What’s the best way to promote mental health and save the environment while utilizing your building to its fullest? Small changes can do more for your carbon footprint than you might think, even for commercial buildings.
Sometimes, it’s the tiniest difference that has the most significant impact. Even implementing one of these solutions, though they may not all seem grandiose, can make a difference in your community.
Eco-friendliness is the future and may draw more people to your building. Whether you intend for them to spend money or work hard in the space you’ve cultivated, everyone inside the building can benefit from knowing they’re in a place that promotes the environment.
It can make them feel like they’re helping to change the world, too.
1. Install Solar Panels
Renewable energy is the perfect way to get a hefty return on your investment. Despite a high starting cost, solar panels will pay for themselves over time by offering your building a renewable energy source to run on, saving you money on your monthly power bills. They’re often sleek and can heighten the aesthetic of a generic office building or shopping center.
Over the last decade, global investment in solar energy has grown by almost $200 billion and will continue to increase. Your building won’t be the only one investing in solar power in the coming years. Research solar in your state — you might just qualify for tax credit by installing panels.
2. Bring Your Appliances Up to Date
If your building isn’t new, it likely has some outdated systems and appliances. Upgrading your devices is one of the simplest ways to become more energy-efficient and eco-friendly without undertaking a massive renovation.
The older your current appliances, the more likely they need an upgrade. Since you first got them, there may have been plenty of newer models to improve upon the features of the older ones. Replace any outdated appliances whenever you get the chance.
You can hire people to upgrade your current systems or replace them altogether, which might be more cost-effective in the long run as materials to repair outdated systems become scarce. You’ll benefit yourself and maintenance workers while applying up-to-date systems and appliances to your building for everyone to use.
3. Opt for Greener Building Materials
Eco-friendly building materials might be a bit more expensive, but they ensure your building can be created and renovated in a way that promotes sustainability. As nice as it would be to form your commercial building completely out of sustainable materials, some aren’t intended to bear loads — but you can still implement the materials in other ways throughout your building.
Furthermore, some green materials are uncommon, leaving you with a unique space that can be functional while drawing people’s eyes to it. For example, cork is a natural type of flooring that has soundproofing qualities and requires little upkeep, making it an excellent choice for office spaces. However, it doesn’t do well with the wear and tear of pets, making it less than ideal for an animal-based business.
4. Pick Energy-Efficient Lighting
Because a commercial building will contain many people, not just the owners, like with a private residence, it makes more sense to have lighting options that encompass the preferences of whoever is in the building at the time. For example, having motion sensors on certain lights can help you save energy in spaces like out-of-the-way bathrooms or corner offices no one often goes to.
You might also include a remote or similar option in an office space so someone can control the lights. Fluorescent lights aren’t always best for productivity or mood, so having the option to dim a light or accent the room in a more calming color might be great for overworked employees. Similarly, it could help to have the option to turn off certain lights during the peak of daytime to rely on the natural light through windows and skylights.
5. Choose Your Roofing Materials Mindfully
If you want your roof to be environmentally friendly, you have a variety of materials to sort through. However, one option stands out as the most interesting type of roof — the green roof. This roof grows plants and betters the air quality of the space around it, making it a welcome sight in a city environment. It’s a unique look that, if cared for, will up the visual appeal of your building with little maintenance.
Green roofs also halt the process of water runoff, which can pick up harmful residue or chemicals and carry them back to natural bodies of water. The plants work to absorb excess rainwater rather than allowing it to flow back into the streets and eventually end up in a lake or ocean. In several ways, this type of roof is the best you can get if you want eco-friendliness to be your top priority.
If green roofs aren’t an option for your building, you can choose metal, the next best roofing material. Because metal roofs are often made of recycled materials, they benefit the environment while directing heat away from the building. That way, you won’t have to worry as much about cooling costs in the sunnier months.
6. Find Greener Insulation
Every building needs insulation, but eco-friendly insulation can provide your space with vast benefits while keeping the environment in mind. There are plenty of options that aren’t just regular insulation. A significant and renewable source of insulation is sheep’s wool, which you may even be able to obtain locally.
Sheep’s wool is a great renewable source of insulation, as it resists fire and can keep out the cold — it’s an excellent investment no matter what the weather is like. Because of its innate insulation properties, sheep’s wool is a great way to power your building throughout the year without breaking the bank on heating and cooling costs.
7. Make Space for Greener Transportation
To encourage employees and patrons to do their part to benefit the environment, you must make space for greener options. Leaning into eco-friendly design means remembering even the smaller aspects of a building, such as parking spaces and vehicle storage. Electric bicycles can run up to 100 miles on a single charge, so including charging stations for both bikes and cars in your parking lot is in your best interest. You’ll want to ensure a substantial amount of space for chargers — not just a few that people will have to share.
Greener Buildings Can Change the Future
The great thing about going eco-friendly is that it benefits both the world and your wallet. You’ll save money on your monthly bills by completely transforming a space.
It might cost more upfront, and some of these projects might not be doable in the short term, but sustainable buildings are something to aspire to — and yours might just change how people look at the world around them.
By committing your building to greener practices and upgrading when you can, you’ll lower your carbon footprint and make a difference in the world. Your community might find your building inspiring, particularly if it has something unique about it that stands out.
You can inspire others to make both big and little changes in their lives just by proving how cost-effective and beautiful it is to become environmentally friendly.