Sustainable Design in Commercial Architecture
Going green has become a major movement in the world of commercial architecture. More and more modern businesses are making their facilities eco-friendly through the use of progressive building techniques, advanced installations, and responsibly-sourced materials.
Here, we’ll examine how sustainable design is becoming a mainstay of commercial architecture, and how it benefits the businesses that embrace it.
Why Businesses Should Embrace Sustainable Design
Many may think that environmentally-friendly design is selfless in nature. After all, its best-known purpose is to reduce the impact that buildings have on the ecosystem, improving the health of the planet. However, there are many powerful ways that businesses can benefit.
Satisfying Today’s Consumers
The first benefit comes from meeting consumer demand for more responsible, eco-conscious brands, products, and services. Today’s generation of consumers is deeply concerned with environmental issues, and they’re demonstrating this in their choice of brands.
Many decide which companies to do business with based on their commitment to sustainable practices. Brands who make an effort to go green can attract these value-driven customers and win their loyalty.
Aligning with Government Targets
Commercial buildings that adopt sustainable features early also benefit by being prepared for future government requirements. State and federal governments are starting to stipulate performance measures for commercial buildings in terms of energy efficiency. By 2050, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Commercial Building Initiative will require all commercial facilities to have net-zero energy consumption.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that commercial buildings account for 38% of carbon dioxide pollution and 68% of total electricity consumption. Lowering the carbon footprint of commercial architecture will significantly reduce strain on the environment and help businesses get ahead of government regulations.
Improving Cost Efficiency
Because sustainable design can majorly reduce a facility’s energy needs, businesses who go green can expect to see lower utility costs. This will decrease overhead spending and free up more funds for business improvements.
Regarding initial construction, sustainable approaches can also reduce the time and cost to build. Furthermore, many of today’s sustainable materials and practices actually extend the lifespans of buildings and reduce the need for repairs. The resulting decrease in construction and maintenance spending can significantly boost a company’s bottom line.
How Commercial Architects Design Sustainable Facilities
When designing for sustainability, commercial architects must first make a number of assessments. We need to identify our client’s own goals, such as targets for energy usage or material recycling. Additionally, we must evaluate the local climate, the natural features of the building site, and the types of materials that are locally available.
Reviewing these factors helps us build an effective strategy for how and where we will implement sustainable features and practices.
The sustainable features that we and other architects commonly use include the following:
Green roofs covered with growing vegetation. These absorb carbon dioxide and rainwater, and can provide some insulation properties. Some facilities, such as restaurants and food markets, use these as gardens for growing produce.
Rain water harvesting and waste water recycling. Depending on the water type, they can be used to provide water for toilets, landscaping, and other site features that need water. This cuts down municipal water consumption.
Solar panels on rooftops for generating renewable energy. Such panels can cover a significant portion of a facility’s energy needs, enabling responsible and sustainable energy consumption.
Design that enables passive cooling and heating. This advanced form of architecture can reduce the need for heating and air conditioning, leading to lower energy costs.
Automated controls for lighting, heating, and other utilities on an as-needed basis. Many commercial warehouses have begun to use sensors that activate lighting only when workers are present, dramatically reducing the amount of electricity consumed.
Selecting sustainably-sourced materials. Examples include bamboo wood flooring, paper insulation, and recycled concrete. These can reduce the total carbon footprint of a project, while also offering cost, health, and durability benefits.
Recycling materials that already exist on-site. If a building is already present on the property and needs to be demolished, project sustainability can be maximized by reusing as much of the materials as possible in the new construction.
Businesses of the 21st Century Need Sustainable Design
Here at PionArch, we believe sustainable design isn’t merely a trend, but that it is becoming the new standard for commercial architecture. For this reason, we always strive to enhance the sustainability of our commercial projects.
If you are a business that is interested in making your facility more cost-efficient, durable, and environmentally-responsible, we can help. Reach out to our team to discuss the possibilities.