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Innovative Ways for Reducing Carbon Emissions from Building Operations

Innovative Ways for Reducing Carbon Emissions from Building Operations

Architects and construction companies have long worked in partnership to erect attractive, visually appealing structures which are functionally efficient. In the era of cheap and plentiful energy, little attention was paid to environmental issues such as renewable resources, conservation, or air quality. As these issues moved to the forefront progressive companies and designers have begun to devise ways to retrofit older structures in an effort to reducing carbon emissions and to build in energy saving and environmentally sound features in new construction.

One key to Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in older buildings is to accept the premise that small changes add up to big savings. The best way to approach change is to plan each step. Incremental changes also result in immediate positive feedback in the form of a “shades of green” or step-wise process toward the ultimate goal. A good place to begin is with the obvious—replacement of leaky windows and doors with newer, energy efficient ones, use of films over exterior windows to reduce solar heat buildup, and installment of LED lighting where feasible to replace fluorescent bulbs. Motion-activated LED lighting is also a good idea for hallways, restrooms, storage annexes, and any other seldom trafficked areas. Sound planning for transforming an existing building into a Green Building requires intermediate goal-setting as a means of attaining the final goal. Without a roadmap, the final destination remains unclear.

Reducing Carbon Emissions For New Construction Development

For new construction, Reducing Carbon Emissions from Building Operations presents many opportunities. Beginning with initial drafting and in concert with existing state and municipal codes and siting considerations, the roofing materials, wall surfaces, wall coverings, and colors can be energy saving features. In the same manner, landscaping can be used to address water usage. A large amount of energy is consumed with the supply, use, treatment, and disposal of water. Xeriscaping, recycling water from showers, drinking fountains, and sinks for landscaping are possible avenues, as is the installation of gutters, rain spouts, and water storage areas. All passive and active recycling of water save energy and conserve resources.

Materials used in the actual construction of the building can add to the energy savings as well. Recycled building materials are readily available at little or no more initial cost than traditionally manufactured items. The primary example is the increased usage of steel in new construction. Steel is inherently recyclable after its initial production and is being used to replace wood and other structural components whenever feasible. Building in energy efficiency is one of the tenets of LEED, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification program for green building championed by the US Green Building Council.

The largest energy consuming feature of most buildings is the HVAC. As much as 40 percent of the energy utilized can be attributed to that single source. Planning for efficient environmental heating and cooling can be the highest payoff in demonstrating How Green Project Management Can be effective in Reducing Carbon Emissions by designing savings into the blueprints. Central controls instead of individual thermostats and careful attention to the placement of air returns and vents to avoid drafty areas and hot spots can all contribute to savings. HVAC units have become more efficient as a result of pressure from responsible builders and will conserve energy usage immediately. Replacement of filters regularly and installation and programming of smart timers to regulate heating and cooling in empty spaces or during non-working hours add to the possible savings.

Responsible builders are designing in energy saving measures to reduce the carbon footprint of new construction and in retrofitting older structures when possible. No feature that reduces emissions or conserves energy usage is too small. The cumulative effect of many small changes can play a significant role in the overall effort to build better, waste less, and care for the environment.

 

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Taking a Leadership Role in Reducing Carbon Emissions from Building Operations in CT and NY

Taking a Leadership Role in Reducing Carbon Emissions from Building Operations in CT and NY

For the past three decades, advances in technology and whole building design have made it possible to deliver multiple building services with lower energy intensity. However, in spite of these advances, electricity generated from fossil fuels, such as petroleum, natural gas, and burning coal, is the No. 1 energy source for buildings; less than 9 percent comes from renewable resources. In fact, as a result buildings contribute the largest share of U.S. carbon emissions.

Someday in the near future, carbon emissions related to building operations will be regulated. As leading owner representatives in construction management in Fairfield county, we give projects a competitive edge by pursuing ways to prepare for these regulatory changes and demonstrate corporate social responsibility via cost consulting, value construction engineering in Westport or devising realistic feasibility analyses.

 How Green Project Management Can Reduce Carbon Emissions

More and more, architects and engineers, building owners and managers will need to quantify the real impact carbon has on building operations. Energy efficiency in the building sector has driven numerous advances in lighting fixtures, windows, and insulation that aim to reduce the carbon footprint. At Beacon Projects, we aim to incorporate smart, cost-effective ways to mitigate the sizable carbon footprint the buildings industry contribute.

Green project management as a whole has made strides in reducing emissions and increasing energy efficiency; we see green trends more prominently in the marketplace, too. We actively pursue voluntary designations as part of our construction management on green projects in New York and Connecticut, such as LEED environments for living and follow mandatory equipment standards and building codes that boost efficiency. Several programs give incentives such as energy rebates and pricing structures that can help you stay within budget as you green up your project and get it ready for the big changes ahead in the building industry.

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