Environmental consciousness is an increasingly common societal and organisational value. But while an “off-grid” commercial building may not be viable (or even, necessarily, desirable), there are many effective yet easy ways to make your building more environmentally friendly.
Reducing your building’s energy consumption is a popular way to reduce your environmental footprint. More – and better – insulation will lower the energy required to heat or cool your building. Programmable thermostats that only provide heating and cooling when required offer a great way to save on energy use (and energy costs).
Windows are one of the key culprits for heat loss and gain in a building, so energy efficient windows can be a worthwhile investment. Depending on your climate and window orientation, you may want windows that trap heat inside your building, windows that keep heat out, or a combination.
Skylights, LED lights and other energy efficient lighting offer immediate energy savings. Paired with lighting design (so you only light areas that need it) and automation (so you only use the light you need), you can significantly reduce your energy use.
All these measures offer a once-off spend with a “set and forget” outcome, so you continue to consume less energy (and save on your power bills) with minimal effort and maintenance.
Water is a finite resource, so it’s important to do what you can to save it. Individually, water efficient plumbing fixtures may have a negligible effect on your water consumption. But when that effect is repeated across your building, the savings (for both water and water bills) become substantial.
Water-efficient appliances can also help you save significantly on your water use. This is especially the case if you pair them with water conscious habits, such as asking employees to only turn the office dishwasher on when it’s full.
On some buildings, installing a rain harvesting system may allow you to conserve mains water as you use rainwater to flush your toilets, irrigate your grounds, etc.
Your building’s environmental footprint doesn’t end at the door. Your grounds and gardens also offer ways to transform your premises into an environmentally-friendly facility.
Landscaping with native plants will protect the local flora and fauna from invasive species and competitors. Even better, native plants will be suited to your area’s climate. This means they should require little watering beyond that which nature provides, further reducing your environmental footprint.
Needs, environments and situations vary from building to building. The right environmentally-friendly features for your building may be different to the right features for the building next door, so it’s important to consider what’s best for you.