The main driver of sustainable construction used to be energy preservation. Nowadays, however, energy saving properties are hardly an innovative way to differentiate a building anymore. While energy preservation is still a primary component within sustainable construction, other factors have come into play as well. In this blog, we detail 3 additional factors that fuel sustainable design in building projects.
1. A healthy work and living environment
Environments with suitable temperatures and sufficient air quality add to the well being of occupants, whether workers or residents. In the case of workplaces, employee productivity will rise significantly.
For example, employee productivity goes up by 2 percent if the temperature is decreased from 26 °C to 25 °C. This productivity uplift not only represents an increase in the average amount of work completed, but also an increase in the quality of the work — a major gain and benefit for employers. An interesting comparison: personnel expenses make up for 75 percent of total operating costs, while housing costs only account for 2 percent of total operating costs. As a result, a 1 percent increase in productivity allows housing costs to go up 50 percent without increasing total operating costs. We think it’s obvious how these numbers attract investors and employers.
2. Flexibility in terms of building functionality
Green buildings in this day and age are designed and constructed in a flexible manner, meaning that they can be repurposed — or even deconstructed — without material loss. We call this designed for reassembly. In case of deconstruction, sets of deconstructed green building materials can be reused in other building projects, contributing to a degree of green construction that’s imperative to secure a livable future for the generations to come. This type of waste elimination — through discarded materials reutilization — is the exact philosophy of Cradle to Cradle design.
During its first life cycle, a building can also be repurposed more easily (instead of being deconstructed right away). Flexible design allows for this through the usage of interchangeable construction components. Imagine offices being converted into student dorms without drastically rearranging building structures.
3. Financial upsides
Funding conditions for building projects are much more favorable when green construction is contemplated, something that undeniably catches the attention of investors. Why are funding conditions more favorable? Because green buildings are more durable, can easily be repurposed, have a higher lifetime value, and contribute to sustainability and environmental awareness in general.
Furthermore — and for the exact same reasons — sustainable construction allows investors to charge more rent, prolong renting terms, and increase the residual value of properties owned.
Sustainable construction is set to become the norm, but how do you control and monitor it?
As you can hopefully see, sustainable construction is becoming the standard for building projects. But how do we determine if a building is sustainable? What are its characteristics and requirements, and who is to be the judge of correct implementation of these requirements?
The answer lies in the existence of green building certification systems. These systems issue green building labels to building projects that meet green building label requirements, as defined by these same certification systems. One of the most authoritative green building certification system is the DGNB, situated in Germany.
To help you learn more about green building certification systems and their corresponding green building labels, we have written a detailed whitepaper about the DGNB and its working mechanism. The whitepaper informs you about the importance and applications of green building labels, how they help architects grow. Download a free copy of the whitepaper here.
Mosa Magazine provides news and inspiration for designing with tile; the articles are not intended as technical documents.