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FREMONT, CA: In an era of accelerating ecological concerns due to carbon footprints and climate change, the environmental influence of buildings is an important matter. Whether the property managers are building a new building or upgrading an existing one, careful research and planning can help them magnify the return on investment (ROI), energy efficiency, building durability, safety, and comfort while reducing environmental effects.
Here are four hints to help to guide property managers and construction executives through some fundamental decisions. Integrating these into constructing or upgrading a structure would impact not just their buildings but also the future of our planet.
Considering the Building's Location
While planning an energy-efficient design, the building's location is one of the most important considerations. Even with improvements like doors and windows, the ROI depends on the building's energy consumption and the energy prices in the area where the building is situated. The location also decides the building's proximity and access to renewable energy technologies like passive solar building design and geothermal heat pump.
Tapping Into Energy Modeling Software
Compared with conventional buildings, construction costs of low-energy buildings are frequently not much more and may even be the same. For property managers, the most appropriate way to make the most out of their investment in a building might be to use energy modeling software.
By inputting the info of the existing or new building, like size, location, climate, construction materials, and systems, the software can predict the building's energy use. Changing the variables supports the building managers develop a design that maximizes ROI and energy efficiency while staying within the budget.
Over the last years, software developers worldwide created several programs to help building managers make more informed decisions about energy use.
Minimizing Energy-Intensive Materials
High-energy materials such as cement, glass, brick, and steel are typically used in construction. Still, it's possible to lower any structure's environmental impact by using alternative, low-energy materials such as stone, soil-cement blocks (also known as rammed earth), hollow concrete blocks, steam-cured mud blocks, and burnt clay bricks.
Moreover, tapping into the light and flexible walls of the latest building technologies can also help property managers and construction executives to decrease their energy bills dramatically. If the distinction between the temperatures that need to be separated indoors and outdoors is steep, walls can increase energy efficiency through thermal separation.
Emphasizing the Entrance
Inefficient entrance systems can struggle with any building's energy use. A fresh breed of high-tech doors that are EPD-certified would significantly lower the energy bill of all buildings. These technologies not just reduce CO2 emissions but are often more cost-effective and last longer.
Building managers might also advantage from installing an air curtain, especially in place of a vestibule. This minimizes air infiltration, increases safety during emergencies, keeps flying insects at bay, and saves space. One study also found that a medium-sized building with an air curtain had significantly less yearly energy use than those that didn't.
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