Posted by on Aug 30, 2012 in Design Tools and Resources, Home Page, Sustainability

Many questions that come from our clients revolve around green building trends. Are the savings there when you take time and effort to design an efficient building? What are the annual savings of an efficiently designed building? Is this green building trend just that…a fleeting trend? Or are these environmently friendly design and construction techniques here to stay?

We wanted to answer the common questions by sharing with you what the trends are and which ones make the most sense when looking to build a new commercial space or retrofit an existing building. Here are nine trends that we know are here to stay:

Existing Building Renovations

Renovating an existing building and bringing it up to LEED certified standards is commonly referred to as LEED-EDOM. What does that mean? Leadership in Energy and Design=LEED. Existing Building: Operations and Maintenance = EBOM.

Over the past few years the idea of overhauling an existing building has gained momentum. Green building isn’t just for new construction anymore. Especially if a building is already energy-star rated, retrofitting the building to be LEED certified is very cost effective.

Businesses are placing more importance on highlighting their green, energy and environment friendly practices. Large commercial buildings, hotels, conference spaces, grocery and retail stores, and more will continue to make great efforts to retrofit their buildings to be LEED Certified.

Zero-Net Energy Building

Zero-net energy buildings mean that the net use of energy consumption and carbon emissions is zero. These buildings produce and harvest the energy they need to sustain functions through wind and solar power. These buildings also use energy saving materials and smart technologies to use the energy more efficiently and produce fewer carbon emissions from the start.

Water Recapturing Strategies

Did you know that Florida does not have a water reservoir in the entire state? More focus is being placed on creating reservoirs so rainwater capture systems can be integrated into buildings. This trend in moving towards capturing rainwater is a way to make our water a renewable resource.

Green Roofs

Green roofs incorporate beauty and function in a unique way by incorporating living plants as the roofing material. The plant elements chosen for the green roof can compliment or even be the focus of the design and overall architectural style while lasting longer than traditional roofing material. The living plant materials reduce noise, improve air quality, conserve water, add in a natural habitat to an otherwise urban area and reduce energy costs.

Building Management Moves Into The Cloud

Technology for managing the building after construction is complete can play just as vital a role in the energy efficiency of the design. Wireless sensors and smart software solutions allow building managers to know what is going on at all levels of the building. Knowing when a complex system is not working at its full potential, or knowing of a maintenance issue before we would without sensors help make buildings smarter and more efficient even as they age.

Performance Disclosure

Performance disclosure is growing as the need for transparency in expected versus actual results becomes more important. Measuring the results of energy efficient buildings will bring data back to the material manufacturers and architects so that future designs can be improved upon. Accurate disclosure will also come into play in subsidies and rewards for companies that chose to invest in green building.

Higher Green Standards

As the industry of green building grows, so do the expectations of results. The level at which a material or method is deemed efficient will continue to increase as technology improves. With the higher standards will come a more systematic approach to measuring outcomes.Sustainability and green building will become a norm and an expectation instead of an option in architecture and construction.

Multiple Building Sustainable Certification

95% of the buildings in the United States are under 50,000 square feet. So a focus on creating commercial neighborhood of energy efficient buildings is becoming an important focus for urban areas across the globe. In fact, Qatar is creating an entire downtown area consisting of 110 sustainable buildings. Building urban areas with a focus on energy efficiency and sustainability is vital to long term growth and success of cities across the US.

Sustainability Reimbursement

Businesses do undertake costs when designing, building or retrofitting sustainable structures. The importance of preserving the resources we have available is very important so governments do place emphasis on sustainability. A method of encouraging buisnesses to move forward in green building is to offer monetary incentives. As perfomance disclosure improves and green standards rise, so to will the reimbursements to green construction projects.

There are many more questions you may have about considering or moving forward on a green building project. We would love to answer any questions you may have so please contact us today!

 

Photo Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2365026