Our mission to create energy efficient buildings extends to sustainable building practices by helping new construction projects in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC reduce their impact on the environment, while providing energy and cost savings.
Sustainable building practices aim to reduce the negative environmental impact of buildings with energy efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy and development space. The key objectives of sustainable design are to minimize, or completely eliminate, the depletion of critical resources like energy, raw materials and water.
Buildings constructed in a sustainable manner also prevent environmental degradation caused by infrastructure and facilities throughout their lifecycle. Sustainable buildings have a strong focus on the occupant experience as well, ensuring their interiors are livable, comfortable, safe and productive.
Examples of sustainable building materials used in new construction include recycled denim as insulation, sustainably harvested wood, locally obtained stone and rock, among many others. The following points should be taken into consideration when determining whether a material should be used in a green build:
A material that is composed of renewable resources or recycled materials, is recyclable and efficiently manufactured can be considered sustainable.
Materials should emit no, or extremely low levels, of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). They should be non-toxic and work to protect or improve indoor air quality.
The material should improve the energy efficiency of the building it is being used to construct.
If the material conserves water or uses very little in the manufacturing process, it can be considered sustainable.
Locally sourced materials have to be transported across much shorter distances, reducing the carbon emissions involved in the transportation process. The distance materials have to travel to their destination should be considered when determining whether a material is sustainable.
An often ignored, but crucial aspect of sustainable design is building placement. The orientation of a home, commercial or industrial building with regards to the sun is key. Also, isolated and spread out homes and buildings in rural and suburban areas are actually detrimental to the environment. Condensed buildings in urban areas are more energy efficient due to their placement.
Heating, air conditioning and ventilation equipment contributes to a building’s sustainability. If the building is well-insulated with appropriate materials, HVAC equipment can be properly sized and will be much more energy efficient. This results in lower utility costs for the occupants and a reduced carbon footprint.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has found that water efficiency improvements are commonly overlooked. However, these upgrades offer a tangible benefit to homeowners for a minimal construction cost. Other items which should be taken into account during a sustainable build include low-flow faucets, toilets and showerheads, in addition to water-saving and energy efficient appliances.
Contact us or call (888) 586-3343 today to learn more about sustainable building practices.
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Due to the health and safety of our employees and customers, EDGE will be operating with minimum staffing thru April 13. Feel free to contact our office at (888) 586-3343.