Article by: Susan Holmes
With the United States eyeing a goal of a net-zero economy by the year 2050, businesses are under greater pressure than ever to curb their energy consumption. However, in addition to ensuring future compliance, creating an energy efficient building is just good business practice. Not only can it help you save on utility costs, but your business will be more likely to appeal to an increasingly socially conscious clientele that prioritizes supporting sustainable business practices. Therefore, to keep your business in line with the times, consider the following 5 building and renovation trends that can help your business transition as it goes green.
1. Leverage the Power of Exterior Sunlight Treatments
It is no secret that maximizing the sun’s natural energy for heating and lighting a building is one of the best steps businesses can take for creating a green facility. As a result, many modern commercial buildings are constructed with oversize windows and glass walls to promote natural lightflow.
However, there can come a time when the effects of the sun can become too much, causing a building to overheat–especially those areas with a south-facing orientation.
Rather than pumping up the AC to bring the building down to a comfortable temperature, it is worthwhile to consider more sustainable sun-mitigating features, such as a screen facade and adjustable awnings to help provide some shade during times when the sun is particularly intense.
2. Improve Roof Insulation
The flat roofs that characterize many commercial buildings are notorious for their poor insulation. This makes the buildings prone to extreme temperatures, as the low thermal mass of many flat roof systems readily transfers the ambient temperature indoors.
Therefore, it is critical to consider more advanced insulated roofing systems to keep the building’s interior at more stable temperatures and reduce utility consumption due to conditioning costs. The best roof insulation systems will use composite girts to ensure a continuous insulation environment that eliminates the thermal bridges that undermine traditional roof insulation.
3. Choose Sustainable Framing Materials
One of the best tips for green construction is to choose long-lasting, sustainable materials that will not break down with this passage of time. This all starts with the framing, where traditional wood-frame panels are increasingly coming under scrutiny for their inadequacy. In addition to shrinking and swelling in the face of moisture that can cause cracking, they are also highly susceptible to fire and pest damage. Better alternatives for ensuring an airtight building envelope that will not break down over time are steel beam and ICF framing products. With outstanding protection against moisture and wind, building owners do not need to worry about the insidious effects of higher energy bills as their framing loses its efficacy.
4. Create Elite Air and Moisture Barriers
While the framing is obviously a great place to start when creating an airtight building, further measures are necessary to get energy transfer as close to zero as possible. To this effect, many businesses are considering the advantages of EIFS stucco as an exterior cladding solution.
This synthetic stucco solution creates a continuous insulation system for the building envelope by taking a layered approach. A water resistant layer is added to the substrate of the exterior to prevent moisture infiltration. Then, a layer of XPS, EPS, or mineral wool is added for insulation. A sheet of fiberglass mesh is then added for reinforcement. An additional water resistant base coat is applied to the fiberglass mesh. Finally, a finishing coat is added to this layer to provide texture and color that is nearly indistinguishable from the look of traditional stucco while providing insulation that is many times more effective.
5. Reduce Reliance on HVAC
Although reducing reliance on HVAC may seem like a no-brainer, and all of the steps previously listed are helpful to this effect, business owners can go even further when creating a green facility. Namely, installing a radiant heating system beneath the floor is a great way to provide a more consistent heating experience to the building while eliminating the cold pockets notorious for undermining forced air systems.
Using radiant floor heating, heat is dispersed throughout the day in a consistent, stove-like manner, keeping the floor cozy in all seasons. While forced air systems have to heat air many degrees above the desired temperature to achieve the necessary warming effect, radiant systems achieve the result much more efficiently, resulting in massive energy savings in the process. To further optimize the system, look into innovative radiant heating thermostat technology that gives you unparalleled control over the desired temperature.
5 Trends to Help Your Business Go Green
Taking green initiatives is a top priority for businesses in 2022. To get the process rolling, it is worthwhile to consider green building and renovation ideas. With this in mind, leveraging exterior sun treatments, improving roof insulation, choosing sustainable framing, creating elite air and moisture barriers, and installing subfloor heating systems are 5 trending projects that can aid your business in its efforts to go green.