Achieving net zero efficiency in an actual commercial building may seem an impossible goal. What would it take to develop the ultimate green building in Vancouver?
There are 5 key steps that can bring green buildings closer to the net zero and lower the carbon footprint that environmentalists are striving to bring into mainstream design.
- The Building Envelope: Creating an energy efficient envelope for a building can improve energy efficiency by as much as 83 percent using high insulating values and high energy efficient windows and shades to protect from the sun. Operable windows allow for fresh air and ventilation. Using local, sustainable materials for the exterior of the building also helps in lowering carbon emissions from transportation. A healthier environment for employees is also considered and applied to interior construction and design.
- Energy Solutions: The ideal green building construction should rely on sustainable energy sources. Unfortunately in Vancouver there just aren’t enough sunny days for solar. Day lighting leverages floor to ceiling windows installed strategically to provide sufficient daylight throughout the building. Sky lights and interior glass walls allow for access to daylight to those work stations located in the interior of the office. On gray days LED lights add much needed illumination and exert 80% of their energy on lighting and 20% to light whereas a regular bulb burns 80% in heat and only 20% on lighting.
- Rainwater: Green buildings in Vancouver can also harvest rainwater as a main source of water. The collection of rainwater using a roof cistern that operates as both a holding tank and water purifier can provide the drinking water, landscape irrigation and the water for toilets (if low flush toilets are installed). Many green buildings have also started providing showers for eco-friendly commuters who cycle to work everyday.
- Toilets: Composting toilet systems do not use water and instead depend upon microbiological processes to break down human waste. Alternatively you can choose dual flush toilets to regulate the amount of water used The use of composting toilets or dual flush toilets will of course lower water consumption.
- Ground Source Radiant Heat: Heating and cooling are provided using wells beneath the green building Vancouver develops delivering cooling and heating using a radiant system.
BC Comfort’s mechanical engineering and green building project services in Vancouver greatly enhance the ability for a commercial building to become environmentally friendly in all aspects of construction and design.