5 ways to reduce the carbon footprint of a large building
Green credentials have never been more important for businesses. Showing that you’re doing your bit for the environment gives people reassurance that you are not just thinking about profits – whatever the cost to the planet.
What is a building’s carbon footprint?
In simple terms, a building’s carbon footprint is the amount of CO2 it produces in day to day operation. Things to look for include anything that flows in and out of the building such as water, waste and energy. Reducing a building’s carbon footprint reduces costs and sends a clear message that the business is taking environmental responsibility seriously. If your building is in need of renovation and updating, this is an excellent time to factor in environmental improvements…
How to reduce the environmental impact of a large building
1. While reducing energy use is important, biggest steps towards making large buildings more environmentally friendly is the adoption of renewable energy technologies, of which solar power is the fastest-growing. Did you know that the Sun reportedly delivers more energy to Earth in one hour than humanity consumes over the course of a year?
2. Look to source recycled building materials when constructing (steel is the most recycled material on the planet, for example) and look for green suppliers who embrace environmentally friendly practices. This sentiment doesn’t just apply to the construction of the building, but can also transcend to the day to day function of the business. For example stock re-usable pens where you add more ink rather than throw away hundreds a year.
3. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) regularly maintained and updated can help reduce a buildings carbon footprint by being as efficient as they can be without wasting excess energy. Installing low energy humidifiers instead of electric steam ones will also help. You can even get sensors that can measure air quality to determine how much ventilation is needed. The knock-on effect of this is that a building will use the right amount of electricity resulting in not only lower energy bills, but a reduced carbon footprint.
4. Lighting can account for 40% of energy used in a typical commercial building, so it’s an obvious place to start when looking at reducing energy costs. A great tip is to look at ways of increasing natural light, which arguably creates a more comfortable working environment. LED lighting typically achieves energy savings of 50-70% compared to conventional lighting and, if used to its full potential, could eliminate lighting as a major contributor of global emissions.
5. Another major factor affecting a building’s carbon footprint is the supply, treatment and usage of water. As standard, plumbing should be leak-proof and well maintained to avoid losing any water. To take a step further, you could consider technology such as high efficiency toilets to reduce water use – as they reduce average flush volumes. But by far, Greywater reuse systems are the superior approach when it comes to conserving water. They significantly reduce a building’s demand for fresh clean water by diverting the waste water for uses such as toilet flushing or irrigation.
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