By: Nathan Schieve, AIA, NCARB, LEED® AP BD + C | Associate, Architect
Here at Bray we are committed to building a sustainable future and achieving sustainability goals for all of our clients. We realize that to achieve some of the long-term goals, both globally and nationally, sustainability will be part of every single project conversation moving forward. While not all projects are able to meet the gold-standard goal of becoming Net-Zero, all projects exist on a sustainability spectrum.
Below are some tips about how to incorporate sustainable solutions into your own project:
- The installation of LED lighting, in both interior and exterior fixtures, can reduce a lot of energy usage and cost.
- Consider adding daylight controls to automate systems and reduce energy usage during the day.
- Minimize/omit natural gas usage by switching to electric energy when possible. Due to the “greening” of the electric grid, less energy is being produced by coal and natural gas, and more by wind and solar energy.
ONSITE ENERGY GENERATION (SOLAR PANELS)
- Depending on the building type and budget, you may not be able to install enough to power your entire building right away.
- Consider starting small, installing enough to offset some of the electrical usage.
- If building structure is an issue there are multiple mounting locations to consider: Wall-mounted, roof-mounted, and ground-mounted are all options to include on your building.
- Financial incentives, in the form of national, state, and local level grants, are often available to help subsidize some of the cost for special projects.
HEATING + COOLING SYSTEMS (GEOTHERMAL SOLUTIONS)
- There are opportunities for both renovations/additions and new construction.
- If you can’t commit to the full geothermal system in your building, it’s possible to install partial systems and strategically retrofit them for long-term replacement goals.
IDENTIFY YOUR TEAM
- Begin conversations with owners, architects, and contractors early in the process – these experts can help you plan and provide cost estimates to help meet your goals.
- Connect with local utility companies about partnerships that may exist for onsite energy generation and the opportunity to sell back energy to the grid.
CELEBRATE AND EDUCATE
- Sustainability doesn’t end with a ribbon-cutting and a grand opening.
- There is an opportunity to generate more user buy-in and celebration around sustainable solutions.
- Consider highlighting sustainable features as learning tools. Plaques, posters, signage, and other graphic displays can be used to educate building users on the positive impacts of the built environment around them.
Are you starting a new project in your community? Connect with us to learn more about which sustainable options can help you meet your goals. Contact Nathan Schieve at firstname.lastname@example.org.