Australia has been changing at a fast pace with several development projects being undertaken across the states. Most of the constructions are loaded with numerous air conditioners, multiple lighting systems, and heating systems which consume high levels of energy. The lure for maximum comfort and convenience has given birth to increased carbon emissions and relentless use of depleting resources like water.
Commercial buildings are one of the primary polluters of the environment. However, the recent climate change challenges that have wreaked havoc in the country have made the developers rethink their construction strategy. Investors looking for commercial real estate in Australia are also stressing on constructing environmentally-friendly sustainable buildings.
The growing demand has made the latest projects incorporate eco-friendly and energy-saving strategies into the blueprint of the structures. Several architects have already used this concept to create green workplaces which improve productivity and reduce the impact on the environment. Here are seven easy ways of making a commercial building sustainable and environmentally-friendly.
1. Green Building Material for Insulation
Insulation of the building is highly beneficial in reducing the amount of heating and cooling required. If the builder uses eco-friendly materials with excellent thermal mass properties, then it can make the property energy-efficient. These materials help in creating an envelope around the edifice, which controls the internal temperature and reduces the amount spent on heating and cooling. One such material which has been working wonders in achieving desired results is the plant-based polyurethane rigid foam. It is made from natural products including bamboo, kelp and hemp and insulates like any other commercial material.
Also, they help in making the structure healthier for humans who reside and work in them. These materials are also sourced responsibly, which means that the workers involved in the production are offered appropriate wages and work in safe conditions. The plant-based foam has a long life and does not attract pests and moulds.
2. Rainwater Collection
The water crisis is not new in Australia as extreme temperatures and lack of rainfall are making the rivers and streams go dry. However, several commercial structures are covering up for the shortage by capitalising on rainwater. The water stored in the rooftop tank helps in being used for non-drinking purposes, such as cleaning, watering green area, filling the ponds and providing supply to the outdoor taps. It helps in reducing the consumption of water from the main supply and moving towards a sustainable future.
Many buildings have connected the rooftop tank to massive capacity underground storage systems that have helped them to deal with the shortage of water. Galvanised water tanks are now becoming a staple across office buildings which store rainwater efficiently. The upcoming student towers in Sydney are also following suit and have planned to include rainwater harvesting in their buildings.
3. Rooftop Gardens
Healthy buildings need to have ample green spaces which improve air quality and are ecologically responsible. Besides improving the green cover in the concrete jungle, these have a plethora of benefits. The gardens help in keeping the temperature controlled through the creation of an insulation blanket. The greenery is useful in filtering and maintaining a check on the release of rainwater. It is also advantageous in reducing stormwater run-off and enhancing the efficiency of the solar panels during hot weather conditions. The local councils in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide have been pushing the construction of rooftop gardens and have even prepared guides for the same.
4. Energy-Efficient Lighting
Many builders are now paying attention to finding a location that offers ample daylight inside the building. Keeping this thought in mind, several structures now have glass walls and large windows to allow maximum sunlight. It reduces the use of lighting during the daytime. Also, the adoption of power-saving lighting is another way to ensure that you are not spending a lot on utilities and wasting resources. Energy-efficient lighting systems are the perfect way to become environmentally-conscious. The use of sensors is also helpful in saving electricity, especially in places that do not need a constant supply of light.
5. Solar Panel Installation
Leveraging renewable sources of energy is another significant way of creating an eco-friendly commercial building. The installation of solar panels has increased several times in the country as we are blessed with the highest solar radiation per square metre. The rise in electricity prices has also led to an increase in demand for solar panels in commercial buildings which need electricity for various purposes. The industrial buildings specifically consume large quantities of electricity and can become sustainable by opting for this energy source. Most commercial structures have large roof spaces which makes it easy to install these panels and utilise them for lighting, powering equipment and machinery, and other purposes.
6. Utilising Prefabricated Structures
The construction of commercial buildings causes a lot of air pollution and carbon emission, which cannot be controlled. It adds to the huge piles of industrial waste and affects the environment immensely. With prefabricated materials, it has become possible to reduce emissions and monitor the construction site for pollution. The latest advancements in technology have allowed the prefabrication of entire buildings with the help of precast concrete.It is prepared in a factory and does not lead to industrial wastage or air pollution.
Also, these can be made with recycled materials which reduce the waste created during demolition. The prefabrication of materials has also helped in the reduction of construction cost and the time spent on erecting the buildings.
7. Monitoring and Controls
While the use of renewable sources of energy is beneficial in the creation of a sustainable workplace or office building, adequate checks are also required to ensure minimum energy wastage. For this purpose, the builder must check whether the edifice is functioning in the best way or not. Also, the occupant must maintain and service the building to avoid any wastage of water or electricity. For example, a burst pipe behind the wall can not only cause seepage and structural damage but also waste a lot of water.
Thus all the systems in the building must be maintained and monitored. In addition, the builder can install electronic devices with screens showing the consumption of energy to the users. It can help them to reduce wastage and improve the judicious use of electricity and water while reinforcing positive behaviour.
The catastrophic bushfires and the ongoing debate over climate change have made everyone think about going green. If you are planning to purchase a commercial property for sale in Australia, then make use of the tips mentioned above to make your building sustainable and environmentally-friendly.
Sophie Barrett is an experienced real estate marketing professional with a specialisation in commercial property market. She has a Masters degree in marketing from the esteemed Melbourne Business School and has several property management certificates to her credit. Her shrewd marketing policies and business acumen have led to the most rewarding property deals in the major capital cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. She is a popular name in the real estate market and has been serving the industry for almost two decades now. CommercialProperty2Sell is proud to partner with her for some astute discussions and advice on the booming sector.
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