How to make your property development more environmentally-conscious.
With the planet in a state of climate emergency, emphasizing sustainability in everyday life has never been so important. Unfortunately, as much as the property development sector is vital to the advancement and progression of society, it’s also a huge contributor to climate change due to the carbon emissions that come from creating a building.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom – there are steps that can be taken during development to ensure that each project is as sustainable as possible. This article will detail some suggestions for how to make a property development more environmentally-conscious.
REDUCING ENERGY WASTE
Buildings that waste energy can never be truly sustainable, but there are some simple steps that can be taken to safeguard a building against energy waste.
One obvious way to make sure a building is wasting as little energy as is possible, is by guaranteeing there is sufficient insulation and double glazing throughout the whole building. This will not only help the building maintain its temperature for longer, but it will also help to reduce the cooling or heating capacity that is required for the space; in turn, this will also reduce the building’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
Another consideration for minimizing energy waste is a building’s lighting solutions. Motion-sensor light fixtures, as well as skylights and considered window placement, all contribute to conserving energy. If a budget allows for these additions, they should be strongly considered.
USING SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS
The United Nations released a list of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are stepping stones to a more environmentally-conscious world, and one of these goals is ensuring responsible consumption and production. One way that consumers can make responsible choices in this area is by opting to use sustainable materials whenever possible.
By sustainable materials, we mean either recycled materials or materials that are being produced in a way that works to reduce or offset the effects of their production. Take wood as an example. While wood is a natural resource, harvesting it means cutting down trees which has harmful consequences for the environment. However, there are countless companies who now pledge to re-plant the trees that they cut down, to counteract the loss. Cement is another example; traditional cement production emits huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, but by choosing low-carbon cement as an alternative material, this emission is greatly reduced.
It's a conscious decision that takes more time and energy to implement, but the environmental return for choosing to use sustainable materials wherever possible during construction is enormous, and it makes the effort worthwhile.
PRIORITISING RENEWABLE ENERGY
The burning of them fossil fuels is detrimental to our environment and it’s one of the leading causes of climate change, while alternative renewable energy is becoming more efficient and cost-effective every day. If development companies were to prioritize renewable energy both during construction and in the running of their buildings, the resultant positive impact would benefit us all.
During day-to-day construction, renewable energy can be used to operate necessary tools, trucks, lighting, heating, and air-conditioning systems. If the building is designed with sustainability in mind, features such as solar panels could be integrated onto roof-tops, and cooling or heating systems could be created to run on renewable energy alone. With careful planning, your buildings can remain sustainable long after their construction.
El Salvador benefits from an abundance of natural resources including hydropower and geothermal power, making it a prime spot for reducing reliance on fossil fuels and instead prioritizing renewable energy.
SMART BUILDING SYSTEMS
Smart building systems and building management systems work to make buildings not only safer, but more efficient, and in turn more sustainable. Take CEFINCO’s buildings as examples. Each new building CEFINCO develops has integrated smart building systems which allow tenants to monitor every operating system within the building, from surveillance through to heating and air conditioning systems.
The focus that is placed on efficiency by smart building systems means that developments can operate seamlessly each and every day, and require less energy to do so. By incorporating this cutting-edge technology into development projects, companies can be confident that their buildings are helping our planet.
It’s true that every little helps, and that all sustainable actions – no matter their scale – are invaluable. However, it’s the biggest actions that will ultimately have the most impact. By taking steps to make all property developments as sustainable as they can be, from the design to the construction to the final product, the positive impact the sector can have on our planet’s climate is immense. These suggestions only scratch the surface of sustainable development, but they’re a great place to start.
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