18 Jun 5 Key Ways to Reduce GHG Emissions in Buildings
What is the Carbon Footprint of a Building and how to Reduce GHG Emissions?
The hard truth is that all buildings have a carbon footprint. A building’s carbon footprint is defined as the amount of CO2 it produces during its operations and activities. Considering a building’s carbon footprint is something that affects both new construction as well as existing buildings. By educating ourselves, as well as clients and consultants, the entire team will be able to ensure that the building design has the smallest negative impact possible on the environment.
We List Down Some of the ways in which building owners can reduce their GHG / Carbon Emissions.
Implement Efficiency in Material Design
Report authors highlighted material efficiency as “one of the most effective means to reduce emissions,” noting that eliminating material waste at the design stage could lead to an 18% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 2017 and 2050. The report particularly highlights the targets of reducing steel and cement use in construction, noting that the minerals in cement account for 32% of all emissions from material consumption, while steel accounts for 15%. To alleviate this impact, a number of eco-friendly building materials have emerged in construction.
Enhance Existing Building Utilization
“Buildings are [underutilized] and often discarded before they have reached the end of their useful life,” the report reads, which can result in an avoidable level of GHG emissions. Implementing strategic use of existing space and infrastructure can lead to an 11% GHG emission reduction by 2050, and a 10%-20% reduction in demand for new buildings.
As concepts like brick-and-mortar retail face a demise and building vacancies rise, some cities are becoming more aware of how to reuse those buildings for second-life purposes. And the benefits of utilizing existing infrastructure can be mirrored in the use of vacant lots for development and construction, as opposed to tearing down forestry or existing buildings for such development. New York City recently held a design competition, Big Ideas for Small Lots, to encourage the construction of affordable housing on small and irregular lots throughout the city.
Lighting makes up a significant portion of energy consumption after heating and cooling. Hence, focusing on efforts to use energy-efficient lighting can help to cut down energy costs. Some of the ways you can do that is using occupancy sensors to operate the lights only when occupied. The other very successful way is to use a low energy consuming lights such as fluorescent, incandescent, halogen, LED or HID. The type of lighting you choose will depend on the specific lighting needs.
Since HVAC comprises 40 percent of all carbon emissions, incorporating the most efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, along with efficient operations and scheduled maintenance of such systems, reduces carbon footprint. Schedule heating and cooling systems to go on during pre-determined hours; let the system run hotter or cooler in off-hours, depending on the season. Most buildings are ventilated with outside air to keep the inside air fresh and odor free. This ventilation runs all of the time, even when it is not needed. This wastes energy because the outside air needs to be heated or cooled. Installing a low-energy humidifier instead of a typical electric steam humidifier will reduce a building’s carbon footprint. Also, equipping a building with sensors can measure indoor air quality and determine how much ventilation is needed. This means less electricity and natural gas will be needed for the HVAC system, which lowers energy bills and reduces the building’s carbon footprint.
A building’s carbon footprint can be reduced by sourcing its operational energy from environmentally responsible sources, or by generating renewable energy on-site. Using the walls or roof of a building for solar air heating, solar electric photovoltaic (PV) systems or solar water heating can permanently eliminate part of the demand for conventional energy.
How The Cotocon Group Works to Reduce the GHG/Carbon Footprint of Buildings
The Cotocon Group understands the impact buildings have on our environment. We are committed to working on reducing the carbon footprint of all our projects. One of the ways we do this is by conducting an annual audit of our projects’ energy use, which is a significant factor in a building’s carbon footprint. We also provide services such as Local Law Compliance, Energy Audits, Retro Commissioning, Building Commissioning that will help you reduce your Carbon Emissions.
Get in Touch with us to know more!