Why green buildings are so important
We are all aware that the world is an uncertain and fast-changing place, and this is perhaps truer now than it has ever been. Our planet seems to be facing so many rapidly evolving challenges and difficulties that it can sometimes be hard to picture what things will be like in the next few months, let alone in the years to come.
However, every challenge brings with it an opportunity, and there can be no doubt that our growing concerns about climate change and sustainability have led to some great things being accomplished in recent years – recycling is now much more widely undertaken globally (and particularly in Europe), whilst initiatives such as buying locally made and grown produce have also gained great traction.
Perhaps one of the most significant ways in which businesses are starting to adapt to our need to live more responsibly is by investing their time, energy and funds into creating and maintaining energy-efficient buildings. ‘Green’ buildings, as they are commonly referred to, have a hugely important role to play in safeguarding our shared future; in this article, we will take a brief look at just some of the ways in which sustainable structures are changing the world for the better.
Solar photovoltaic panels have been steadily growing in popularity in recent years, and their use is now widely regarded as one of the cleanest and – increasingly – least expensive ways of generating electricity.
The sight of solar panels on domestic homes is no longer a novelty, with countless houses around the UK investing in this environmentally-friendly form of energy production (partly due to the fact that those who install such systems can benefit from financial incentives provided by the government).
However, as with so many things, it is businesses which have arguably the greatest responsibility to adopt the use of solar energy, both because larger commercial premises inevitably use more electricity and because of the highly visible examples of sustainability practice they provide to customers and other passers-by.
Installing solar power is a great way of ensuring your home or business gets on the right track towards being fully sustainable and has the very desirable additional feature of potentially saving you money!
The Carbon Trust states that up to 40% of a building’s electricity usage can be attributed to lighting. With this in mind, it is easy to see why businesses and homes throughout the country are rapidly changing their lighting systems so that they are made more energy efficient.
As with installing solar power, the uptake of energy-efficient lighting is a win-win for consumers in terms of both their wellbeing and their pockets; reducing the world’s energy wastage should be one of our top priorities as we look towards a more sustainable future, and the fact that doing so saves everyone money – from individuals to governments – should be more than enough incentive to do so!
Whilst the Energy Saving Trust estimates that the most energy one is likely to save by switching to an energy-efficient lightbulb from a traditional one is around £6 annually, imagine how much that would add up to per year if it was done across an entire high-rise office block.
Low U-value windows
Finally, we should not forget the many benefits of installing low u-value windows in both commercial and residential properties.
Whilst it is certainly a more expensive process than changing lightbulbs, there are so many reasons why investing in energy-efficient windows are a wise choice:
- Improved insulation
- Reduced noise
- Reduced carbon emissions
- Reduced energy bills
- Reduced instances of draughts
- Reduced condensation
- Improved durability
Fortunately, double-glazed windows are now the norm across the vast majority of modern houses and businesses throughout the country, and most people are already aware that it is a good idea to install energy-efficient windows where possible.
However, truly low u-value windows are not a given when you purchase double-glazing and – to make sure you get the best out of your investment – be sure to check your chosen supplier’s energy efficiency rating, which can be checked via the British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC).
These are just a few of the many things small and large buildings alike can do to mitigate their carbon output and improve their long-term efficiency and sustainability.
If you want to see just how well a green building can work when it makes use of all of the features mentioned above – alongside many others - you will be pleased to know that this is yet another reason to visit Titanic Spa, one of the finest spa hotels in North Yorkshire, which proudly invested £1.5 million in its effort towards becoming the UK’s first ‘eco-spa’.