwise, there won’t be any more construction.

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Derek Lotts is a Sydney based writer and researcher, a regular contributor at Smooth Decorator blog. He writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and business. He thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment.

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