As awareness of the need for a more sustainable approach to building continues to increase, a growing number of commercial and residential building owners are incorporating green building materials when building new facilities or renovating their existing structures. Green building materials produce the lowest possible environmental impact, preserve dwindling nonrenewable resources, and help to create energy and water efficient buildings with healthy indoor environments. The many benefits green building materials offer include lower operational costs, improved occupant health, reduced resource usage, and minimized maintenance and replacement costs over the lifetime of the building. To determine if a particular building material qualifies as green, look for the following criteria:
Resource Efficiency / Responsible Sourcing
Before purchasing building materials, research the method used to produce, create, or obtain them. Look for materials that contain recycled content, are created from agricultural waste, or are from a renewable, environmentally sustainable source. Green materials for Palm Beach buildings should meet one or more of the following sourcing criteria:
- Recycled Content – There are two types of recycled content: pre-consumer, which is the reuse of industrial by-products, and post-consumer, which is preferred as it is recovered from the waste stream, diverting materials from landfills
- Sustainably Sourced – Materials that are harvested from renewable or sustainably managed sources
- Salvaged, Refurbished, or Remanufactured – Materials that are renovated, repaired, restored, or otherwise saved from disposal
- Reusable or Recyclable – Materials that can be easily reused or recycled at the end of their useful life
- Durable or Low-Maintenance – Materials that are long-lasting or require a minimal amount of maintenance
Healthy Indoor Environment
Building products can qualify as green by contributing to a healthy indoor environment. This can be accomplished in several different ways – look for products that are:
- Low or Non-Toxic – Materials that emit few or no reproductive toxicants, carcinogens, or irritants
- Low VOC-Emitting – Materials that have minimal emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- Moisture Resistant – Materials that resist moisture, quickly dry when wet, or inhibit the growth of biological contaminants
- Hazardous Ingredient-Free – Materials created without the use of toxic ingredients or components, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants
Materials that significantly reduce heating and cooling loads, such as high-performance windows and glazings, certain types of insulation, and other materials that contribute to airtight buildings, qualify as energy efficient materials. Renewable energy equipment, including solar panels, wind turbines, and some energy storage systems, also qualify as green building materials as they offer significant energy saving benefits.
Rainwater catchment and gray water recovery and reuse systems improve water efficiency. While all toilets and shower heads have to meet certain water conservation guidelines, only a few top performers are considered true green building supplies.
While the use of green building materials is a significant step toward creating a more environmentally friendly building, true sustainability requires a complete green building solution. Advanced Control Corporation can design a customized green building solution for your facility using a building automation system that incorporates temperature control, lighting control, access control, and more to minimize energy usage and increase efficiency.
As a leader in green building in South Florida, Advanced Control Corporation has created green building solutions that have reduced the carbon footprint and increased the sustainability of thousands of buildings in Florida. Whether you are constructing a new building or renovating an existing structure, our knowledgeable technicians can create a cost-effective energy management solution that will turn your facility into a shining example of sustainable building practices.