While maybe not the “green” theme you were expecting this week considering St. Patty’s Day, we thought we’d flip the script on “green” and discuss 6 different ways to think about constructing or overhauling an environmentally friendly building.
Thinking green is not just a convenient rallying cry. It’s something that you, as leaders of a retail financial institution, should care about because your customers care about it as well. While clients of every demographic will claim to want their affiliated companies to be more environmentally conscious, Millennials and Gen Z in particular are the most conscious. They actually choose companies because they support things like the environment, or “giving back”, like TOM’s, Warby Parker, etc.
So, put your green beer (yuk) down, and follow along as we discuss these Design and Build tips to make your current or next building more green.
Energy Efficient Lighting
Filed under the “you can do it now or then” category, swapping out traditional incandescent bulbs for more “green” lighting alternatives is just a smart choice. Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL) or Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs are a great alternative. They last longer and are more energy efficient – a win-win.
ENERGY STAR HVAC
Who doesn’t go to bed every-night thinking about their HVAC and ways to make it less taxing on the planet? Well, good thing there are choices out there with an ENERGY STAR certification. When decisions come to to heating and cooling, this certification can really go a long way. With very specific metrics needing to be met for certification, ENERGY STAR HVAC systems are just simply more efficient. When paired with proper insulation methods/products, you can be more green, while saving up to 30% on your heating/cooling costs.
Environmentally Conscious Design
The approach to a green building begins in the Design phase. Lay out the asks of your Design-Build firm in advance, specifying the desire for a green building. From there, Design elements can be incorporated in advance to achieve your goal. From window placements, skylights, solar panels, geothermal systems, and even recycled building materials, there are many ways to add Design elements both inside and out for a better building.
Water waste is a real thing. There are very simple measures that can be taken to lessen the overall water waste, and even ways to capture rainfall for your building’s use.
On the interior, make smart choices such as low-flow toilets and motion-sensor faucets that turn on/off automatically and do not run the risk of being turned on and left on.
For exterior landscaping, work with your Design firm to seek out trees, plants and shrubs that require less water. Drought tolerant plants are a big bonus here such as Cactus and Succulents.
And finally, consider adding industrial-sized Rain Barrels. Not only are these things pretty cool looking, but they have a tremendous benefit in capturing rainfall and storing its water for use around the property.
File the right materials under the “green” category as well. With the properly rated insulation panels, these can aid in overall operational costs by keeping the building cooler in the hot months, and warmer in the colder months.
Additionally, reflective paint can, well, reflect the baking sun, limiting the warming effect on exterior walls.
The final “green” idea is to add more green to your building.
While it may sound crazy, take inspiration from our Hobbit friends in Middle Earth and actually have grass on your rooftop. This “living roof” has many benefits, from an overall cooling effect to increasing a roof’s lifespan by up to 200%.
Additional rooftop ideas would be to add a planters or even a garden. Depending on the building and rooftop/terrace access, this “community garden” has a big upside on the environment. It may be a very cool crowdsourcing idea for your employees to build, tend, and benefit from what is grown.
If you’d like to learn more about ways to go Green, Contact Us today.