garage floors parking with green construction

The Future of Commercial Construction is Green

Posted April 15th, 2019

The commercial construction market rises and falls with the global economy, but a few trends remain the same. One trend that continues to march forward and increase in importance is environmental stewardship. Green materials, green buildings, and green development strategies all play a role in the design process. More commercial clients demand it, and developers and architects are happy to oblige.

Here a few common trends in green commercial construction that are here to stay.

Solar Design

Commercial construction developers are increasingly having to factor in solar energy to their design strategies. One town in Massachusetts even mandated the use of solar power for all commercial buildings greater than 10,000 sq. feet and residential buildings that house more than 10 units.

There are several ways to incorporate solar energy into construction design. Along with the traditional rooftop panels, developers are also using passive solar design to consider how they position their buildings and design their windows. Through passive solar design, buildings can stay cooler during summer or warm faster in the winter, depending on the climate. Keeping this information in mind can help builders who want a positive environmental impact without investing explicitly in solar panels.

Zero-Net-Energy Buildings   

Solar panels are meant to reduce dependency on coal and natural gas-based energy providers like state and municipal energy companies. However, solar panels alone often can’t produce enough energy to completely meet a commercial building’s needs. To achieve this, developers need to invest in energy efficient lights, appliances, and infrastructure in order to create a zero-net-energy building.

A zero-net-energy building (often called a zero-energy building) only consumes as much energy as it can produce. This is achieved through solar production and efficient appliance investment. Having solar or being efficient isn’t enough. More clients want their campuses to be zero-energy so they can reap the positive publicity that comes with it.

Municipalities Are Embracing the Architecture 2030 Challenge

Architecture 2030 is a challenge to create new buildings with zero carbon emissions and to improve existing buildings to the point where they cut their carbon emissions in half. The concept has been adopted by various towns and cities, including the 2030 District in Seattle.

If more municipalities adopt this challenge, commercial construction companies will need to step up. Contracts will go to green-forward companies in town who can keep up with the 2030 Architecture goals.  

IoT Makes Remote Management Easier

The Internet of Things (IoT, big data, AI, etc.) are changing building management. Site managers are able to:

  1. 1. Find inefficiencies
    2. Optimize buildings to reduce waste
    3. Identify problems in real-time

It’s not uncommon for commercial construction companies to include IoT products in the development process, but these features also have a green element. The better buildings can run, the less energy they use, moving them closer to the coveted zero-energy status that more clients are asking for.

New Materials Are Still in Development

One of the biggest challenges that commercial construction companies face is keeping up with the latest technology. The green materials that are cutting-edge now will be replaced in the next few years. So many people are working to create green solutions – affordably – that there will be a boom in materials options in the next few decades.

This is good news and bad news for developers. On the one hand, going green will be easier in the future. But in the short run, companies will need to spend more to use what they have, and the solutions they use now will be considered outdated as new products hit the market.

Commercial construction developers who stay on top of the latest trends can take steps to meet the needs of their clients. As our society becomes more environmentally conscious, more people are going to request these features or rely on their developers to have the know-how to create a green building for them. You can use your green know-how and the financial support of Mobilization Funding to make these goals a reality. 

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